Another Fad Diet?

Fad Diets don’t work. Any diet that includes extreme changes to your diet and lifestyle for short periods of time, should be considered a fad diet.

Chances are that you will lose weight during the initial phase of the diet. This is a secret that the diet and nutrition specialists don’t want you to know. Any extreme restriction of foods or drastic changes to your diet and lifestyle will result in losing weight- initially. But you won’t be able to keep it off.

It is much harder to keep the weight off, than it is to lose it in the first place. And if you don’t have a plan to maintain that weight loss, then it will come back. That is why diets fail 95% of the time. Diets help you to lose weight initially, but they don’t help you keep it off.

A fad diet plan from France is making headlines in US now. This diet plan is called the Dukan Diet. This diet plan does have a follow up program and a maintenance program. But does it work?

You may have heard of the Dukan Diet, or you may not have. It is a well known diet in France. It was developed by Dr. Pierre Dukan, a French physician, to combat obesity.

The Dukan Diet is high protein, low calorie diet plan. It focuses on eating lean protein, oat bran, lots of water and a 20 minute walk every day.

Lean protein, oat bran, water and walking are all good for you.

Everyone should drink more water. Just drinking more water will allow you to lose some weight initially. Water helps all of your body’s systems work better and more smoothly.

Lean protein is great for you. Fatty protein is full of saturated fats. Saturated fats are the fats you want to stay away from. They will cause increased risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, weight gain, etc.

Oat bran is an excellent source of fiber, and a great source of complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs will slow the digestion of foods making you feel fuller longer. They will also provide you with a good, long lasting source of energy and keep your blood sugar elevated for long periods.

If everyone were to just walk 20 minutes 3 days a week, there would be very little obesity in the world. It doesn’t take much exercising to lose weight, it just takes consistent exercising to lose weight. If the only thing that you change in your lifestyle is that you start to walk 3 days a week for 20 minutes, you will lose weight and you will keep it off. As long as you do it consistently.

This diet allows use of sugar free gum and artificial sweeteners. I will never condone the use of artificial sweeteners. Studies show that the body converts aspartame to formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a very toxic and carcinogenic substance that is used to preserve dead bodies. There has also never been a study linking eating artificial sweeteners and weight loss. The body reacts to artificial sweeteners the same way it does to regular sugars.

You will lose weight on the Dukan Diet, but you will lose weight because it drastically cuts calories. Cutting calories is too tough to maintain. It can be too restrictive.

Keri Gans, MS, RD, a spokeperson for the American Dietetic Association, said “When dieters start losing weight rapidly, I worry they will continue the restrictive phases longer than advised- which puts them at risk for nutrient deficiencies and kidney problems.”

“It is unhealthy to lose weight so quickly because you not only lose fat and fluids but precious muscle mass, which is really hard to replace, especially as you get older,” Gans goes on to say. The loss of even 1 to 2 pounds a week can promote gall stones and muscle loss. So be wary of any weight loss program that is advertises weight loss of more than 1 pound per week. In general, the slower you take the weight, the longer it will stay off.

Most of the initial weight loss in any restrictive weight loss program is going to be from water loss. Each molecule of glucose (the body’s energy source) is stored with a molecule of water in the body. While on a restrictive fad diet, your body will burn stored energy to keep it moving and functioning. For each molecule of stored glucose it burns, it will also shed a molecule of water. Thus causing you to lose weight faster initially.

Diets that restrict carbohydrates (which most do, as does the Dukan Diet), will cause the body to burn stored energy for fuel, and it will also cause the body to go into a state of ketosis. That is what happens when the body is burning protein for fuel. Side effects can be lethargy, muscle soreness, bad breath. Protein does not burn as cleanly as carbohydrates do, and therefore are hard on the kidneys and liver.

Constipation, bad breath, dry mouth, and fatigue are all listed side effects of the Dukan Diet. These signs and symptoms should be a red flag that this is not a healthy diet plan, Gans said.

Gans goes on to say “Your body’s preferred fuel to energize and keep you going is smart carbs, and when you eat a healthy diet you should feel great- not have negative side effects.”

This is a very important point. Any diet and exercise program should help you to feel better and reduce pain and increase activity. It should not leave you feeling worse with odd side effects. Everyone wants to lose weight and look better. But if you chose an exercise and diet program that you can stick with and do consistently and that you like, the weight loss will come along with increased activity. Just don’t make the weight loss the main priority.

Losing weight and feeling better and reducing pain through proper diet and exercise is very possible with the right program. Slowly and easily incorporating it into your lifestyle so you can maintain it for the rest of your life, is the Pain Free Way.



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