Part 2: The Good, The Bad and The Fad

Updated: February 09, 2018 10:49 PM

Fad diets have become craze. They are constantly popping up.

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"I've done the cabbage diet," said Tina Sell, Owner of the Protein Pub."I've tried the Aitkins diet."

"There's the Paleo diet, the Ketogenic diet, the grapefruit diet," said Brenda Schwerdt, a Dietitian at St. Luke's Hospital. 

Those are just some example of "fads."

"We're seeing new diets come up daily. There's probably been one since we've been sitting here," said Scwerdt.

So are there any beneifts to the so-called "fad" diets? The simple answer is no, with a slight "maybe" for some folks. 

"The one benefit I can see is sometimes there are people and this is a specific type of personality that do kind of need that reset, and these fad diets are really restrictive," said Schwerdt.

The diets can make you think about what you are putting into your body and teach a level of discipline. 

"Then when you start incoporating your regular eating pattern (after the fad diet is over), you'll be able to be a bit more mindful about what you are eating," added Schwerdt. 

Dietitians know fads wil probably never go away so what they try to focus on is education. 

"We try to point patients to reliable, scientific based, evidence based resources and not just sombody's blog or sometimes trainers," Schwerdt said. 

They start with setting specific goals for patients and making sure they aren't doing what Tammy Licari says is a big problem - loading your plate up and overeating. 

"We utilize the my plate method. That gives patients the idea and education and tools looking at portion sizes and being able to incoporate the protein, the fat and carbohydrates," said Tammy Licari, another Dietitian at St. Luke's Hospital. "We want to make those small changes that turn into a lifetime of helahty eating."

Paige Stratioti is an avid runner and employee at the Protein Pub where she whips up protein shakes. She doesn't really follow any specific diet plan.

"Nutritionally, i think it's better to eat whole foods and more fruits and vegetables and things that come from the earth," she said. "I try not to restrict myself. I think restriction always leads to negative things in the lng run."

The Healthy Living Director at the Duluth YMCA, Alisha Bradley, says they encourage people to look beyond calorie counting.

"It's not all about "Oh, I ate 500 calories so now I have to burn 500 calories." Your body needs some of that," said Bradley.

Bradley says the scale can be a tool but it shouldn't be your only tool. Instead, she empahasizes exercise and eating the right things.

"People should really focus on how they feel and focus on other things that they are noticing are improving like aspects of their daily living," said Bradley.

When it comes to exercise, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that each week adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity such as power walking, but any exercise is better than none. Schwerdt says the approach is going to be different for everyone.

"That's why we sit down with them and we get their diet history and figure out what goals are specific to them," she said. 

Being realistic is key when you are just beginning. 

"Maybe that means I'm going to add another day of physical activity this month, or maybe I'm going to start having an apple once a day instead of a bar," she added.

"Everything in moderation," said Stratioti.

Basically, it all comes down to finding a balance.

"It takes time and patience and lifestyle adaptation. You can't just do a quick fix with these fad diets," said Licari. 

A long-term healthy mindset is most important.

"You really should just approach healthy living as this is something I want to maintain for my entire life," said Bradley.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more tips on how to get healhty and stay healhty on their website.


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