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Maggie Jover: How to spot the signs of a fad diet

Every so often there’s a new “miracle” diet, and each time you can’t help but wonder: Is this the weight-loss diet that will finally work, once and for all?

There are weight-loss programs that use the “small steps” approach that work, but there are many more fads out there that will help you lose weight quickly or perhaps make you sick, and then to your dismay, the weight returns in a few weeks.

In the long run, you will be healthier, thinner and less frustrated if you follow a well-balanced food plan — and you can design one using the website.

According to the Wheat Foods Council, fad diets can be deceiving as they are often described in a book written with or by an expert with a Ph.D., or a doctor who is an M.D. There may be a list of scientific references that seem to back up the claims; however, no one ever checks carefully to make sure they are true. And many people, including friends and family, seem to be following the diet and having great results.

Here are some clues that a diet is a fad rather than a recommended approach for permanent weight loss:

* It sounds too good or easy to be true.

* It promises rapid weight loss (5 to 10 pounds in a week) or “miracle cures.”

* The diet allows only certain foods or food groups, cutting out others.

* It promotes a product, special herb, vitamin or other compound.

* It can only be “followed” temporarily but is not supervised by a doctor.

* You imagine it would be hard or difficult to follow the diet forever.

* The diet doesn’t recommend a form of exercise or says that it’s unnecessary.

* It warns that one food or food group will make you seriously ill or worse.

* It makes recommendations based on published science that are not endorsed by credible organizations or peer reviewed by other scientists.

* It cites research that is preliminary, based on animals or has very few subjects.

To help you be a more healthy person, attend the Power of a Healthy Woman conference on March 2 at Texas Woman’s University. The conference will provide information on topics to help you maintain your health.

To find out more about the conference, go to

MAGGIE JOVER is the family and consumer sciences county extension agent with Texas AgriLife Extension. She can be reached at 940-349-2882.