Weight Loss Product Warnings -- How to Spot Fat Burning Diets
This is the second article in the series, Weight Loss Product Warnings. How to Spot Fat Burning Diets teaches you how to analyze a diet's fat burning potential. The ultimate goal is for you to trust your own judgement and not rely on the words of a face less affiliate website promoting the latest and greatest fat burner.
Why is this important? Because burning fat is the only way to healthy weight loss. Marketers of weight loss products know about burning fat and, as a result, have flooded the net with fat burning advertisements. It is my goal to teach the five easy steps used to analyze a diet's fat burning potential.
Fat Burning Diets...The 5 Step Analysis
1) Check the Rate of Losing Weight
How fast do dieters on this specific diet lose weight? The rate of losing weight should not exceed a maximum of 2 pounds per week. The classic fast weight loss ad is similar to, "Lose X pounds in Y time." Calculate the amount of weight loss per week, given the information in the ad.
Here's an example (a real ad placed in 2003)...
"Lose 10 Pounds and 4 Inches in 10 days!"
At one pound per day, the week's weight loss is 7 pounds. This is way over the 2 pounds per week maximum and simply is not healthy.
2) Check the Reduction in Total Calories
A diet plan that reduces total calories by more than 500 calories per day is promoting unhealthy weight loss. Did you know that cutting out only 250-500 calories, without doing anything else, will lead to a pound per week of weight loss? That's it. No fancy nutritional calendar, no weight loss pills, not even a highly guarded secret is needed. Just drop 250-500 calories from your diet and you will lose fat.
To analyze a diet program for calorie restrictions, look for any statements referring to the total calories you would eat on a typical day. To find this information, you might have to dig a little deeper and research several websites. But you'll find it.
If the diet calls for a reduction greater than 500 calories, it's not healthy weight loss.
3) The Diet's Exercise Plan
Does the diet have an exercise plan? Yes, good. As long as it's not a rapid weight loss diet or promoting extreme calorie restrictions, healthy weight loss is a good bet.
I can not stress enough the importance of a resistance training program as part of your exercise plan. Think muscle. Follow these three simple "muscle" rules when trying to lose weight...
I only make two guarantees to my dieting patients. One of them you'll hear about soon, the other is this...follow the three simple rules for muscle, and I guarantee you'll lose weight and keep it off! The truth is never a secret.
- Don't lose it
- Tone it
- Build it
4) Analyze the Amount of Fat Intake
To lose fat you need to eat fat. But it needs to be the right kind of fat. When analyzing a diet for the types of fat you can eat, look to see if they list healthy fats. For a listing of healthy and harmful fats, check out How to pick a diet and make note of the good fats.
5) The Amount of Protein Intake
An adequate amount of protein must be included with any diet plan. How much protein? Depends. Make sure the diet you're analyzing has at least the normal daily requirement of 1 gram of protein per kilogram of weight per day but no more than 1.5 grams per kilogram per day (up to 2 grams/kg if body building).
Summary of Each Analysis
Fast weight loss (over 2 pounds per week) is a diet failure. Don't start a fast weight loss diet without making the appropriate adjustments.
Severe calorie restriction (greater than 500) is unhealthy weight loss. Go ahead and start the diet if you really like it, just phase in the calorie reduction over 4-6 weeks. Do not drop below 1200 calories per day.
No healthy fats to eat? Fat intake below 20%? Eat more fat while on the diet (the healthy fats!). Keep fat intake around 30%.
No exercise required? Sorry, exercise can not be avoided. Remember my guarantee? Exercise keeps muscle toned.
Not enough protein in the diet? Add it yourself. There are many options, too many to list here. But I will mention protein shakes. The scare in the late 1970's has been resolved and the proteins used today are safe. Try a protein shake.
Try analyzing a diet you're familiar with and see what you conclude. The take home message...healthy weight loss is losing fat and fat only!
To Healthy Living!
Michael A. Smith, MD
Weight Loss Professional
Dr. Smith is the primary physician and consultant for the Weight Loss Professional Website. His interests include preventative medicine, the genetic etiology of obesity, and several others too numerous to list.
Please visit his Website at http://www.weight-loss-professional.com and let him know what you think.
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Dieting will continue to fail most dieters, unless personalized weight loss plans become more available. A diet designed for a mass market will fail because the diet assumes everything is constant or the same between dieters. Not so.
Personalized weight loss plans have a better chance of succeeding because the personal habits, ideas, and goals of each dieter are used in the design of the diet.
It comes down to, "What is good for you may not be good for me."
Personalized Weight Loss Plans -- The Positives
Personalized weight loss plans, regardless of diet type, are successful for a variety of reasons. An ongoing study comparing dieters on personalized plans and dieters on standardized plans so far demonstrates the following:
1). Dieters stick with personalized plans.
The longer you are in a weight-loss program the more weight you will lose. The trend (no statistical analysis has been performed to date) suggests personalized plans keep dieters motivated longer.
This may help dieters get over the 6th to 8th week hump -- weight loss was easy early but around week 8 becomes difficult.
2). Dieters on personalized plans normalize eating.
To be successful, a person must learn to reassociate eating with hunger. Learning to slow down to allow satiety to catch up with eating is one way to effect this change. This is why binge eaters tend to have the least success with losing weight long term, even though many will appear to be doing very well early in a diet. Personalize their diet and they have a better chance of long term success.
3). Dieters on personalized plans build support networks.
Dieters with personalized weight loss plans generally seek the help of a mentor, guide, or friend more often than dieters on standardized plans.
They tend to build networks of support. Why? Dieters on personalized plans are succeeding. This naturally leads to more motivation to continue and investigate other avenues to help continue their success.
4). Dieters on personalized plans are physically active.
A study from the early nineties concluded that exercise helps long-term weight loss but not short-term. I say it doesn't matter. Eventually, a large enough study that is properly designed will show that exercise at any time in life is beneficial.
This can not be stressed enough...exercise is paramount to your success. Dieters exercise more with personalized weight loss plans.
The best kind is a mix between aerobic exercises and resistance training. The result is toned muscle and protection from age related weight gain.
5). Dieters on personalized plans have control.
Dr. Gene Ogden in her study back in 1993 found that the women who believed their weight problems were caused by their own choices, rather than by metabolism or genetics, were more successful. They believed that they were in control of their weight and, therefore, believed they could lose weight. Personalized Weight Loss Plans give dieters control.
Personalized Diet Plan (PDP) Study -- The Family Associates in Dallas, Texas. Lead investigator is Dr. Steve Walters. According to Dr. Walters, there are approximately 25 overweight patients in each arm and that full publication is expected by August 2005.
This article does not represent final statistical results nor is it associated with The Family Associates.
Interestingly, dieters think they can't lose weight because of circumstances beyond their control. The blame is usually placed on their "slow" metabolisms, their dad's large frame or the diet itself.
The solution...personalized weight loss plans. Put the dieter in control, let him own it, and then watch him succeed. Now, this is not letting the dieter design his own diet, instead, tweak the diet he chooses to fit his lifestyle.
Pamela Peeke, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland in Baltimore and author of Fight Fat Over Forty (Viking, 2000) said, "You have to believe that you will drop some weight and then begin that journey. Once you believe success is possible, you'll feel less intimidated by the challenges along the way."
Michael A. Smith, M.D.
Additional Information is available at The Weight Loss Professional
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Diet fast and lose muscle not fat.