Sensible eating or fad diet for fastest weight loss?

Food for a balanced diet in the form of circle. Isolated on whiteThere are really two ways to tackle weight loss with diet – sound nutrition or a fad diet. Many people are tempted to take the fad diet route, mostly because these are the methods often highlighted in the mainstream media.

A typical example is the Maple Syrup Diet that Beyonce went on. She actually only stayed on the diet (actually a starvation fast) for a couple of weeks and also advised others against following the fast. She now follows a healthy fitness and nutrition program. But people still think she gets her great body by following the Maple Syrup diet and are willing to starve themselves in the hope of getting a body like Beyonce Knowles.


It is important to note that some diet systems, such as the Atkins Diet, are not actually fad diets at all, but the way they are described in the media makes them a fad diet. For example, the Atkins Diet is a lifetime nutrition plan which involves 4 distinct phases. The final phase, the lifetime maintenance phase, involves eating a wide range of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, and is a well balanced and healthy diet.

However, the induction phase, which lasts just 2 weeks, and is designed to stop sugar cravings and rebalance blood sugar levels, is often the only part that the tabloid press write about as it is the high protein and very low carbohydrate phase. Many people think that they have “done Atkins” when really they have just followed a high protein diet, and many even do that wrong by eating processed foods and offal (Atkins states that these are not allowed).

What is Sound Nutrition?

Firstly, what is sound nutrition? Sound nutrition is simply a diet plan that aims to provide the body with everything that it needs without giving too much. So a sound nutrition diet involves eating a healthy balance of macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) as well as receiving a good supply of vitamins and minerals.

Daily calories should be restricted to the needs of the body. Adjustments are made depending on levels of activity, age and physical fitness. Sound nutrition is close to optimum nutrition, which aims to provide the body with the best diet possible to prolong life the longest.

Fad Diet and Sound Nutrition Compared

  • Sound Nutrition: Provides all required nutrients
  • Fad Diets: Most often lack some nutrients
  • Sound Nutrition: Gradual loss of body fat (1 to 2 pounds per week)
  • Fad Diets: Rapid loss of body water and muscle mess not body fat
  • Sound Nutrition: Reinforces a good mental outlook.
  • Fad Diets: Symptoms of grumpiness, headaches, anxiety and fatigue.
  • Sound Nutrition: improves health.
  • Fad Diets: Can cause depression, dehydration, potential serious illness and a slow-down in your body’s metabolism (the rate your body burns calories).
  • Sound Nutrition: Gives a sense of accomplishment.
  • Fad Diets: Give a sense of false accomplishment.
  • Sound Nutrition: Develops permanent good eating habits
  • Fad Diets: Encourage healthy eating habits of temporary duration

Key To Losing Weight

The key to losing weight is understanding why we gain weight in the first place. People that are obese become several overweight for only one reason:

  • They have consistently eaten too much food over a long period of time.

It really is that simple. Nobody has ever become obese from not exercising. Eating is the problem. Exercise helps to raise your metabolic rate and burns some calories too, but the real problem is overeating. It is possible to remain a healthy weight without any exercise at all – although this is not a health way to live of course.

So to lose weight you need to reduce calories. Also, you need to understand that a varied diet is essential. For example, did you know that:

  • When your digest carbohydrates and proteins, your body sends a signal to the brain that it is starting to feel full.
  • When you digest fat, there is no signal produced. Fat contains more than twice as much energy as either protein or carbohydrate. This is why high fat diets make people fat – it interferes with the signal to stop eating, you eat more before stopping.
  • A majority of people that eat too much do so for psychological reasons. It can be stress, depression or boredom. All of these lead to emotional eating which also blocks the signals to the brain to say “I feel full now”.
  • The human mind is very easily tempted when it comes to food. Out of sight out of mind is the real trick to losing weight. Food is everywhere in today’s society, fast food on the streets, advertising on television, Internet, radio, newspapers, magazines and public transport.
  • It is a myth that healthy food costs more – fast food costs more.
  • Exercise is still very important and can speed up weight loss.

To lose weight you need to overcome the psychological reasons for eating, or at least spot the warning signs and stop yourself from eating. Out of sight out of mind does work. Keeping your cupboards and fridge bare helps too!

When shopping avoid the processed foods aisle of the supermarket. Try to do more shopping in traditional green grocers and butchers, as these do not use any marketing techniques for their food – they let the food speak for itself!

Start an exercise plan to compliment your new diet, to help raise metabolism, burn fat and tone muscles.

More like this in the Diet and Nutrition section

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