Diet Traps to Avoid

When you’re trying to shed extra pounds, it’s tempting to look for an easy way out—a magic bullet or a diet product that promises fast, easy weight loss.

Diet traps and unhealthy eating don't help you lose weight for the long term. A sensible weight-loss plan that includes balanced meals and exercise can help you reach your healthy weight.

Watch for these

Some of the diet traps you should avoid:

  • Starving yourself to lose weight. You can lose weight on a very low-calorie diet, but doing so can be dangerous and most always results in weight gain as soon as you go off the diet. Losing weight gradually, about 1 or 2 pounds a week, is healthier and more likely to last.

  • Giving up on a whole food group. For example, low-carb diets suggest that you stop eating bread and other grain products.

  • Believing that eating a certain food can make you lose weight. Some diets falsely claim that eating grapefruit or other high-acid foods will burn off fat.

  • Skipping meals to speed weight loss. In fact, skipping meals can slow your metabolism, making it even harder to shed pounds.

  • Eating all the fat-free foods you want. Although it’s true that a high-fat diet is usually a high-calorie diet, calories count no matter what your meal plan. Compare labels before buying fat-free foods. Often you’ll find the fat-free version has as many or even more calories than the regular one. Also, the fat in fat-free foods is often replaced with sodium or sugar that can lead to other health issues if excessive amounts are consumed. 

Plan for success

Experts say a successful diet plan should include the following steps:

  • Keep a food diary. This can give you valuable information about where you’re getting the extra calories that are causing your weight gain. Are you eating large portions? Do you drink a lot of soda each day?

  • Add physical activity. Exercise is essential to weight loss and weight maintenance.