Reporting Natalie Nyhus
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Each year, a slew of new diets make “too good to be true” claims about losing weight fast with minimal effort. However, some eating trends have real staying power.
Natalie Kane took a retrospective look at some of the top food fads of 2012, touching upon some of the best and worst diet trends.
Among the best trends is the move toward shunning refined sugar. The website Fitbi.com says the sweet stuff may very well be 2012′s public enemy number one.
Last year, researchers called for sugar to be regulated, a new law cut sugar consumption in school cafeterias, and billboards equated a serving of soda to 16 sugar packets.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, consuming refined sugar ups your risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and depression.
Chronically high blood sugar levels can also increase your risk of cancer of the urinary tract, womb, pancreas, skin, and breast by up to 26 percent. That’s according to researchers from the University of Umea in Sweden.
Another positive trend and popular buzzword last year: superfoods. It’s a title we used to only hear in relation to red wine and blueberries, but now superfood status has recently been bestowed upon countless fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts.
Their antioxidants are to thank. They fight aging and help the body run optimally.
It’s easier to add a healthy food to your diet than nix an unhealthy one. So if for example you resolve to drink more green tea, which is full of antioxidants, you’ll force some of that soda out of your glass without knowing it.
Another good diet trend is paying attention to fats that can be good for you, such as the kinds you’ll find in avocado, nuts and some fish. Studies showed that unsaturated fats could actually help you lose weight.
Among the diet trends the website suggested were the worst of 2012 was one tried by WCCO’s own Frank Vascellaro: the so-called “Caveman Diet.”
The hugely popular Paleo Diet is based on the theory that our bodies are optimized for eating the foods our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate: fruits, vegetables, and meat. The problem is that our lifestyles are no longer like that.
A spokeswoman from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says it’s not like our ancestors were hunting cows or chickens. They were hunting super-lean wild game, and most people today can’t go out and consume wild game all of the time.
Domesticated farm animals aren’t as lean as wild game, so diets heavy in their meats include more saturated fat than what is healthy.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietics says, to be sustainable, diet plans need to meet all of the body’s nutritional needs. And the “Caveman Diet” cuts out healthy foods like whole grains, dairy and legumes.
That said, Vascellaro did lose 20 pounds in his first month on the diet. His wife Amelia Santaniello later joined him on the diet and didn’t have as much success with it.
Another bad fad according to Fitbi: juice detoxes. The claim is that by replacing meals with fruit and vegetable juices, you will remove toxins from the body and lose weight.
But the body has its own detox system formed by your liver, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tract, which can cleanse the body better than any juice.
You’re also not meant to live on liquids alone. The usual result, according to Fitbi, is that you’ll drop a few pounds of water weight during the few days of the diet cleanse and then usually put it all back on after you’ve finished it.
Instead, feed your body nutrients and then trust your body to detox itself as designed. And knocking back a bottle of unprocessed fruit and vegetable juices can be a great way to hit your five-a-day recommendation.