Crash diets or fad diets are popular short-term quick fixes. Although they pick up popularity rapidly, they can set up many dieters for weight-loss failure. Conflicting claims, testimonials and hype by so-called “experts” can confuse even the most informed consumers. Here are some claims you should be wary of in diet plans and products:

1. Promising rapid weight loss

Slow, steady weight loss is more likely to last than dramatic weight changes – healthy plans aim for a loss of around ½ – 1 kg a week. If you lose weight rapidly, you are more likely to lose muscle and water and the weight is unlikely to stay off.

2. Allow for unlimited quantities of any food

Steer clear of diets that allow unlimited quantities of any food, such as cabbage soup, as it’s incredibly difficult to stick to such a monotonous plan. Also, avoid diets that severely restrict entire food groups, such as carbohydrates or fats. Remember that all foods offer different nutrient benefits, and eating a varied diet and balanced diet from all the different food groups helps to ensure you meet your energy and nutrient requirements. While these diets may appear to work in the short term, they can lead to nutrient deficiencies in the long term.

3. Focus on specific food combinations

There is no evidence that combining certain foods will help with weight loss. Eating the “wrong” combinations of food doesn’t cause them to turn to fat immediately or to produce toxins in your intestines, as some plans claim.

4. No need to exercise

Regular physical activity is essential for good health and healthy weight management. The key to success is to find physical activities that you enjoy, and then aim for 30 to 60 minutes of activity on most days of the week.

5. Requires a rigid menu

Life is complicated enough and following rigid meal plans can be stressful. With any new diet, ask yourself: “Can I eat this way for the rest of my life?” If the answer is no, the plan is probably not for you.

If you want to achieve successful weight loss, the best path is a lifelong combination of eating smarter and moving more. For a personalised plan tailored to your lifestyle and food preferences, consult a registered dietitian in your area.

You might also want to read this post on 3 ways to change your eating habits right now.

Did you know?

Pick n Pay is committed to promoting health and wellbeing among South Africans, and employs a Registered Dietitian to provide free nutrition-related advice to the public. Contact Leanne Kiezer via the Pick n Pay health hotline on 0800 11 22 88 or healthhotline@pnp.co.za to start your nutrition conversation.