There are 30,000 diets registered with the American Dietetic Association (ADA). Yet, 55% of the United States population remains obese! And on a calorie deprivation diet, more than 1/2 of the weight lost is muscle! Muscle is what keeps your metabolism high. It stokes the fire!
Do diets work? On the outset we are inclined to say, "No, diets do not work." But it all really depends on four (4) factors:
- Kind of diet plan
- Duration of the diet plan
- Desired results of the diet plan
- Purpose of the diet plan.
If 'diet' is a conventional and quick weight loss scheme that promises guaranteed results short term but fails long term, then the answer is a resounding "No".
Diets such as these are nothing but fads, farces and lies. The makers of these diets really only care about making money and getting rich. They do not give a damn about the individual who become seduced to use their product. In the end the creators become wealthy and the dieter becomes less healthy than they were before.
The word "diet" is mostly used in a negative sense so I avoid using it as much as possible. "Diet" means to deprive the body of essential nutrients needed for maintenance, repair and fuel. I am speaking of liquid diets, any kind of diet that proposes rapid weight reduction or that makes promises at the expense of placing the body in a dangerous and unstable condition.
People who are spellbound to these diets are usually lazy and ignorant (unaware of the importance of nutrition) and the majority of them are sedentary individuals. They make excuses for not combining their diet with exercise. The fact is that these crash diets have documented cases of illness and even death.
Why Go Small?
A question on most people's minds is, "Why eat small frequent meals a day as opposed to three large ones?" There are three reasons why:
- To utilize the nutrients more effectively and efficiently.
- To avoid over eating (satisfy not self-indulge).
- To avoid eating high fat snack foods.
Diets that propose revolutionary ratios in protein, carbohydrates and fat for losing or gaining weight (as opposed to the fundamental 15-25% protein, 45-75% carbohydrates and 10-30% fat from total calories consumed) should be approached with care and with understanding from the advice and/or under the supervision of a professional sports nutritionist and/or physician.
Furthermore, "diet" as it is used today denotes something that is used for short-term results. This short-term result is to lose weight as much as possible in the quickest amount of time. However, the reality of this does not stay for long because the person who dieted and lost a significant amount of weight greatly increases his/her chances of gaining the weight back - even more weight. S/he can become fatter than before.
For example, following a high-protein / low carb diet is not safe for the body to metabolize and burn fat. Why? Ketosis is the result of carbohydrate deprivation. Your body requires adequate amounts of carbohydrates in order to properly metabolize body fat. As the saying goes, "fat is burned in the furnace of carbohydrate."
The primary symptom of ketosis is ketonemia, the appearance of ketone bodies in the body. Ketone bodies are the product of the incomplete burning of fats. Ketones can be used in place of glycogen for energy production but they are not nearly as efficient in fueling exercise as glycogen.
In a prolonged state of ketosis, you tend to be sluggish, your mental processes suffer, your body gradually becomes dehydrated, and it is easy to confuse the loss of water weight with loss of body fat.
Worse, in the absence of carbohydrates your body begins to metabolize larger and larger amounts of amino acids (protein) for additional energy. This is highly counterproductive for anyone trying to build or maintain muscle mass. Loss of muscle mass means fewer calories burned, a decrease in metabolism and obvious fat gain.
To Fail Or Not To Fail...
Most diets today teach people one thing: to fail. When people fail their hope and self-confidence spirals downward. If the intent is to lose weight a diet's aim should help a person lose weight and to keep it off through it's short-term intent, i.e., acquiring new and healthier eating habits.
The significance of a "diet" and its purpose should teach a person one thing and one thing only that is long-term: To alter one's present eating behavior to an acquired new one through an increased awareness of the importance of nutrition, which empowers one to effectively manage weight control.
This should be carried on through one's lifetime. A 'diet' should educate an individual to assume healthier eating habits that is to be for a lifetime. That is the goal of any sensible diet. See my related article on my research of the 10 most popular diet programs Rating Diet Programs.
Copyright © 1997-2002 Randy M. Herring