With all the diet programs to choose from these days, it’s difficult to know which are the healthiest and most effective. The safest diet is one that aims for a weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week.
With that in mind, here are a few facts that can make diet plans a little easier to understand. Commercial diet plans usually fall into two categories:
- plans that require a radical change of diet over a limited period of time; or
- plans that make fundamental changes in long-term eating habits.
The most familiar kinds of radical diets include so-called “milkshake” plans or plans that rely on diet pills to lower the appetite. Radical diets tend to be a temporary solution.. since the dieter often gains back the weight once the diet ends.
Some radical diets include fasting, which is considered potentially dangerous unless medically supervised and should be avoided. Studies also show that fasting isn’t very effective. Many people who go on fasting plans quickly gain back the weight, and sometimes they gain back more weight than they lost.
Diet plans that are slower but more effective include individual or group educational sessions to help dieters change unhealthy eating behaviors. These plans may use a food exchange technique to help dieters choose the right foods to eat, or they may provide their own packaged meals and snacks. Slow but steady weight loss allows the body to adjust to a permanent diet of healthy, low-fat foods. As a result, it’s easier to keep the weight off and less tempting — to go back to old eating habits.
If you’re thinking about a commercial diet program, ask your healthcare provider for advice on choosing a program that’s right for you.