Fad Diets - The Good, Bad & Ugly - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

SPECIAL REPORT: Fad Diets - The Good, Bad & Ugly


The countdown is on as summer is almost here.  Everywhere you look you see people getting ready for the big reveal.  Some are sweating it out at Columbus's Lakebottom Park. Others started months ago, getting their eating in check, planning ahead to be swimsuit ready.

But for the rest of us who still have poundage to drop, a fad diet sounds tempting. But do these diets really work and more importantly, are they good or bad for you? We put some of these diets to the test and talked to a local registered dietician about the "Good, the Bad and the Ugly on Fad Diets."

Research shows every year, there are about 45 million Americans on some type of diet, spending an estimated $33 billion on weight loss products, all in the pursuit of a trimmer, fitter body.

Six of us at WTVM tried several different fad diets over seven days to see if we would lose weight and to see how we felt about the diets.

Overall, it wasn't bad. We lost a total of 29 pounds in seven days. The most weight loss was recorded by reporter, Taylor Kinkade, who lost a total of 7 pounds on the "One Good Meal" Diet, along with meteorologist, Derek Kinkade, who lost 6 pounds.  

News producer, Kristin Wild, lost 3 pounds on her fad diet, and I lost 5 pounds, as well, on the "Chocolate Diet."  My co-anchor, Jason Dennis, did something called the "Lazy Zone Diet" and lost 5 pounds.  News Leader 9 editor, Desiree Topor, tried the "Turbo Cabbage Soup Diet" and lost 5 pounds as well.

Dietician, Beth Bussey, applauded our effort adding that fad diets are not all bad. In fact, she says there are some good things about these kinds of diet plans.

"I think it shows people that their body isn't such a mystery. If they eat less, take in less calories, that they will lose weight," said Bussey. She also says following a diet plan can introduce people to new, healthy foods they have not tried before and can help them organize their eating.

But Bussey says there are some bad things about fad diets. "The bad would be something that is truly unsafe, or a product that is simply aimed at preying on people that are overweight promising a result they cannot deliver," Bussey said.

She also points out that super low caloric intake, which is involved in many fad diets, can be dangerous and lead to long-term weight issues. If you don't take in enough calories, she says you can lose lean tissue, and that, according to her, is the ugly of fad diets.

"If you lose lean tissue, you can end up doing much more harm than good. Each pound of lean tissue burns about 50 calories a day.  So if you lose lean tissue and then you start eating more calories later, you're actually going to get fat on [fewer] calories than before." Bussey says that's why many people end up gaining back more weight than they lost.

If you want to lose weight, Bussey says it's important to change your lifestyle. That involves eating healthy food, reducing calories, and increasing activity. Bussey recommends that you consult your physician or a dietician before getting started; and remember you didn't put the weight on overnight, so don't expect to lose it instantly.

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