If you are dieting on your own and want to select a strict regimen for the first month or two, how can you distinguish the good plan from the ineffective or actively harmful ones?

Pass up any diet plan that

  1. Emphasizes a particular food (for instance, grapefruit, wheat germ, or yogurt) above all others.
  2. Uses fanciful theories to explain how a combination of certain foods (such as fruits and grains only) can improve your health and lead to weight loss. Food combining theories have been around for a long time and have never been shown to promote weight loss unless the menus they suggest happen to be low in calories.
  3. Omits one food group or major nutrient, such as carbohydrates. To stay healthy, you need to choose foods that supply all nutrients. The once fashionable high protein, low carbohydrate diets may initially lead to rapid’ weight Joss, but it comes mostly from water loss, followed by loss of muscle tissue, rather than fat. These diets are also high in fat.

4, Recommends a total daily intake of less than 1,200 calories, unless you are under medical supervision. Besides being hard to follow, minimalist diets don’t ensure you of proper nutrition.

  1. Tells you to take mega doses of vitamin and mineral supplements to make up for losses in foods. Be especially suspicious if “special formula” supplements are sold with the plan,

Look instead for a diet program that

  1. Relies on low calorie foods that are high in nutrients — particularly fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  2. Offers variety so that you don’t get bored.
  3. Fits the way you live. Allowance should be made — and advice given — for people on the go or those who are not expert cooks.
  4. Emphasizes slow weight loss and long term change of eating habits. It shouldn’t promise weight loss exceeding two pounds weekly
  5. Offers instruction in the principles of nutrition, in addition to daily menus and charts, If th diet is successful, the day will come when you won’t need the “plan” any more.
  6. Has been designed, or at least carefully reviewed, by someone with good credentials in nutrition — for instance, someone with a degree in nutrition, dietetics, or a related academic discipline from an accredited college or university.
  7. Offers strict medical care by a trained nutritionist or physician, if you opt for a rigorous formula or special diet. Make sure the person who developed it is well qualified.

Article extracted from this publication >> March 25, 1988