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It is not uncommon for people to turn to popular diet books when seeking to lose or manage weight. Diet books have been around since at least the mid th century, so clearly there is an enduring market for those seeking to improve their weight and health in this way. How do they work? One of the primary benefits of following a weight-loss program from a book is the cost.
Most books are relatively inexpensive to purchase or can be obtained for free from a local library. Most do not require you to invest in packaged foods or other tools.
You are usually looking at some form of dietary change and portion control, often paired with exercise and self-monitoring. For most people, the cost to follow the diet will be similar to what they already spend on the food they eat now. Depending on your ability to follow the program, you may experience a one to two pound weight-loss per week. The cons of using a diet book as your means of weight-loss include verifying the safety and efficacy of the plan.
Authors trying to sell books are often biased, as they profit from book sales, and they may not have the qualifications necessary to provide health advice. With the huge variety of plans available, the simple truth is that some diet books are good and others are not, and if you are not an expert, you may have a hard time choosing what ones are acceptable.
For this reason, it is always good to let a healthcare professional know if you are embarking on a weight-loss plan and to discuss the pros and cons with them. Marketdata Enterprise reported that in , 80 percent of dieters were using a self-directed program such as a book or Web site, so if this is what you are choosing, you are definitely not alone.
Examples of popular diet books that advocate weight-loss methods generally deemed by dietitians to be safe and reasonably effective include:. Like diet books, web-based diet programs come in many shapes and sizes. Some are free, some charge a fee. Some are nutritionally sound, some are not. A number of these programs are online versions of in-person programs www.
Most online sites offer simple tools like recipes, meal ideas, eating out tips, workouts and progress tracking. Forums or chat-style discussions, which allow users to connect with one another for tips and ideas, are commonly found at these sites. Like diet books, a self-directed web-based diet program may suit your needs if you are looking for flexible tools to help you manage your weight.
In addition, both diet books and web-based diet programs allow people to use regular grocery store food, which most people prefer. As the quality of the eating plans vary both in their nutrition and safety, especially for those with certain medical conditions, it is best to discuss the plan you have chosen to follow with a healthcare professional before you start.
Perhaps the most complex set of products targeting individuals seeking to lose weight are dietary supplements. While manufacturing of dietary supplements is regulated by the FDA, companies marketing products in this category do not have to seek pre-market approval.
This means that products do not have to undergo studies proving to the FDA that they are safe or effective before being sold. If you are considering using a dietary supplement for weight-loss, it is best to take a list of its ingredients to a healthcare professional or pharmacist to determine if the product is right for you.
Weight-loss results from dietary supplements are often difficult to measure as there are many supplements available that may or may not work in conjunction with another weight-loss strategy, such as exercise or changes in dietary restrictions. As with any weight-loss program, a one to two pound per week weight-loss is recommended for safety and health. Thus, it is not uncommon to see ads for dietary supplements claiming that you can lose weight rapidly without changing the way you eat, or without lifestyle changes.
The influence of celebrity promoters can contribute to the perception that a product may offer a miracle cure for obesity. In fact, good scientific evidence that they work is generally lacking. There are many different devices available and all come with a host of options, such as online tools, smartphone apps and more. This in turn allows them to make adjustments accordingly.
Body monitors are significantly more accurate than pedometers, which only measure steps taken and not the intensity of activities. Body monitoring devices alone will not result in weight-loss. These devices are meant to be used along with a weight-loss option.
The benefit of using a body monitor is that a wearer will get a good understanding of which of their activities burn calories best. The downside is that food logging can become tiring, and the ability of a body monitor to accurately calculate calories depends entirely on how well the wearer tracks their food consumption. In addition, not everyone wants to wear an armband or carry a device at all times. How does it work? It is the only FDA-approved weight-loss medication that is available OTC and available at a higher dose with a prescription.
It is a capsule that is usually taken three times per day before a meal that contains dietary fat. It works by decreasing the amount of fat your body absorbs. The average weight-loss is about 5 percent of your weight after one-year. In a person who weighs pounds, this would mean 10 pounds of weight-loss. It does not work well for people who are already on a low-fat diet since their calories from fat are already low.
Common side effects are cramps, gas, stool leakage, oily spotting and gas with discharge that improve with a lower fat diet. Utilizing a commercial weight-loss center or program is one of the most popular options for someone affected by obesity. Commercial weight-loss programs often provide various resources such as pre-packaged meals, support and more. Programs usually offer a 1, to 1, calorie-per-day diet plan which produces weight-loss of about pounds per week.
The slow-down of weight-loss is not unique to these approaches. It is true of any weight-loss program because as you begin to weight less, you burn fewer calories. Because commercial plans vary greatly, the FTC recommends asking the following questions before engaging in a program:.
In this section, we will examine some of the most popular commercial weight-loss programs by separating them into two different categories: Meal Replacements Meal replacement through pre-packaged meals can be appealing because of the convenience and ease of choices they offer.
However, when meals are pre-packaged, participants may not learn the basics of nutrition and healthy eating. Pre-packaged meals may also be expensive this claim is dependent on the normal weekly food cost an individual could incur. Liquid meal replacement plans, if used for too long, may be harmful because they can cause nutritional deficiencies. Unfortunately, when participants have not learned the principles of healthy eating and portion control, they often resume prior eating patterns.
Non-meal Replacements Some programs do not require meal replacement as part of their program. Their main goal is to teach you about healthy eating patterns, behavior modification and incorporating physical activity. While it is helpful long-term, behavior change does not happen overnight and can be a challenging adjustment at first. Overall, a safe and effective commercial program will offer educational materials that have been reviewed by a licensed healthcare professional.
These materials will include information on healthy eating plans, exercise and behavior therapy. Nutrisystem features portion-controlled foods and structured meal plans that are both high in protein and low in glycemic index GI. Low-GI means means that the foods do not cause your blood sugar to rise sharply. For people with diabetes, a low-GI diet can help keep blood glucose in control. Nutrisystem plans, tailored for men and women, encourage you to consume three meals and two or three snacks per day.
The plans offer about different pre-packaged to choose from. Foods are home-delivered, typically in shipments every four weeks, after you place an order online or over-the-phone. You have to purchase additional fruits, vegetables and dairy products on your own. These are grouped into three categories: Smartcarbs nutrient-rich, high-fiber carbohydrates , PowerFuels lean proteins and healthy fats and vegetables non-starchy ones which can be eaten freely.
A meal planner explains how and when to add these foods into your diet. The program has an active online community, including discussion boards and dietitian-led chats. Counseling, for those who want it, is available and included with most Nutrisystem programs. With the recommended fruits, vegetables and dairy products, this diet plan can be considered well-balanced.