Diabetes Meal Planning and Nutrition For Dummies
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The cabbage soup diet of the 1980s is alive and well, apparently outliving cabbage patch dolls of the same period. But, those who own the original dolls may find they still have value — those who tried the diet lost any value almost immediately.

In fairness to the cabbage soup diet, it only claims on its website that you can lose 10 pounds in seven days. If you’re 28 years old and want to drop a few pounds before your ten-year class reunion, it could be that feeling light-headed, weak, and unable to concentrate is worth a week of cabbage. If you have diabetes, however, the cabbage soup diet is maybe not such a great idea.

Americans are on a constant search for an easy way to lose weight, spending more than $2 billion dollars each year on ineffective weight loss supplements. Fad diets, although not nearly so expensive (cabbage is cheap), somehow seem irresistible to many.

And, while you might be perfectly able to see through the claims of diet plans like the Hot Dog Diet or Dr. Siegal’s Cookie Diet, the desperation that comes from unsuccessful efforts at weight loss can cloud judgment. The guilt about weight that sometimes goes with diabetes can increase that sense of desperation, too, but having diabetes makes fad diets potentially dangerous.

Promising the quick fix

Medical professionals generally consider weight loss of about 1 to 2 pounds per week fast enough unless close supervision is provided. Diet plans that guarantee rapid weight loss, perhaps by resetting or revving up your metabolism, are either fraudulent or dangerous.

The HCG diet, where HCG stands for human chorionic gonadotropin, is an excellent example. The plan focuses your attention on injections of this special hormone recovered from the urine of pregnant women, but the extreme weight loss is actually related to the diet’s 500 calories per day food allowance. A diet that includes only 500 calories per day is not safe.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued warning letters to companies that market HCG as a natural weight loss supplement, but startling claims and persuasive testimonials are everywhere still.

The bottom line is that ultra-quick weight loss is unhealthy, is often only a loss of water (the weight is regained immediately), and the method is not sustainable. Just ask those who tried the Apple Cider Vinegar Diet.

Trumpeting miracle foods

Sorry, there are no miracle foods or secret combinations of foods that burn fat while you sleep. The constantly resurrecting Grapefruit Diet, or the Wu-Yi Tea Diet are examples — there are others, and there will always be new ones.

Losing weight and losing fat is about using more calories than you ingest, and any of these plans that actually leads to weight loss inevitably does so by coming in with low calories. Unfortunately, these plans also restrict foods that are healthy, and sometimes essential.

A few other keys to recognizing fad diets would include the following:

  • It sounds too good to be true (your mother was right!).

  • It’s the food (or diet) they don’t want you to know about (if it was healthy, they really would want you to know about it).

  • Claims are based on a single unpublished study, or simple conclusions are drawn from a complex study.

  • A diet special for only some people (the Blood Type Diet).

  • It includes a miracle food only available from one place (at a low price today only, plus shipping and handling).

Having diabetes makes it especially important that you not waste time (or money) or risk your health by looking for shortcuts to better health. The sooner you decide to follow a proven path, the better your future looks.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Toby Smithson, RDN, CDE, has managed her own diabetes for more than 40 years, and founded DiabetesEveryDay.com to share her insights into diabetes self-management. Alan Rubin, MD, is the author of several successful diabetes books, including Diabetes For Dummies and Diabetes Cookbook For Dummies.

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