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Diet Advice: How to Tell If It's Good or Bad

By Jordan Chen, Registered Dietitian


As a registered dietitian, I frequently help patients with reaching their weight loss goals.

One positive thing about the boom of information available at our fingertips is that people can learn about anything at anytime.


On the other hand, there is a lot of misinformation out there, which can leave patients confused and frustrated.

I hear a lot about new diets and products. A registered dietitian can help you wade through all of the information and give you advice on whether a diet will be beneficial in the long-run, or if it sounds more like a fad.


Here are some questions that you can ask yourself if you’re trying to research diets on your own:


Does it sound too good to be true?

If a diet is claiming that you can lose 10 pounds in 1 week or saying you can lose weight without making any changes to your diet or lifestyle, it is too good to be true.


Studies show that weight loss at a gradual pace at about 1-2 lbs per week and being consistent about lifestyle changes is the best long-term solution for weight loss.

I always recommend for my patients to focus on changing one or two things in their regimen at a time until it becomes a habit. Then we can assess progress and start making new goals.


Are they trying to sell something?

I am usually suspicious when someone is selling a product for weight loss. This is because a general healthful diet filled with whole, unprocessed foods is proven to be great (and cheaper!) for weight loss.


When someone is trying to sell a specific brand of powder or supplement, it is usually not necessary. I recommend following diets such as the Mediterranean Diet, DASH diet, or MyPlate as a dietary guide.


Does it sound too restrictive?

Some diets eliminate whole food groups, or don’t allow for any flexibility.


Diets such as Keto eliminate carbohydrates which are found in fruits, starchy vegetables, whole grains, and dairy, which provide a variety of vitamins and minerals. Following very restrictive diets can lead to binges later as well.


I usually recommend patients still include foods they enjoy in their diet (such as sweets and salty foods) but to eat them sparingly and watch portions.

I encourage patients to aim for increasing healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables on a daily basis.


The hard truth

Weight loss can be very hard for some individuals, but being consistent and honest with yourself is key. Hopefully you can continue navigating the information available and find the right lifestyle that fits your goals.


If you would like more guidance on your diet, talk to your primary care physician about a dietitian consult, or contact me to discuss a consultation.

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