When we are looking for a weight loss plan or a weight loss program, we need to take the time to research, do our homework, and learn what are the bad diet red flags to choose a diet that works for us as an individual. Sounds like quite the task doesn’t it? It is true that anything good for you is worth the effort, and the time it takes to get there. 

Where Do I Start?

There are many places that you can go to look for weight loss plans or weight loss programs. Before you take that first step, however, think about what a diet plan should look like to you whether it is low carb or low fat.  In the end, there isn’t a one size fits all diet plan. It truly is a lifestyle change. Diets are often fads that change over time. You might go on the diet to attempt to reach your achieved goal and then you typically resume your old habits like I talk about in my previous posts about low carb diets. Some diets, like the DASH diet or Mediterranean diet do have merits, like including whole grains, lean protein, and allow all the food groups, because they do have evidence that they will help with your high blood pressure.  

Other important factors include whether it is one-on-one or is it a group like Weight Watchers?

Over the years the diet mentality has evolved to something that is more attuned to our way of thinking, and something many health care professionals now agree on. Your pattern of eating needs to be a sustained lifestyle change that is integrated into your lifestyle to create the change both in the short and long term. 

When you change how you think about a diet, that is your first step in making sure that what you choose is going to lead you down the golden path to success. This will in itself delete 100% of the diets that are out there. We now know that most diets fail; in fact, only 5% of people sustain weight loss through dieting; which is not encouraging, is it?

We need to make a well informed decision about our eating. When we don’t employ wise eating principles when changing how we eat, we end up with surprises along the way, or things that we didn’t think about happening that could very well stop us from achieving our goal. 

Our bodies use phosphorous for many functions, from moving enzymes around the body and producing energy to regulating our blood pH and controlling gene transcription. The majority of phosphorus in our bodies can be found in bones and teeth, while smaller amounts are found in cell membranes as well as in our DNA and RNA. 

Diet Red Flags

Dietitians of Canada has created a list of the red flags that the diet you are choosing might not be a good diet:

    • Promises fast weight loss (more than one kilogram (two pounds) per week).
    • Recommends a very low-calorie diet plan (below 800 calories) per day) without medical supervision.
    • Tries to make you dependent on their company by selling you products such as foods or supplements rather than teaching you how to make good choices from regular grocery store food.
    • Does not encourage long-term realistic lifestyle changes, including regular exercise and a healthy diet that suits your lifestyle and health.
    • Employs salespeople who act as “counselors”, but are only trained on the program and the company’s products and not on healthy approaches to help you change your behavior to help you lose weight.
    • Requires you to sign a long-term, expensive contract.
    • Pressures you to sign up right away by offering a “special price”.
    • Does not tell you about risks that may go along with weight loss or their specific program (for example: if you have diabetes and take prescription medication, it may affect you differently after you lose weight).
    • Promotes weight loss aids like starch blockers, fat-burners, herbs, supplements or amino acids that have not been scientifically proven to have any health benefits. Talk to a dietitian or other health professional to find out this information.
    • Does not offer support or follow-up to help you lose weight and keep it off.

How to Find the Best Diet

The most important thing to consider is where your information is coming from. Is it from a clinic with a Registered Dietitian who is giving you the information or a doctor? Is it someone who is only going from their own personal experience that is giving you that information? If that is the case, that in itself is a red flag, and though it is something you can take into account, it is not something you want to base a sound decision off of. Not everyone’s experience is the same, and without definitive proof and observation over time in a large number of individuals (multiple case studies), we consider this anecdotal evidence.  This should not instill confidence that you are stepping into something that will work, let alone work for you. 

The other thing to consider is if the person laying out the diet plan is basing their professional experience on a single study, does not have a proper medical degree, or has not obtained the proper level of experience, you can count on the fact that you don’t have enough evidence to know that you are safe when taking their advice.

There are other things to consider when you are evaluating a diet plan. You need to look and see if the writer is promising you a quick-fix diet solution. Not only do you not want a quick-fix solution, but instead you want to focus on finding a long-term solution. You can almost always count on a quick fix not working or not lasting. Quick fixes are band-aid solutions, which aren’t really solutions at all, they are only something interim that gets you by. That doesn’t work for a lifestyle change. That might look like the chicken soup or cabbage soup diet. Something that will shed 7 pounds so you can fit in that dress for an upcoming event, but not something to be taken seriously for your long-term health goals.

Working with an RD can help you choose the right weight loss diet plan

Look for a Quality Website

Is that website giving you information that is based on your diet alone, or are there suggestions for products and supplements that you are “suggested” to buy? When you are looking at creating a lifestyle change that gives you a diet to follow. That diet should be based on foods alone, that will supplement you and give you personally all the nutrients your body needs. It is also important to steer away from sites that make incredible claims that there is one single food, or food group that can “save you”, can help you to “lose weight”, or “add years back onto your life”. The only way you are going to get the nutrients you need to do what your body wants and needs to do is to implement the right foods that are needed for your body, and at the right times. 

Have a Wise Eating Plan

A wise eating plan that will work for you will come from a trained professional who is truly knowledgeable in all areas of food to walk with you the process. 

Who would that be? Your best bet would be a Registered Dietitian. A Registered Dietitian is trained in all things food, how it works for our bodies, the different systems within our bodies, how it can treat illnesses, and how eating certain foods can prevent illness as well. 

Whether you are looking at weight loss, a minor or major health issue, or just preventative, a Dietitian will work with you on going through, putting together, and implementing a plan that works for you. The bonus to working with a Dietitian is you have someone to walk the walk with you. They are there with you to change things when they need to be changed and monitor your health with you. They support you to make sure that no matter what pops up along the way you are met with the right changes the first time that will provide you the success you need for your health of your body and makes you feel good inside and out. A dietitian will work with your doctor so that everyone is always on the same page as you and acting in your best interests. 

Go ahead a google a good breakfast if you want to change things up with your eggs, but if you want a new and improved diet that will change your health from here moving forward consider adding a Registered Dietitian to your future diet plans. It will be the be one of the best decisions you will ever make. Till next week, stay safe, eat wisely, and take the steps needed to make the rest of your life great! 

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Guidelines for choosing a Healthy Diet” PEN: Practice-Based Evidenced Based Nutrition. 2014-10-07. Rights reserved.