High-protein diets. Low-fat diets. Vegetarian diets. No-carb diets. With all the focus on dieting, how do you figure out what's healthy and what isn't?
People diet for many reasons. Some are at an unhealthy weight and want to pay closer attention to their eating and exercise habits. Some play sports and want to be in top physical condition. Others may think they would look and feel better if they lost a few pounds.
Lots of people feel pressured to lose weight and try different types of diets. But if you really need to lose weight, focusing on healthy habits — like eating more fruits and veggies, cutting back on treats, and exercising — will help you more than any fad diet.
Can Diets Be Unhealthy?
Everyone needs enough calories to keep their bodies running well. Any diet that drastically cuts calories or doesn’t provide enough important nutrients can be harmful. Extreme low-fat diets can be bad for you. Everyone needs some fat in their diet, so no one should eat a completely fat-free diet. About 30% of total calories should come from fat.
Don't fall for diets that cut out food groups, either. A diet that says no carbs — like bread or pasta — or tells you to eat only fruit is unhealthy. You won't get the nutrients you need. Even if you lose weight at first, these diets are hard to stick with and don't usually work in the long run.
How Can I Lose Weight Safely?
Eating healthy meals and snacks and exercising can help you lose weight and support normal growth. Regular exercise can help teens feel healthier and better about themselves.
The best way to diet is to eat a variety of healthy food in the right amount. Choose more fruits and veggies, whole grains, and lean protein, and drink water instead of sugary drinks like soda, juice, and sports drinks. Cut back on fried foods, sweets, chips, and other junk food.
If you're concerned about your weight or think you need to lose weight, talk with your doctor or a registered dietitian.
If you are ready to make changes, here are some tried-and-true tips:
Drink low-fat milk and water instead of sugary drinks.