Modern Day Weight Loss Fads
This article was provided by a chiropractor at Lopez Health Center in Maple Grove, MN. If you'd like to learn more please visit https://www.lopezhealthcenter.com
In today’s society, it’s easy to get sucked into a new trend or fad. With Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and plenty of other social media platforms, people give us a glimpse into their lives and lifestyles while usually only showing what they want to show us versus their true reality. One thing that seems to stick around in these rapidly changing times of social media is diet fads. In 2019, there are dozens of diets that generalize what a person should do to lose weight and be healthy without considering the fact that each person is an individual with individual needs to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Simply from my own experiences, I have seen the Keto diet, Paleo diet, and the OMAD (One Meal A Day) diet talked about from people on social media and how great it’s working for them.
It’s important to have a healthy lifestyle, but there are easier ways than finding a fad diet and relying on it. There are two major factors that have proven to help people get back to being healthier: cutting your sugar intake and being active. In the United States, the average American consumes about 71 grams of sugar per day which is vastly different to the recommended amount of sugar per day (2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans). For most men, the recommended daily sugar intake is about 38 grams and for most women it is about 25 grams (American Heart Association). So, the average American is consuming about two to three times the amount of sugar on a daily basis than they should be. To put this into perspective, a 12-oz can of Coca Cola has 39 grams of sugar. As for exercise, the Mayo Clinic recommends doing at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day (210 minutes per week) which includes speed walking, light biking, mowing the lawn or other heavy cleaning activities around the house. If you’re trying to lose weight, the Mayo Clinic recommends about 300 minutes of moderate exercise per week (about 43 minutes per day).
There are a couple cases I want to speak about that we’ve seen from patients in our office. To keep the patient’s anonymous, we will be calling them Patient A and Patient B.
Patient A is a male in his mid-50s that was told by his MD that he needs to lose weight in order to avoid becoming diabetic. At the time of his appointment, he weighed 280 lbs, had high levels of bad cholesterol and high blood pressure. Patient A used to be active in sports but became much more sedentary as the years went on. He had a weakness and it was sugar. After every meal, he needed to follow it up with cookies, cake, ice cream, or chocolate. Usually, he would end up getting most of his calories from sweets and the Coke or juice he drank with his food than he would from lunch or dinner. After getting the news from his doctor that he needed to change his lifestyle, he took matters into his hands to be healthier. Without doing any specific diets, he ate more greens and vegetables, ate an apple or berries when he craved sugar, ate less carbs and ate more lean protein, drank water instead of soda or would dilute his juice to be 20% juice and 80% water, went on walks every day, played with his grandchildren more, and rode his bicycle more. After about 4 months, he was already down over 30 lbs and leading a much better lifestyle than he was even 6 months ago.
Patient B is a female in her mid-20s that simply wanted to have healthier eating habits without following a diet trend. She was sedentary due to having an office job and being a student, and had more sugar than she should have on a daily basis, similarly to Patient A. As she saw her weight steadily increasing, she wanted to act before it became harder for her to lose the weight. In order for her to not end up biting off more than she could chew, she started off by just decreasing her sugar and carb intake. She used a free app on her phone that allowed her to enter in and track foods she ate that day and break down where her calories were coming from, whether they were carbs, sugar, fat, or protein. She’s been able to lose weight not by completely changing her diet and following a one-size-fits-all diet, but simply by making smarter choices. For example, she said one of the other ways she has cut down on calories is by reducing her alcohol intake to only once or twice a week and instead of drinking hard ciders—which is what she used to drink—she now drinks hard seltzer waters like Truly or Whiteclaw. A typical hard cider has between 17 to 23 grams of sugar per serving while a hard seltzer water has between 1 to 2 grams of sugar. The patient has also become more active by joining a gym and going 3 to 4 times a week, playing tennis and basketball more frequently, and riding her bicycle. She has already seen results and continues to follow these steps to keep the weight off.
There are plenty of ways to lose weight and become a healthier person without changing your entire life. While you may see people losing weight on the Keto diet or others, they’re not always catered to your specific needs. It is always wise to consult with your doctor about nutrition and what you need to do to get back to a healthy lifestyle and once you realize that it’s doable, everything starts to fall into place.
2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans:
American Heart Association: