Every year some new fad diet takes the nation by storm, and patients come to my clinic in Whitefish, Montana to ask whether they should be going low-fat, drinking Hollywood juice, or eating soy cookies.
Maybe you’ve tried one of those diets – and, like most folks, you probably learned they weren’t the miracle solutions they promised to be.
The latest fad that doesn’t live up to the hype is ultra-low-calorie dieting. I’m not talking about a healthy decision to eat a little less, but an extreme lifestyle involving a severe reduction in your caloric intake.
These things are always made worse when half-baked studies tout the supposed benefits of these diets while ignoring problems as big and obvious as an approaching tornado.
A recent study out of Germany found that people who reduced their caloric intake by 30 percent – and there are some diets that call for an even greater reduction than that -- gained a 20 percent boost in memory after three months.
That might even be true. But it’s not the whole story.
You see, many conditions -- like inflammation and allergic reactions, which can cause autoimmune disorders that may affect your brain -- can be triggered by food. So, sure, if you’re not eating as much, you’re not exposing yourself to those allergens as frequently, and you might benefit in some ways over a short period of time.
For example, three months.
In other words, just long enough to support someone’s idea of a study. Longer term, you’re setting yourself up for some real problems – if you’re even able to stick to such a restrictive diet.
If you’re looking to improve your memory, there are natural, healthy and much less restrictive ways of doing so.
And if you’re looking to lose some weight or just eat a little better, you don’t need to follow a crazy fad diet. Just eat balanced meals, and enjoy your food in moderation. Make sure your diet includes a good mix of healthy fats, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. And eat fresh food, and organic food, as much as possible.
A good diet will allow you to eat enough calories so you’re rarely hungry, but not so much that you’re stuffing yourself at every meal.
Tack on a little exercise each day and I don't care what the latest diet trend is – you’ll be in good shape, and you’ll be more likely to stay that way.