March 13, 2007 > National Nutrition Month Focuses on Healthy Eating
National Nutrition Month Focuses on Healthy Eating
Washington Hospital Dietitian Says Stay Away From Fad Diets
Even if you can lose weight eating fish three times a day, or eating grapefruit for a week straight, or any other fad diet on the market today, then what? Any diet can help you lose weight. Keeping it off is the struggle. The key is to develop a lifelong eating plan that includes physical activity.
With the theme "100 Percent Fad Free," the American Dietetic Association (ADA) is urging people to stay away from fad diets during National Nutrition Month in March. The ADA promotes healthy eating by focusing attention on making informed choices and developing sound physical activity habits.
"So many people cycle on and off diets," said Amy Kelly, a registered dietitian at Washington Hospital. "The lure of quick, easy weight loss is hard to resist and misinformation is everywhere."
New research studies seem to appear daily, and often the findings of one conflict with another. New food products and supplements are constantly being touted as "the answer" to weight problems. New diet books regularly hit the shelves with the latest best way to shed pounds.
Dieting is big business. Spending on weight-loss products in this country reached $43 billion in 2004, according to the ADA.
"It's very attractive for consumers to want to buy into a quick fix or magic pill," Kelly said. "Unfortunately, these fad diets don't offer lasting results."
The ADA defines "food fads" as unreasonable or exaggerated claims that eating or not eating specific foods, nutrient supplements, or combinations of certain foods will offer quick weight loss. Some tips to evaluating new products or diets include:
* If it sounds too good to be true, it is, especially if it offers a "quick fix."
* Avoid products offering a guarantee or promoting a "limited-time offer."
* Watch out for products that describe certain foods as "good" or "bad."
* Be very wary when the source of the information, such as a book author, is also trying to sell a product, like packaged foods or supplements.
Fad diets generally prohibit certain foods or entire food groups. However, countless reputable studies show that balance and variety are important ingredients for a healthy diet.
Establish a Lifelong Eating Plan
Healthy eating and regular physical activity are key to losing and maintaining weight. Establishing a lifelong eating plan that includes plenty of nutrient-rich foods along with some of your favorites is the best way to achieve long-term success. Regular activity helps to burn up calories while improving overall health and wellbeing.
Stay away from fads and get back to basics. Focus on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and nuts. Avoid saturated fats and trans fats. For more tips on healthy eating, visit www.mypyramid.gov.
When it comes to fitness, you don't need to run a marathon to stay in shape. Walking, gardening, bicycling, and other fun physical activities can help you move your body and improve overall fitness.
Washington Hospital is promoting healthy eating and fitness to its staff and visitors throughout the month of March with a nutrition information booth in the hospital cafeteria featuring healthy recipes, weekly nutrition quizzes, and fitness accessory giveaways, as well tips for eating right.
"You need to make sure you're getting the facts when it comes to food and nutrition," Kelly said. "It's important to remember that registered dietitians have access to the most current, scientifically-based information. We can help you sort through all the misinformation."
To learn more about National Nutrition Month, visit the ADA's website at www.eatright.org.
For more information about Washington Hospital and its programs and services, visit www.whhs.com.