Fad Diets: Revisiting Fad Diets of the Past (cont.)

"They are not practical, reasonable and clearly, they are not healthy," she tells WebMD.

Today's new breed of diets -- including the Atkins diet, the South Beach diet, and Dr. Phil's Ultimate Weight Loss Solution -- "are not starvation diets like fad diets of past, but the reality is that these diets are hard to stick to, some are unhealthy, and some are very expensive to follow," she says.

"You can gain or lose weight eating anything," she says. "You can gain weight eating healthy foods and lose weight eating hot dogs, but we would like to see you eat healthfully to reach a healthy weight," she says. Eating too many unhealthy foods will increase risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

"What you eat is as important as how much you are eating." Heller says.

So are fad diets passe?

"I think we all would like a quick fix and a quick, easy way to lose weight without work. So if someone comes up with a new angle, it could be a flash in the pan of popularity," Heller says.

SOURCES: Ann Kulze. MD, wellness expert, Charleston, S.C.; and author, Dr. Ann's 10-Step Diet: A Simple Plan for Permanent Weight Loss and Lifelong Vitality. Geri Brewster, RD, MPH, nutritionist in New York City and Westchester, N.Y.; and former director, Nutrition at the Atkins Center for Complementary Medicine. Samantha Heller, RD, senior clinical nutritionist, New York University Medical Center, New York City.

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Last Editorial Review: 1/31/2005 8:38:10 AM