Eat less, eat better and exercise more. That’s the basic plan to lose weight successfully and that plan hasn’t changed through time. So why are there so many fad diets popping up all over the place?

Fad diets are those diets that become very popular and get a lot of publicity. Part of that is caused by people who want something a little sexier than the “eat less, eat better and exercise more” that time has proven to work. Part of it is also because people are always looking for a quick fix these days and fad diets almost always promise fast and easy weight loss.

Unfortunately, these fad diets are often not the best choice for real, lasting weight management and many can actually be quite dangerous. Luckily, there are warning signs that you can watch for to help you avoid trying a diet that could harm your health.

One thing that should give you a hint that something isn’t quite right is when claims sound too good to be true. It’s easy to become swept up in the lure of dropping weight almost instantly, especially when it’s endorsed by a celebrity that we might look up to. Keep in mind that your favorite film star has the same desires as you do and can fall for fad diets just as easily as anyone else.

A major warning sign that a diet may be bad for you is when it eliminates or severely restricts one or more of the major five food groups. One example of this is the many variations of the low-carb diet that continue to surface. Some of these tell you to eliminate carbohydrates completely. People who do this for more than a few days start getting tired, sluggish and even ill.

The body is designed to get it’s fuel from a balanced diet consisting of all five of the food groups. Common sense should tell you that doing away with one of these groups is a bad idea.

At the same time, fad diets that focus around a certain food or food group are not any better. There are diets that will tell you that a food burns more fat than other foods or that the food has something in it that will boost your metabolism. These things may even be true to a certain point but any time you overdo on one food item, you will run into other problems eventually.

Another signal that a new diet plan might not be a wise choice is when it makes bold statements that say they’re based on scientific principles but you can’t find any information about the principles elsewhere. Some of those developing new diets are very good at using big words to confuse the average person but they are often based on myths or inaccuracies.

It may not be trendy or sexy, but the principles of weight loss and weight management do not change. If you truly want to lose weight and keep it off, the only real way to do so is to eat a healthy, balanced diet and to exercise regularly.

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