Weight Loss Safety
Written by Rebecca Faulkner, MS, R
Every year millions of Americans, even Virgin Islanders, spend billions of dollars on weight loss diet plans, books, programs, pills, and drinks, which promises quick and easy weight loss. It is tempting to choose a weight loss plan that promises quick results, especially if you are unwilling to make a long-term commitment in adopting healthy lifestyle behaviors. You may lose weight when following a fad diet, which promises quick weight loss. But for how long. How can you identify a fad diet, or a gimmick?
If you hear or see a commercial that states:
- Quick weight loss guaranteed
- Little or no physical activity required
- “Miracle” ingredient unknown to science
- Must combine special foods
- Use a particular food
- Purchase this special product.
- All natural product
Then, it is most likely a fad diet.
Some products with a safety claim, written in fine print, list warnings that people who have high blood pressure or take heart medications should not use the product. Most of all, you will find lots of testimonials and stories, but no scientific evidence to support a fad diet. If you hear any of these claims, chances are it is gimmick. A popular approach is a “before” and “after” photo. Experts reviewing ads for the Federal Trade Commission noted that these testimonials rarely portray realistic loss. Somewhere in the fine print, the ads often state “individual results likely to differ”.
So, what is an ideal weight loss plan? According to Dr. Barbara Rolls, leading authority on weight management and author of The Volumetric Eating Plan, an ideal weight loss plan is one that satisfies hunger, reduces calories, increases physical activity, and focuses on eating a wide variety of healthy foods. Also, look for a program that includes a maintenance program. It takes great effort to take the weight off, but an even greater effort to keep it off. Talk to registered dietitian about finding a safe and effective weight loss program that works for you.
Weight Loss Safety