Dispelling myths about diets

March 18, 2004, midnight | By Lauren DalBello | 17 years, 3 months ago

Nowadays, health is a concern for a rising number of people. New diets are being produced and put on the market, attracting many people looking for better ways to cut weight. High-protein diets. Low-fat diets. No-pasta diets. All-vegetable diets. Even grapefruit diets. Often, figuring out which one is right for you is a difficult task.

People diet for various reasons. Some people are an unhealthy weight and need to pay attention to their eating habits. Some play sports and want to be in top physical condition. Others may feel they would look and feel better if they lost a few pounds. Whichever the case, it is very important to keep in mind that not all diets are safe and healthy.

Dieting dos and don'ts

As a teenager, dieting can be dangerous due to a lack of the right kinds and amounts of nutrients, which can lead to poor growth and other health problems, according to kidshealth.org.

Any diet on which you eat fewer calories than your body needs to get through the day is unhealthy. Reduced calorie diets are okay as long as you eat no fewer than 1100 calories daily, says nutritionist Joanne Ocasio.
A low-fat diet may be alright, but going completely fat-free can be detrimental to your health. Each day, fat should take up about 30 percent of your total calorie intake, Ocasio explains.

Any diet that restricts certain food groups in the food pyramid or cuts them out entirely is one to stay away from. For example, the Atkins Diet and other similar diets are based on high protein intake and
reduced carbohydrate intake.

Ocasio explains that "because they are not following the pyramid, there are vital vitamins and nutrients that are being left out" of your diet. You may lose weight by cutting out foods but you will most likely regain it when you resume your regular eating habits.

Follow the pyramid

Ocasio has some tips for the health-conscious teen: Follow the food pyramid, eat everything in moderation and exercise—at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise, four times a week. Weight training three to four times a week is also important for maintaining healthy bodies, she says.

The main thing Ocasio stresses is, "follow the pyramid, then you will get exactly what you need."

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Lauren DalBello. Not be confused with Eva Cassidy, Lauren DalBello likes having fun. She can most often be seen smiling. She is excited about Switzerland next year, but she will also miss everything from her little hometown better known as Takoma Park. More »

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