Showing posts with label paleo diet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label paleo diet. Show all posts
Monday, March 2, 2015

A Brief History Of Fad Diets

fad diets, history of fad diets, paleo diet
Image via Wellcome Trust
Perhaps it's because I have a tried a slew of fad diets (and failed) but I love diets. I enjoyed learning the history of them, the science behind them, the failure rate behind them. You get the idea. There's even a fun, new book by New York magazine writer Rebecca Harrington chronicling her adventures in celebrity dieting titled "I'll Have What She's Having, My Adventures In Celebrity Dieting". This book is heaven for a diet lover like me.

The History Of Fad Diets
The LA Times had a great feature this weekend on the history of fad diets, starting all the way back in 1825 when French gastronome Jean Brillat-Savarin introduced a low-carb regime called "The Physiology of Taste".

Since then fad diets have included eating all caribou and whale blubber (GAG), bananas and skim milk, food combining, the grapefruit diet and the Drinking Man's Diet (which is exactly what you think it is). They also include more popular ones like the Paleo Diet, the South Beach Diet and the Zone Diet.

The thing is that many of these so-called "fad diets" don't work because it's almost impossible to adopt these habits permanently. Think about it: can you eat only grapefruit forever? Or caribou? Can you go Paleo in perpetuity? Probably not.

You can do almost anything for a few days. That's why many of these fad diets take off initially. You drop a few pounds at the start and start feeling like a million bucks.

Then, reality sets in and you realize you can't eat only skim milk and bananas or diet bars or cabbage soup for the rest of your life. That's why "diets" don't work. 

If you read this blog, you know how I feel about dieting: eat well, mostly real food (produce and lean meats), get moving most days of the week and enjoy it. That's a recipe for success. As for dietary approaches, I love the Mediterranean philosophy which emphasizes plant-based food, replaces butter with healthy fats like olive oil, uses herbs and spices to flavor foods, limits red meat, advocated red wine and dark chocolate in moderation.

Your Fad Diet Experiments
Have you experimented with fad diets? I would love to learn about your crazy diet experiences, what worked and what didn't. Please share your diet disasters and success stories in the comments section. Don't worry. This is a judgement-free zone.

When I was fat, I tried the Zone & Atkins (hated them both).  It wasn't until I made permanent changes, like closing the kitchen after dinner, that I experienced real weight loss. Want to learn how I did it? Get my free guide "The 10 Easiest Diet Tips: Simple Secrets To Help You Lose Weight & Maintain Your Weight Loss For Good". It's yours when you sign up for the The Real Skinny, my weekly newsletter that features simple diet and fitness tips designed for busy people who live in the real world, not fantasy-diet-land.

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

And The Best Diet Award Goes To......

The DASH Diet, according to U.S. News & World Report.

How the DASH Diet works
Courtesy NLHBI
In its fourth annual Best Diet rankings, U.S. News & World Report says the DASH Diet is a dashing success because it's healthy and helps prevent diabetes and heart disease.  Experts deemed Weight Watchers the best diet for weight loss and determined it's the easiest to follow as well as the best among all the "commercial plans".

A delicious Mediterranean Diet meal
The Mediterranean Diet, my personal favorite, earned top honors among Plant-Based Diets and tied for third overall behind DASH and TLC Diet

As for the most-Googled diet of 2013, the Paleo Diet?  It tied for last place with the Dukan Diet, the popular program offered by French doctor Pierre Dukan.  

What exactly is the DASH Diet? 
A day on DASH
Courtesy NHLBI
The goal of this plan is to lower blood pressure.  Based on the foods you consume, a nice side effect is weight loss.  The plan is lower in saturated fat, cholesterol and total fat.  

Here is a 64-page FREE PDF that explains the diet in-depth, offers an extensive meal plan and recipes by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute which helped develop the DASH Diet.   

In general you would eat the following: 

  • Fruits, vegetables as well as fat-free or low-fat dairy products. 
  • Whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds and nuts. 
  • Little sweets, added sugars, sugary beverages and red meat. 
The DASH Diet Takeaway
It's a logical, plant-heavy eating plan that has you eating foods you know you're supposed to consume.  There's no secret.  It's good, solid common "eating" sense.