Why is choosing a diet so hard?
The information we receive about diets, food, and nutrition is confusing. Millions of dollars are spent on weight loss schemes that never last. So, how do you choose a diet that will work? This post is the first in a series of articles exploring questions to ask when choosing a diet. Here goes…
Does the grapefruit diet work?
It’s not the grapefruit’s fault. This morning, however, I had three emails touting a celebrity with a “new” grapefruit diet to get in shape for the holidays. This sort of thing drives me crazy. First, celebrities aren’t experts in medicine or nutrition and they certainly aren’t experts in what will work for YOU. In the case of grapefruit, this lack of expertise can be dangerous.
Eating grapefruit interferes with the way your body processes many drugs. In some cases this interference can be life threatening. For example, people on some types of statin drugs used to treat high blood pressure should avoid grapefruit. Grapefruit messes with the enzyme that processes the statin and allows too much of the drug to build up in the body. I learned a great deal about statins while working on a new cholesterol awareness campaign. In fact there are options for grapefruit lovers too – which is why it is a good idea to talk to your doctor about the medications you are taking before making drastic changes to the way you eat.
Many other common medications interact with grapefruit including those to treat:
- High blood pressure
- Chron’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Seasonal allergies
- Even birth control pills!
While birth control pills are still effective in preventing pregnancy, eating grapefruit may increase estrogen in the body and produce PMS syptoms including bloating and weight gain. Not exactly what you were looking for in a diet, right?!
My point? You should ask a real expert, a doctor or registered dietician, about whether any new diet will cause issues with your medication.
The grapefruit diet also fails two of my 7 questions to choose a diet:
- Does it revolve around a “miracle” food or supplement? There are no magic potions, pills, or foods to maintaining a healthy weight? Good health comes from eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and low fat protein.
- Does it mention the word “starvation”? A healthy eating plan allows you to eat lots of food – good food with lots of fiber which forces your body to work to digest it. Getting your metabolism fired up to burn calories and fat is the key. Starving your body will cause your metabolism to slow down, setting you up for failure when you resume eating normally.
Answering YES to any of these questions means the diet will probably not work for permanent weightloss.