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Dr Russ Blog - Is Dieting Good for Us?
Is Dieting Good for Us?
Created on 5/6/2011

B sent in a question about diets for weight loss. He has recently started a popular diet program and wonders whether there are risks associated with weight loss diets.

Good question!

As long as a weight loss program sets reasonable goals and expectations I have little problem with them. Of course, there are some extreme diet and weight loss plans that I do not recommend - they are simply too low in calorie and nutrient intake to be good for us; that said, many of the popular diet programs out there share similar approaches to managing weight that are appropriate. 

However..

generally speaking, I don't like the idea of "diets."

Diets are typically things we go on and off of repeatedly across many time frames.

Much better would be developing a pattern of eating that we might hold to for the long term; in other words, a way to eat that supports a lifelong healthy lifestyle.

Research suggests that most reasonable weight loss programs that include some degree of healthy but lowered calorie intake combined with increased energy expenditure (ie, exercise) will result in weight loss.

The problem is, we usually gain some or all (or more!) of that weight back down the road.

Which is why a pattern of eating, such as a Mediterranean- or Asian-styled meal program, or following an anti-inflammatory diet, that becomes part of the fabric of our lives is a better way to go.

If losing weight were easy there wouldn't be so many weight loss programs, so many weight loss books, and so many diets! Losing weight in a healthful manner is not easy.

Much of weight loss has to do with calories, but even more has to do with behavior change - eating mindfully rather than mindlessly, committing to almost daily exercise, managing stress appropriately, getting adequate sleep, and so on.

Diet programs are fine provided they lay the reasonable ground work for a pattern of healthy eating that people can hold to for many years to come.

I wish you good luck on your path to healthy weight loss, B!
Be well.
Dr. Russ
** Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment. **


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