Extention Notes

Posted February 26, 2013 at 6:53 pm


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Weight loss diets

Source: Jackie Walters,

UK Extension Specialist, Nutrition Education Program

The holidays have passed, a new year has begun, and swim suit season is just around the corner. With weight loss aspirations come questions about the newest diets and best ways to lose weight in time for spring weddings or summer vacation. The number of fad diets and quick trick weight loss schemes circulating on the internet, television and in magazines is enough to boggle the mind. While some of these diet approaches may help an individual lose weight, they do not necessarily leave the person well-nourished and healthier. How does one recognize a fad diet? Remember the acronym fad diets:

Foods with Super Powers

Foods with super powers promise that the consumption of a certain food or group of foods will help burn calories.

The problem: No known food burns calories. The only way to burn calories is through physical activity or body processes.

Anything You Want to Eat Except…

These diets allow an individual to eat as much as they want of all their favorite foods but require them to cut out a certain food group. An example of this would be the diet that allows a person to eat everything except carbohydrates. Some diets also do the opposite of this, requiring dieters to cut out all foods except one specific food group. An example of this is a diet which restricts someone to eating only fruit.

The problem: These types of diet changes can leave an individual deficient in specific nutrients.

Dieting again!

These are the diets that an individual finds themselves restarting every few months because they have regained the weight they lost.

The problem: Fad diets are well known for quick weight loss that is very hard to maintain because of the low number of calories allowed per day and boredom associated with very limited food choices.

Disease States Not Addressed

Most fad diets do not take into account the needs and limitations of those suffering from chronic diseases, such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

The problem: Chronic diseases can be profoundly affected by diets that alter nutrients such as fat, sodium and carbohydrates. For example, some diets promote consumption of prepared meals or supplements which may be high in sodium. This could cause serious problems for a dieter with high blood pressure. Diets which severely limit or eliminate carbohydrates would interfere with a diabetic’s ability to regulate their blood glucose.

Inflexible Menu

Some diets set strict guidelines for certain foods that must be eaten at specific times throughout the day.

The problem: These diets can only be maintained for a short time, as most people’s work and social schedules do not permit such rigid eating plans.

Exercise Is Optional

Many diets promise that weight loss can be achieved by making a few easy adjustments in diet or taking a particular supplement.

The problem: In order to lose weight, calories used must exceed calories eaten. Physical activity uses up calories, promoting weight loss. It also speeds up metabolism, so that the body processes more calories. Other benefits of physical activity include regulation of cholesterol, blood pressure and blood glucose, toning of muscles, and stress reduction.

Too Good to Be True

If a diet seems too good to be true, it probably is.

The problem: Before and after weight loss pictures in advertisements most likely are not representative of most dieters’ results. Even if the pictures are accurate representations of an individual using that diet, it is impossible to know if the weight loss was sustained. A diet which achieves rapid loss of large amounts of weight most likely does not supply the nutrients needed for good health and will be difficult to maintain.

Speedy Weight Loss

These diets promise incredible results in a matter of a few weeks.

The problem: Weight loss in excess of two pounds per week is difficult to maintain. Very low calorie diets can be dangerous and should only be attempted when prescribed and monitored by a physician to address urgent health concerns.

Although the promises of fad diets can be enticing, the safest and most effective way to lose weight and maintain weight loss is through a balanced diet and physical activity. Visit www.ChooseMyPlate.gov to determine an eating pattern that is best for your gender, age and activity level. An individual can lose one pound per week by using 500 more calories per day than he eats. Thus, weight loss may be achieved by eating fewer calories, burning more calories, or using a combination of both approaches. Simple lifestyle changes, sustained over time, allow for gradual loss of weight and improved health that is easy to maintain for years to come.

Big Blue Shape Up

It’s that time again! Big Blue Shape Up will kick off on March 14th. Mark your calendars now! More details will be coming soon. Call the Extension Office at 387-5404 if you have any questions.

For more information on health and wellness, contact the Clinton County Cooperative Extension Service.

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin.

New County Extension Agent Welcome Event

Please join us for a Welcome Celebration honoring Colby Guffey our new County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources on March 7th from 3:00-6:00 p.m. at the Clinton County Extension Office. Formal Remarks by District 5 Director Anna Smith and others at 5:00 p.m. Drop in as your schedule allows to meet Colby and learn about his plans for enhancing agriculture in our community. For more information, contact the Clinton County Extension Office at (606) 387-5404.

4-H Camp Applications

Save the Date! 2013 4-H Camp is May 27th-May 31st. Camp fee is $175.00 per camper. Spaces are VERY limited for 4-H Camp this year. Sign up is first come/first serve. $75 deposit and ALL completed paperwork is required before a camper is officially on the camp list. Applications will be available beginning February 15th. For more information, contact the Extension Office at 387-5404.

Nutrition Education Classes

Nutrition Education Classes are being offered at the Clinton County Cooperative Extension Office on Tuesday of each week at 10:00 am. All classes are offered free of charge and are open to the public. If transportation is an issue, please call to discuss more options. For more information, contact Stacy Smith at 606-387-5404.