- Does the diet promote rapid weight loss? That's a sure sign that it's unrealistic. If you lose more than one or two pounds a week, you'll be losing muscle mass, which is not healthy. Stick with a diet where you lose weight gradually.
- Does the diet involve eating only one food or eliminating whole food groups? Again, not healthy and not realistic because you won't be able to stay on the diet.
- Does the diet help you change long-term eating habits? If it doesn't, you may lose weight but you'll gain it back. That's called "yo-yo" dieting. People who stay slim change both their eating habits and their attitudes about food.
- The next question that'll help you spot a quack diet: Does it involve exercise? If it doesn't, you'll gain the weight back. Moderate exercise is the only way to keep the pounds off.
- Are supplements, creams, or patches involved? Any of the above, forget it. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. If it were as easy as popping a pill, we wouldn't have so many overweight people.
So what's the bottom line? There are healthy diets that'll help you lose weight. Just be sure to do the research and use common sense.