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When Should You Ditch Your Diet?

From detoxes to fasting to diets that eliminate "bad" foods, FAD diets come and go. So how do you know if you should ditch your diet?

Ditch Your DietDid you know more than 45 million Americans go on a diet each year? This statistic tells us people value their health and want to prevent chronic disease however they often go about it in all the wrong ways.  From detoxes to fasting to diets that eliminate "bad" foods, FAD diets come and go. So how do you know if you should ditch your diet?  Does the diet:

1. Promise unbelievable quick results.

2. Eliminate certain foods or entire food groups.

3. Eliminate exercise.

4. Requires a supplement or newly discovered miracle compound to boost results.

5. Cite biased research that is from an unreliable source.

6. Make it difficult to follow for long periods of time.


To avoid the diet trap, look for these key criteria when choosing a plan that’s right for you.

1. Weight loss is gradual. Always avoid diets that promise rapid weight loss. This often leads to the yo-yo effect, you lose a little and then you gain a little more back.

2. Opt for a plan that includes all food groups.   A balanced diet will help you get all the necessary nutrients your body needs. Eliminating certain foods or food groups is also unrealistic to maintain long-term.

3. Exercise is encouraged. Eating a healthy diet should always be paired with physical activity. Adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderately-intense activity each week.

4. Avoid plans that are selling products. They are more interested in making money than helping you. Not to mention, many of these products are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration making them potentially unsafe.

5. Sustainability. If you can’t imagine eating a certain way for years to come, the plan is probably not for you. Look for a plan that includes small, manageable changes that you can sustain for a lifetime.


Nikki Johnson, M.S., R.D., L.R.D., Community and Health Nutrition Specialist

Stacy Wang, M.Ed., R.D., L.R.D., Food and Nutrition Extension Associate

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