Weight Loss Programs in America: The Good, the Bad and the Bizarre

Death_to_stock_Dinner_damo_1Weight loss in America is big business. More than 100 million dieters. Billions of dollars spent on losing weight.

There is no paucity of diet choices. There are many types of diets in America. Calorie counting. Low-carb. High protein. Portion control. Four or five mini-meals a day. Pre-packaged food.

The above diets are the more conventional ones.

Let’s take a look at some of the strangest  weight-loss programs people have adopted:

  • The Vinegar diet was originally popularized in 1820 by a British poet, but if you Google vinegar diet today there are more than 6.8 million results. The top results are tied to the Apple Cider Vinegar Diet.
  • The Bananas & Skim Milk diet was developed in the 1930s by a Johns Hopkins University doctor.
  • The Drinking Man’s Diet, which would have been a favorite of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, if any of them wanted to diet, was first popularized by Robert Cameron in a best-selling book published in 1964. Have a steak, martini and lose weight. Harvard labeled the diet unhealthy. Online you can find it referred to as the original low carb diet.
  • The hCG Diet, which began in the 1950s, and consisted of 500 daily calories and injections of hormone human choriogonadotropin (hCG). I don’t know how good this diet is but the FDA has approved hCG for fertility treatment.
  • The Twinkie Diet works, ironically, if you eat 10 a day. Why? Because Twinkies have 150 calories each, and most overweight people will lose weight if they only consume 1,500 calories a day. Of course, you might need a shot of insulin if you stay on this diet for long.
  • Baby Food Diet is another way people restrict their calorie count, but it is at the expense of taste.

The Huffington Post in 2014 published “14 Fad Diets You Should Absolutely Never Try” by K. Aleisha Fetters. A few of the nasty 14 fad diets include:

  • Raw Food Diet, which forbids eating any cooked or processed food. It is a very time-consuming diet because of the food preparation.
  • Alkaline Diet, which bans meat, dairy, sweets, caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods. Instead, you eat more fresh fruit, veggies, nuts and seeds. There is no research regarding how your pH levels are related to your weight. Besides, it is a strict plan that cuts out a lot of healthy foods you can enjoy and still lose weight.
  • Variations of the “Cookie Diet” might appeal to the kid inside all of us but don’t get your hopes up that you will be enjoying chocolate chip cookies. Instead, you will consume 500-600 calories of high-protein, high-fiber cookies and then a 1,000-1,200 calorie dinner. Why starve yourself during the day when there are other diets that allow you to eat regular meals. Most obese people over 200 pounds would lose weight if they ate 3-4 meals totaling about 1,500 calories.
  • Five Bite Diet allows you to eat anything you desire, but only five mouthfuls at a time. If you go on this diet, you need to include a well-balanced meal plan. Five bitefuls of a chocolate cake all day long is not a healthy approach.
  • Grapefruit diet is 80 years old and has been updated many times, but basically it claims the grapefruit has enzymes that fight fat. If all you eat is 800-1,000 calories you will probably lose weight on any diet.

Get the idea. Many diet fads. Many crazy ways to lose weight.

Yes, you can try these bizarre diets. You can even lose weight on them. But will you keep it off, or, even worse, will they cause you more harm than good.

The Center for Disease Control suggests that you look at your lifestyle and incorporate healthy eating habits and regular exercise.

The challenge for many obese people when it comes to weight loss is staying motivated. When you weigh 350 pounds it is a difficult to stay dedicated to a weight-loss program when you are losing 1-2 pounds a week.

Many of the above diet fads include extreme low-carb eating plans. The Mayo Clinic says although people use the low-carb approach to lose weight, they may have “health benefits beyond weight loss, such as reducing risk factors with diabetes and metabolic syndrome.”

“The idea behind the low-carb diet is that decreasing carbs lower insulin levels, which causes the body to burn stored fat for energy and ultimately leads to weight loss,” according to the Mayo Clinic.

The bottomline is that you need to research the diet you want to go on. You also need to choose one that will work for you, enable you to stay motivated and does not pose new health risks because of the food you are eating (or the nutrients in the foods you are not eating).

Good diet!

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