What’s the Deal with Fad Diets? - My Bariatric Solutions
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What’s the Deal with Fad Diets?

By: Jordanne Hellman MS, RDN, CSOWM, LD

With the holidays over and a new year in full swing, many people want to get healthy and lose weight. With so many different diet options out there, it can be difficult to sift through and find something that is sustainable and will create long term, positive lifestyle changes. So, which diet would that be? Let’s take a look at some of the most popular fad diets out there versus overall healthy lifestyle changes, and find out what we should be focused on diet wise in 2018.

What’s a Fad Diet?

If you’ve ever needed a quick fix for weight loss, you’ve probably at least researched a fad diet. Fad diets typically promote quick, easy weight loss. The only problem is that the weight is typically regained as soon as you stop following the diet. Some of the most popular ones patients ask about include a Ketogenic diet, Atkins diet, and Paleo diet. So, what’s the difference?

Atkins diet– This diet is ever so popular throughout the dieting community. By following a high protein, low carbohydrate diet, followers are able to shed weight quickly throughout a four phase weight loss plan. Starting off, you restrict carbohydrates to only 20 grams per day (equivalent to one slice of bread or ½ cup of mashed potatoes.) This puts your body in a state of ketosis, just like in the ketogenic diet. After a couple weeks, you are able to minimally increase your total number of carbohydrates (think three slices of bread per day instead of one.) Ultimately, people shed weight quickly, but counting carbohydrates can be a very tedious process every single day, which proposes the question: Is it sustainable?

Ketogenic diet– This high fat, very low carbohydrate diet was initially used to treat epilepsy, but now is a health trend across the country. By keeping your carbohydrates very low for an extended period of time, you force your body to breakdown stored fat into ketones to be used for energy. This diet is very similar to phase one of the Atkins diet. With a ketogenic diet, typically 60-75% of your daily caloric intake should come from fat—which ultimately helps to keep you feeling full longer. But, can you imagine not eating fruits or healthy complex carbohydrates for an extended period of time? While this diet does show promising results in rapid weight loss, it only allows for minimal opportunities for fiber intake, does not restrict what type of fats you decide to eat, and definitely has the potential for weight gain with addition of carbohydrates.

Paleo diet– The overall goal of a paleo diet is to eat foods similar to what would have been eaten in the Paleolithic era—no processed foods, grains, or dairy products (farming had not emerged yet in that era.) This diet pushes for daily consumption of fruits, lean meats, fish, vegetables, nuts and seeds, ultimately all healthy options. However, it does eliminate all dairy products like cheese, milk, cottage cheese, and yogurt, which are all excellent high protein snacks for bariatric patients, not to mention high in calcium. Ultimately, this diet is not as restrictive on a certain macronutrient as the previously described, but it eliminates a lot of protein opportunities in your diet.

What Do Your Dietitians Want You to Do?
At My Bariatric Solutions, we want you to develop healthy eating habits to last a lifetime. Your bariatric surgery is permanent, so your healthy habits should be too! Overall, we encourage you to NEVER eliminate a complete food group. Obviously, we want your main focus on protein. Always eat your protein first and at every meal and snack. Protein is essential to ensure adequate weight loss and maintain your lean muscle mass.  If you cannot remember your individual protein goal, contact your registered dietitian and we would be more than happy to assist you.

After protein, focus on non-starchy vegetables. Vegetables provide you with a variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber which your body needs! While starchy vegetables, fruits, and complex carbohydrates like brown rice or whole wheat bread are the foods we encourage you to eat the least of, it does not mean you have to eliminate them completely! If you want to have a piece of fruit as a snack, go for it! Just pair it with a protein.

Our goal for you is to find a satisfying way to enjoy all food groups, while meeting your weight and health goals. Helping you to make healthy decisions is exactly what we are here to do!