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Ditch those fad diets in 2018


When we think of new year’s resolutions, one of the things we commonly have on our list is the dreaded word: Diet. And after the dietary debauchery that some of us (no judgment, here) partook in during the holidays, it’s great to dive head-first into a healthy new year diet plan. The problem is that many of these diets contain a whole lot of marketing and very few healthy choices.

We’ve seen some strange fads over the years: High-protein, no-fat, master-cleanse, juice-based and even something called a werewolf diet—it’s no shock that we are tempted to find quick-fixes for slimming our waistlines and improving our health. But are “quick fix” diets really the answer?

Maybe the answer is to eliminate the word “diet” from our plan. Trendy diets can most certainly lead to quick weight loss, but are not sustainable over time. Especially if the diet involves cutting something out that you really enjoy (like eating eggs or popcorn on family movie nights), can lead to backtracking and giving up. The better solution? Try to get more active, cut out processed foods and introduce healthier options into your daily meals.

Studies show that a plant-based, whole-food diet is one of the best ways to avoid obesity, diabetes and heart disease. However, many people shy away from vegan and vegetarian diets because they claim to feel sluggish and lack energy after attempting them. “I think it’s important to remember that all vegan foods are not created equal,” says Dr. Carla Fider, a health plan coach for Adventist Health. “Believe it or not, Oreos are vegan! But they are also calorie dense, nutrient deficient and packed with sugar.”  So even when choosing a vegan diet, it’s important to look for foods that you can consume that are low in manufactured sugar, salt, saturated and trans-fat.

What defines healthy foods? “Whole foods” can be thought of as simply a food in its original form: Fruits, vegetables, legumes and seeds and nuts (in smaller amounts) are the key components of a healthy diet. By not placing an emphasis on meats during a meal, and cutting out refined sugars and fats, your waistline and your heart will thank you! Dr. Fider recommends the Full Plate program, which isn’t a trendy “diet,” but instead a system that teaches you how to adapt your meals to be healthier in a sustainable way—because “crash diets” must end at some point (who can live on juice forever, right?). By using these tools, you learn how to maintain a healthy lifestyle without unhealthy dieting.

And with all new diet plans, it’s wise to check with your healthcare provider before diving in. You’ll want to be in tip-top shape for all the great things you’ll do in 2018.