By CHELSEA BUSH
September 2, 2011
These days there's a new diet almost weekly, and it's easy to find their glittering promises alluring. "People are sick of their oldhabits and being overweight, and they're looking for something new," says registered dietitian Jessica Crandall, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (ADA). But embark on a bad dietand you could pay a price beyond fleeting results. Some diets can cause a range of side effects, from bad breath and frequent urination, to fatigue and slowed metabolism.
That's why it's important tochoose your diet wisely. For a diet that's going to yield long-term, healthy results, steer clear of these attributes:
1. It's too restrictive. Diets are supposed to be restrictive, right? Well, yesand no. A healthy diet does entail some calorie cutting and self-discipline. But a diet that has too many rules spells trouble, Crandall says. "Extreme food restrictions are hallmark signs of aquick-fix plan," she says, adding that you shouldn't have to cut out your favorite foods completely—and doing so can intensify cravings. That's one reason diets that strictly limit food options, such asthe Atkins and food diets, tend to have higher drop-out rates than, say, the Mediterranean, whose general guidelines leave room for variety.
2. It bans whole food groups. Removing food groups—or worse,entire macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins)—can catch up with you quickly. These diets eliminate nutrients the body needs to function optimally. "The brain and muscles needcarbohydrates," says registered dietitian Andrea Giancoli, a nationally known nutrition expert and nutrition policy consultant for the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, which helps cities develop andadopt healthful food and beverage polices. That's why low-carb, high-protein diets often cause weakness, irritability and fuzzy-headedness, she explains. And short-term fasts and detox diets, like...