It’s January, which means advertisements for diets and diet-related products are everywhere. While it may be tempting to try out the eating plan or supplement you saw on tv that promised that you could lose weight quickly while eating fast food all day and never really leaving your couch, most of these plans and products are too good to be true – and likely not very safe. How can you sort out the good from the not-so-good when it comes to diets and supplements specially-designed for weight loss? Here’s a list of questions to ask yourself when it comes to choosing a weight-loss aid:
- Does it sound too good to be true? Does it promote rapid weight loss or promise results without having to make dietary, exercise, or lifestyle changes?
- Does it involve a pill, cream or patch? Can you continue to eat whatever you want and not exercise and still see results?
- Does it over-emphasize restrictions on what you can or cannot eat? Are certain foods praised or criticized excessively?
- Does it eliminate certain foods or entire food groups? Are you prohibited from eating grains, dairy, or other major food groups or types of food due to the “evidence” against their consumption?
- Does it encourage fasting? Are you supposed to go hours or days with eating little to no food in order to “kickstart” your metabolism?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then the diet or product you’re considering is probably not a safe – or effective – option. The best diets are lifestyle-based, meaning they promote and encourage a balanced diet and regular exercise – without the use of any “extras” like specially-formulated supplements. They also are fairly easy to follow, have a high safety track record, don’t leave you feeling hungry, allow occasional room for foods you enjoy, and result in weight loss of about 1-2 pounds a week. If you’re in search of a better-for-you diet and are unsure of where to start, U.S. News and World Report just released their yearly Top Diet rankings. Whether you decide to look further into any of these diets or not, remember that the best diets are not actually diets at all – they’re lifestyles that you can sustain even after you’ve reached your desired weight.