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Sometimes it seems the whole world’s gone Atkins. From fast-food restaurants to high-class cuisine, everyone’s following the low-carb craze.
But is it right for you?
“Changing eating habits is what makes a difference in the long run,” says Katherine Tallmadge, author of Diet Simple and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. “I think the mistake people make is looking for a diet to follow and a magic bullet that’s going to solve all their problems.”
The attraction of low-carb and other popular diets is the promise to lose weight fast, particularly spot-specific weight loss in areas like the abdomen. Those goals and promises are rarely realistic, and often not healthy.
“I personally try to keep people away from doing low-carb diets,” says Michael Everts of FIT Personal Training. “While they tend to see dramatic changes, it’s a quick short-term weight loss, but people tend to fall off that and your weight kicks back up.
“It’s detrimental because you learn nothing about proper nutrition.”
The key is to set realistic expectations for your weight loss and put together a balanced diet that focuses on nutrition over fads. Talk with a nutritionist or your physician to find out what works best for you and your goals.
“Everything being equal, five to ten pounds of weight loss a month is a safe, realistic expectation for a healthy individual, with exercise and nutrition,” says Jeffrey Hollebrandt of bodybody Fitness and Health.
“People make nutrition complicated,” he says. “It isn’t.”