diets 3-12-19

LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) -- Americans are more confused than ever about what to eat to achieve optimal health. Much of this has to do with questionable information coming from a variety of sources- from your hairdresser to the internet.  

While the hype around quick fixes seems alluring, the recommendations might not be based on science and the sources may not be credible.

March is National Nutrition Month, Catherine Arnold (The Mindful Dietitian), a registered dietitian from The Dairy Alliance, is here to help us cut through the confusion and to stop falling for "Diet Disasters!"

What do you mean by Diet Disasters?

Diet Disasters are short term approaches that seem promising for quick weight loss or sound healthy, but in the end aren't sustainable.  What's more, diet disasters may be harmful to our health. The saying "if it's too good to be true, it probably is," is a good gauge for a major fail with many fad diets.

The U.S. weight loss market is a $66 billion industry and the weighty truth is 70% of Americans remain overweight.  Here's how you can spot a fad diet. If it offers a quick fix, cuts out a whole food group(s) (such as Paleo or Ketogenic) and is not based on science.

While it may not seem harmful, continually yo-yo dieting slows your metabolism and according to research, most people gain the weight back.  Furthermore, cutting out entire food groups can result in a shortage of essential nutrients, which can cause serious health problems. For example, cutting out dairy foods can result in not receiving proper amount of vitamin D and calcium, which could lead to osteoporosis

What is the best diet?

Instead of a diet, enjoy a variety of foods and think about a lifestyle change. Try the Mediterranean Diet, which is more of an eating style, not something to go on and off of. This food approach emphasizes fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and olive oil, as well as nutrient-rich dairy foods like cheese and yogurt. Weeknight dinners are a snap with a sheet pan Mediterranean Shrimp.

For those looking to quick start weight loss, is fasting a good option?

Intermittent fasting is a popular trend this year and involves restricting the hours in which one eats.   Most intermittent fasting schedules recommend not eating until noon.  However, skipping meals can lead to over eating at the next meal and making poor food choices when it is time to eat.   Additionally, skipping meals can result in missing out on essential nutrients, which can be dangerous.

As a Registered Dietitian, Arnold recommends starting the day with a protein-rich breakfast and spreading calories out evenly throughout the day, rather than during a restricted time frame.  The latest research shows that boosting protein at breakfast can lead to lower calorie consumption throughout the day, weight loss and improved healthy muscle mass.

One of Arnold's favorite quick and easy breakfast dishes is an easy egg muffin. This one is made with eggs, milk, cheese, ham and veggies, but it can be individualized to taste. You can make it ahead, freeze and just pop in the microwave in the morning. The ingredients, especially the eggs and dairy, provide high-quality protein source as well as other essential nutrients to power us through the day.

There is a lot of misinformation available regarding diet and nutrition. Forget the fad diets.  Remember that most are a temporary fix and are not sustainable for the long run. Work with a Registered Dietitian to help you find an individualized eating pattern that is best for you.  

About Catherine Arnold:

Catherine is a Registered Dietitian with a Masters of Science from Cornell University.  Additionally she is certified in Adult Weight Management. She has over 20 years of experience in the field, working in clinical as well as community settings with individuals and families. She specializes in the areas of weight management, diabetes management, meal planning, goal setting, and comprehensive nutrition and wellness education to enable individuals to reach and maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.

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