The Pryor Times

January 12, 2014

Why fad diets don’t work

PRYOR, OK — OU Medicine nutritional experts offer tips for weight loss that really works

The Grapefruit Diet …

The 3-Day Diet …

The Chocolate Diet …

And so on and so on …

The list of the “latest and greatest” diets is a long one. Perhaps you’ve even tried one or two of them.  While fad diets may produce short term losses, nutritional experts with OU Medicine say they seldom work in the long run.

“The fact is true, lasting weight loss is not a quick fix. Most fad diets focus on making drastic changes for short periods of time, but achieving a healthy weight is about making small changes, consistently over time. For instance, it’s about finding ways to add more foods that are rich in nutrients to your diet, while reducing those “empty calories.” Slow and steady really does win the race when it comes to reaching and maintaining your ideal weight,” said Amanda Jones, registered dietitian at The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center.

Unfortunately, many of us will begin the New Year trying to unload that extra five to ten pounds we packed on during the holiday season. Weight loss remains the number one resolution at the start of each year. However, Jones and her colleagues at OU Medicine say losing weight doesn't, and shouldn't, mean starvation. Losing weight in a healthy way consists of eating better and being more physically active. And it should be tolerable – perhaps even fun.

“Shift the focus away from the scale. In fact, try not to weigh yourself every day – once a week is sufficient to let you know if you are on the right track,” Jones said. “Losing about a pound a week by eating better and moving more is the best way to lose weight and keep it off.”

Losing a pound a week means eating 500 fewer calories or burning an extra 500 calories each day.  That adds up to 3500 calories a week or one pound lost.

Jones said the best diets really aren’t diets at all. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight means acquiring a lifestyle that includes food you enjoy, exercise and healthy habits.

Here are some tips from OU Medicine to help you reach and then maintain your new healthy lifestyle:

Eat a Variety of Foods Every Day

Aim to eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables daily

Choose leaner proteins; more complex carbohydrates like whole grains, fruit and vegetables; and more healthy fats like avocadoes, nuts and olives or olive oil.

Watch Portion Size

An easy trick is to switch to a salad plate instead of dinner plate for your meal.

If you must have seconds, serve yourself vegetables only.

Eat Smaller Meals More Often

Plan small, nutritious snacks between meals. Aim to eat every three to four hours throughout the daily

Try taking low fat cheese with whole grain crackers, an apple or orange, or a serving of raw or toasted nuts to school or work. Blueberries, blackberries, cherries and raspberries are great snacks – rich in healthy antioxidants, high in fiber and low in calories and fat.

The goal is to find foods that are healthy and keep you full.

Clean Out Your Pantry or Kitchen Cabinets

The goal is to eliminate “empty calories” and temptation. Toss out all of those high-fat or sugary foods (chips, cookies, crackers, ice cream, candy bars, etc.) that are packed with calories but empty when it comes to nutrition.

Go Grocery Shopping

Successful change starts with the right tools and that means having the right food in the house.

Fill your kitchen pantry, freezer and fridge with lean protein, fruit and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, healthy fats, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products.

Avoid Empty Calories

Eliminate sugar-sweetened drinks like soda, energy drinks and fruit drinks too.

Get Moving

Start by adding a few steps to every day. For instance, take the stairs instead of the elevator or park further out in the parking lot.

Your goal is to get moving 150 minutes each week. That means moderately intense activity like a brisk walk after dinner or lunch.

Moving doesn’t have to be formal exercise either. It can be doing things you like too, like gardening, walking or dancing.

For more information about ensuring a healthy holiday for the entire family, visit a special web page with helpful topics ranging from eating healthy to keeping peace during the holidays at