Search this site
Article Listings
Active Living
Full Listing with story descriptions
A Healthy Balance
Ankle Sprains
Active Kids, Healthy Kids
Active Kids in Winter
Athletic Skin Infections
Children, Nutrition and Exercise
Beat the Heat!
Cold Comfort
Cold Weather Workouts
Concussion in Sport
Core Stability
Cross Country Skiing
Exercise and Disabilities
Exercise and Menstrual Irregularities
Exercise in the Heat
Exercise is Medicine
Exercise Options
Exercising in Pregnancy
Exercising in Pregnancy
Female Athletes
FITT Prescription
Footwear for Running
From Surviving to Thriving
Gadgets and Gizmos
Get Moving!
Get Motivated
Golf Exercises
Golf Injury Prevention
Head Injuries
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Hockey Injuries
Home Gyms
Jump Start Weight Loss
Knee Cap Pain
Knee Ligament Injuries
Live Actively
Low Back Pain
Osteoporosis and Exercise
Osteoarthritis of the Knee
Plantar Fasciitis
Prehistoric Workout
Recreational Safety Equipment
Safe Snow Shovelling
Shin Splints
Ski Conditioning
Sore Elbow
Sore Shoulder
Spinal Cord Injuries
Staying Active
Staying Fit in the Cold
Sports Nutrition and Supplements
Strength Training
Swimming Injuries
Teen Sports Injuries
Water and Exercise
Weight Training
7 Wonders of Walking
Adolescent Health
Full Listing with story descriptions
Adolescent Behaviour Problems
Adolescent Growth and Development
Body Image
Body Piercing
Chronic Diseases in Teens
Communications Skills
Concussion in Sport
Cosmetics and Skincare
Dangers of Artificial Tanning
Depression - Causes
Drug Use
Female Physical Exam
First Period
Internet Safety
Junior High
Mentoring to Quit Smoking
Parent-Teen Communication
Parent -Teen Interaction Patterns
Personal Care
Psychological Assessment
School Problems
Self Esteem
Self Esteem and Body Image
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Talking About Sex
Taking Chances
Teaching Respect
Teens and Smoking
Teenage Blues
Teen Bedwetting
Teen Drivers
Teen Girls
Teen Health
Teen Immunization
Teen Independence
Teen Rebellion
Teens and Divorce
Teenagers and Sexual Issues
Teens and Exercise
Water and Exercise
A Woman's Physical
Your First Job
Youth Violence
Ask the Doctor
Aspirin Every Day?
Cost of Doctor's Visit
Does My Sore Knee Require an MRI?
Do I Need a Bone Density Test?
Do I Need an Annual Physical?
My Doctor Says I Need a Test
My Doctor Diagnosed Osteoarthritis
Restore Your Core
Should I Exercise During pregnancy?
Vaccination Controversies
Full Listing with story descriptions
Advice from the Maternity Clinic
Advice from the Maternity Clinic (Part 2)
Alcohol in Pregnancy
Building a Better Baby
Birthing Etiquette
Birth Plans
Birthing Procedure Trends
Bleeding in Pregnancy
Blood Pressure
Breastfeeding Benefits
Caesarean Section by Request
Care for the New Mother
Cord Blood Banking
Delaying Motherhood
Blue after Baby or Postpartum Depression
Diabetes in Pregnancy
Eating Well for Pregnancy
Evolving Ideas about Pregnancy and Birth
Exercise in Pregnancy
Is it Safe to Exercise During Pregnancy
Fetal Alcohol
Flying During Pregnancy
Folic Acid in Pregnancy
High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy
Getting a latch on breastfeeding
Group B Streptococcus
Induction of Labour
Infections During Pregnancy
Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR)
In-Vitro Fertilization
Low Birth Weight Babies
Maternity and parental leave
Medication and Pregnancy
Managing Your Own Labour
Monitoring Your Labour
Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy
Pain Relief in Labour
Prenatal Classes
Preterm Labour
Planning a Pregnancy
Prenatal Care Providers
Postpartum Repetitive Strain Injuries
RH Disease
Rupture of Membranes Before Labour
Sex During Pregnancy
Skin Changes in Pregnancy
Smoking and Pregnancy
Support During Labour
Travelling While Pregnant
Ultrasound for Fun and Photos
Natural Remedies in Pregnancy
Pregnancy Weight Gain
Vaccinations During Pregnancy
Vacuum and Forceps for Delivery
Vaginal Birth After Caesarean
When Baby Comes Home
Full Listing with story descriptions
Asthma in Children
Attention Deficit Disorder
Bedtime Battles
Bed Wetting
Childcare Options
Children's Headaches
Childhood Obesity
Choosing A Babysitter
Colds and Flu
Common Childhood Skin Infections
Developmental Milestones
Diaper Rash
Daytime Wetting
Developmental Co-ordination Disorder
Feeding Your Baby
Feeding Your Toddler
Head Lice
How Children Grow
Hearing Loss
Hearing Issues in Newborns
Heart Murmers
Hip Clicks
Is it an Emergency?
Children and Sports Injuries
Lazy Eye (Amblyopia)
Learning Disabilities
Leg Problems
Preparing for Lab Tests
Red Rashes
RSV-Childhood Respiratory Virus
Safe Summer Fun
Sick Toddler
Sleep Struggles
Sniffles, Fevers, Rashes and Coughs
Introducing Solid Foods
Sore Throats
Speech Problems
Strep Throat
Toddler Safety
Tooth Injuries
Travelling with Children
Urinary Tract Infections
Vaccination and Autism
When to go to the Doctor
Whooping Cough
Worried Sick
Yeast Infections in Children
Chronic Pain
Full Listing with story descriptions
Managing Your Pain
Movement Matters
Moving Forward
Pain Medications
Returning to Work
Understanding and Goal Setting
When Pain Doesn't End
Dental Health
Full Listing with story descriptions
Antibiotics and Dental Surgery
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby Teeth
Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Children's Dental Injuries
Choosing a Dentist
Cosmetic Dentistry
Mouth Guards
Dental Exam
Dental Care Devices
Dental Caries
Dental Implants
Dental X-Rays
Dentures and Healthy Jaw
Esthetic Dentistry
Fluoride Findings
First Dental Visit
A Healthy Mouth
Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body
Jaw Joint and Muscle Problems
Keeping it Clean
Laser Use in Dentistry
Oral Cancer Screening
Oral health and long term care
Oral Health Care Products
Orthodontist First Visit
Painless Dentistry
Periodontal Disease
Removable Dentures
Root Canal
Seniors Oral Care
Sensitive Teeth
Sore Mouth, Aching Jaw
Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Teeth for Life
Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)
Tobacco Risks to Oral Health
Tongue Piercing
Tooth Whitening
Travel Dentistry
Water Fluoridation
Wisdom Teeth
Your Healthy Smile
Full Listing with story descriptions
10,000 Steps
A1C Test
A Diabetes Success Story
ABCs of Diabetes Management
Alternate Site Testing
Artery Health
ASA Therapy
Benefits of Insulin
Benefits of Breakfast
Blood Glucose Medications
Blood Glucose Myths
Blood Glucose Testing
Blood Sugar Lows
Blood Glucose Monitors
C-Peptide Testing
Canada Food Guide Revisited
Carbohydrate Counting
Catastrophic Drug Plan
CDA Guidelines for Diabetes
Celiac Disease and Diabetes
Celebrating Health
Childhood Diagnosis of Diabetes
Children and Type 2 Diabetes
Cholesterol-lowering Medications
Colds and Diabetes
Continuous Blood Glucose Monitoring
Cutting Edge
Dangers of Uncontrolled High Blood Pressure
Driving and Diabetes
Diabetes and Menopause
Diabetes Care Team
Diabetes and Depression
Diabetes Distress
Diabetes Eating on a Shoestring Budget
Diabetes Etiquette
Diabetes and Oral Health
Diabetes and Thyroid Disease
Diabetes and Your Mouth
Diabetes and Your Eyes
Diabetes in Cats
Diabetes in Dogs
Diabetes Management ABCs
Diabetes Meter Technicians
Diabetes Myths
Diabetic Ketoacidosis
Diabetic Retinopathy
Diet Tips for South Asians
Dining Out with Diabetes
Drinking and Diabetes
Eating Disorders
Easing the Strain of Stress
Eating Mindfully
Eating to Protect Your Kidneys
Eating Well During Shift Work
Eggs in a Diabetic Diet
Emotional Eating
Emotions of Diabetes Diagnosis
Erectile Dysfunction
Exercise Excuses
Why Fad Diets Fail
Fill Your Day with Energy
Diabetic Retinopathy
Food Temptation
Foot Care
Foot Health
Footwear and Foot Health
Fruits and Veggies
Gestational Diabetes
Get Active
Get Physical
Gift Ideas
Glucose Meters
Glycemic Index and Glycemic Loads
The Glycemic Index
Going Green in the Kitchen
Going Home from the Hospital
Grocery Shopping Tips
Holiday Party Survival Guide
Health Information on the 'Net
Healthy Happy Holidays
Healthy Beverage Choices
Health Benefits of Soy
Healthy Restaurant Meals
High Blood Pressure and Diabetes
High Blood Pressure
HbA1c Test
Healthy Eating for Active People
High Blood Lipids
Home from the Hospital
Home Alone and Sick
Hypoglycemic Unawareness
Impaired Glucose Tolerance
Immunization and Diabetes
Incretins-a Hormone Treatment
Injecting Insulin
Insulin Discovery-The Story
Insulin Handling
Insulin - the Key to Energy Management
Insulin Pumps
Insulin Pen Needles
Insulin Pump Infusion Sets
Insulin Pump Therapy
Immunization and Diabetes
Internet Health Sites
Islet Cell Transplantation
Kidney Disease - Reducing the Risk
Living Powerfully with Diabetes
Low Blood Glucose
Managing Diabetes
Managing Blood Glucose
Mental Health and Diabetes
Nutrition Food Labels
Meal Planning
Your Medication Expert
Medication Research Studies
Metabolic Syndrome
New Diabetes Technologies
Natural Medicines and Diabetes
No Need for Insulin?
Not Snoozing
Oral Health and Diabetes
Osteoporosis and Diabetes
Diabetes and OTC Medications
Pedicure Precautions
Pain of Walking - Peripheral Arterial Disease
Pet Diabetes
Planning for Pregnancy
Prebiotics and Probiotics
Preparing for Activity
Putting off Insulin
Reducing Stress of Surgery
Safe and Successful Travel
Schizophrenia and Diabetes
Setting Health Goals
Setting Goals for Physical Activity
Sharps Disposal
Shorter Insulin Needles
Sleep - a Missing Link
Smart Snacking
Smart Summer Nutrition
Snack Bars
Snacking with Diabetes
Social Media and Diabetes
Stress and Diabetes
Success in School
Supporting Spouse with Diabetes
Sugar, Carbs and Blood Glucose Control
Think Positive with Diabetes
Tiny Bites Equal Big Calories
Travelling with Diabetes
Tips for a Better You
Tobacco Use and Diabetes
Top 10 Reasons to Exercise
Treating Low Blood Glucose
Treating Hypoglycemia - Role of Glucagon
Tune up Your Diet
Type 1.5 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes
Understanding Diabetes
Understanding Diabetes Medications
Urinary Incontinence
Vacationing with Diabetes
Vegetarian Eating for Diabetes
Vitamin D
Wonderful Water
World Diabetes Day
Working Toward a Cure
Your Medicine Cupboard
Zimbabwe Hand Jive
Family Medicine
Full Listing with story descriptions
ADHD in Children
Allergic Rhinitis
Antibiotic Use
Aspirin Every Day?
Back Pain
Back Pain Myths
Back Pain - Lower
Birth Control
Bladder Problems
Blood Transfusions
Breaast and Prostate Cancer Screening
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Colon Cancer Screening
Contact Lenses
Diabetes Management
Diagnostic Tests
Doctor Visit
Driving Vision
Dealing with Dry Eyes
Electronic Medical Records
Eye Exam
Family Doctor
Floaters and Flashes
Food Poisoning
5 Ways to Stay Healthy
Get Active!
Healthcare Teams
Heart Health
Hepatitis C
Human Papilloma Virus
High Blood Pressure
How to Talk to Your Doctor
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Joint Replacement Surgery
Kidney Disease
Lazy Eye Blindness (Amblyopia)
Medical Digital Technology
Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Myeloma
Opioid Myths
Primary Healthcare Reform
Prostate Problems
Quitting Smoking
Red Eyes
Respiratory Tract Infections
Screening Tests
Special Diagnostic Tests
Sports Eye Injuries
Stopping Stroke
Urine Tests
Win by Losing
Urinary Incontinence
Urinary Tract Infections
Vision Flickers
First Aid
Full Listing with story descriptions
Bites and Stings
Cuts and Scrapes
Emergency Care Guidelines
Eye Injuries
Fainting and Convulsions
First Aid Travel Kit
Hypothermia and Frostbite
Poisoning - Household
Growing Older
Full Listing with story descriptions
Advance Care Plans
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Alzheimer Disease
Avoiding Memory Loss
Building Strength
Caring for the Caregiver
Can I see Well Enough to Drive?
Congestive Heart Failure
Coping with Dementia
Controlling Medications
Diagnosing Dementia
Dementia and Agitation
Dizziness (Vertigo)
Eating Well
Elder Abuse
Exercise Benefits
Erectile Dysfunction
Eye Care
Eyesight and Driving
Fungal Nail Infections
Get Active!
Have Health, Will Travel
Health Tips for Seniors
Joint Replacement
Lab Tests
Living Longer With Diabetes
Macular Degeneration
Male Menopause (Andropause)
Maintaining Quality of Life as You Age
Memory Loss
New Corneal Treatments
Nutrition for Seniors
Parkinson Disease
Problem Gambling
Prostate Health
Seniors and Medications
Senior Sexuality
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Screening Tests
Seniors and Driving
Skin Structure
Skin Protection
Skin Over 50
Solving Sleep Issues
Staying Healthy
Stroke Prevention
Travel Tips for Snowbirds
Wills and Personal Directives
Modern Living
Full Listing with story descriptions
Adult ADHD
Aging and Memory
Alcohol and Your Health
Anger Management
Barbecue Basics
Bathtub Safety
Binge Drinking
Bisphenol A
Canada's New Blood System
Caring for a Loved One Dying at Home
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Computer Stress
Coping With Change
Cosmetic Surgery
Cosmetic Pesticides
Diabetes Epidemic
Diseases from Pets
Dying at Home
Erectile Dysfunction New Treatments
Exotic Travel
Fertility Issues
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
Foodborne Illness
Flu Pandemic
Healing Through Music
Healthy Computing
Ice Safety
Indoor Air Quality
Mature Student
Melamine in Food
Middle Age Health
Mind-Body Connection
Mom Time
Money Matters
Outdoor Workers and Sun Safety
Patient Safety in the Hospital
Pets and Health Benefits
Pet Therapy
Physiotherapy Visit
Planning for End of LIfe
Reproductive Freedom
Safe Drinking Water
Smokeless Tobacco
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Stigma of Mental Illness
Street Drugs
Stressed or Depressed?
Stress in the Workplace
Stress Leave
Swim to Survive
Time Management
Travel Health Protection
Travel Comfort Tips
Travel Immunization
Understanding Change
Wind Chill Index
Workplace Drug Testing
Workplace Health
Full Listing with story descriptions
5 Myths about Nutrition and Diabetes
5 Tips to Manage Weight
10 Ways to Cut Down on Fat
Battle the Bulge
Boost Your Bone Strength
Body Image
Breakfast is Important
Bowel Health
Building Your Bones
Celiac Disease
Challenging the Milk Myth
Diet Reality Check
Drink Up!
Eating Smarter and Cheaper
Energy Drinks
Food Allergies
Food for Active Kids
Fast Food
Food Labels
Giving Up Gluten
Healthy Diet, Healthy Smile
Healthy Eating for Boomers and Zoomers
Healthy Eating for Seniors
Healthy Eating on Business Travel
Healthy Ethnic Meals
Fad Diets
Fruits and Veggies - 5-10 a Day
Fat Phobias
Fats and Cholesterol
Feeding Your Kids
Food Chemistry 101
Food and Mood
Getting Kids to MOVE
Healthy Eating for Teens
Healthy Habits
Herbal Medicine and Nutrition
New Ingredients for Your Shopping Cart
Kid's Food
Liquid Candy
Meal Planning with Planned Overs
Meal Planning for Busy Families
Mercury Levels in Fish
Night Snacking
Night Shift Eating
Nutrition on the Net
Nutrition Myths Busted
Nutrition Questions Top 5
Nutrition for Menopause
Essential Omega-3
Preventing Cancer Through Nutrition
Picky Eaters
Power of Fruits and Veggies
Portion Control
Power Lunch
PMS and Nutrition
Preparing for Surgery
Reducing High Blood Pressure
Replacement Meals
Sensible Snacking
Sodium and Blood Pressure
Sports-Minded Nutrition
Sugar Substitutes
Survive and Thrive
Teen Nutrition
Tips for a SuperDiet
Understanding Food Biotechnology
Vacation Eating
Vitamins D
Vitamins and Minerals
Vegetarian Diet
Weight Loss Wisdom
Weight Loss
Weight Wise Tips
Pharmacy Care
Full Listing with story descriptions
After a Heart Attack
Adverse Drug Reactions
Adult Vaccinations
Allergy Attack
Antibiotic Overuse
New Anticoagulant Medications
Inhaled Asthma medications
Arthritis Medications
Biological Response Modifiers
Blood Pressure Monitoring
Blood Thinners
Calcium and Iron Supplements
Changing Role of the Pharmacist
Children's Cold Remedies
Child's Fever
Choosing Sunscreens
Cold Relief
Cold Sores
Constipation and Haemorrhoids
Diuretics and Potassium Supplements
Drug Recalls and Withdrawals
Drug Interactions
Emergency Contraception
Erectile Dysfunction
Expanding Role of Pharmacies
Eye Protection - Sunglasses
Feminine Hygiene
Generic or Name Brand?
Heart Health
Kids and Cold Medications
Medication Questions?
Metabolic Syndrome
Natural Medicines
New Blood Thinners
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Obesity Medication
Over-the-Counter Drugs
Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers
Over-the-Counter Drugs and Pregnancy
OTC Pain Relief
Packing Medications for Travel
Pharmaceutical Studies
Preventing Summer Hazards
Research Studies
Quit Smoking
Skin and Cosmeceuticals
Sports and Nutrition Supplements
Taking Medication
Take as Directed
Using Antibiotics Wisely
Vitamin D
Yeast Infections
Your Best Shot
Your Medicine Cupboard
Full Listing with story descriptions
Accident Prevention
Antibiotic Resistance
Backpack Pain
Bacteria Fight Back
Disaster Planning
Diseases from Pets
Cell Phones and Driving
Childhood Obesity
Cancer Prevention Tips
Chronic Disease Prevention
Cold and Flu Season
Disaster Planning
Diseases from Pets
Distracted Driving
Farm Safety for City Kids
Foodborne Illness
Flu Pandemic
The Flu and You
Heading Home for a Visit
Health Tips for Snowbirds
Hearing Loss and Music Players
H1N1 Virus - Plan Ahead
Household Mould
Infection Control
Injury Prevention
Live Actively!
Insect Repellant
Keys to Preventing Cancer
Kids' Mental Health
Live Actively!
Low Birth Weight
Are Pesticides Safe?
Preventing Burns and Scalds
Preventing Cancer through Nutrition
Quit Smoking 101
Respiratory Infections
Seniors and STIs
Should You Immunize?
Sun Safety
Surviving Disaster
Sushi Preparation
Teens, Drugs and Driving
Travel Health Considerations
Travel Medicine 101
Travel Tips
Type 2 Diabetes Prevention
Water Smarts
Vision Damage
Water Wisdom
West Nile Disease
Whooping Cough
Workplace Alcohol Abuse
Women's Health
Full Listing with story descriptions
15 Great Reasons to Breastfeed
Approaching Menopause
Birth Control
Breast Cancer Screening
Breast Cancer - Genetic Risks
Breast Cancer Self-Exam
Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines Changes
Breast Health
Breastfeeding Myths
Cervical Cancer Screening
Contraception for Mature Women
Cosmetic Procedures
Estrogen's Effect on the Brain
Fear of Fracture
Heart Attack
Hirsutism - Unwanted Hair
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Menopause - What Men Should Know
Menopause and Your Moods
Menstrual Bleeding - Abnormal
Menstrual Bleeding - Heavy
Menstruation Myths
Menstrual Pain
Third Generation Birth Control Pills
Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian Cysts
Oral Contraction (The Pill)
Pap Test
Premenstrual Syndrome
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Urinary Incontinence
Varicose Veins
Viagra for Women
Yeast Infections
Your Pelvic Floor
Family Health Online / Pharmacy at Safeway
spacer   spacer pharmacy image pharmacy
Managing Diabetes Magazine - diabetes

Why Fad Diets Fail
Better choices for long-term weight loss

You’ve just picked up a new bestseller that promises a new diet will melt away excess weight in days. Perhaps an Internet ad boasts the latest meal replacement, juice or tonic will shed unwanted pounds. The allure of quick weight loss may seem irresistible. However, if you want long term, healthy weight loss, there are no quick fixes. A healthy diet based on balance, variety, moderation and common sense will serve you better.

Benefits of weight loss

Losing weight can be a good thing, but not at the expense of a complete, healthy diet. Maintaining a healthy weight is especially important if you have diabetes. It can help improve blood glucose, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol, and reduce the risk of complications like heart disease and stroke. However, drastic, fast weight loss tactics can destabilize blood glucose levels, leading to low blood glucose (hypoglycemia).

With any weight loss routine, blood glucose must be monitored. Along with insulin, some blood glucose lowering pills, such as glyburide (DiaBeta®), gliclazide (Diamicron®), repaglinide (GlucoNorm®) and nateglinide (Starlix®) should be adjusted with the help of a doctor or diabetes educator.

Main reasons fad diets fail

First, severely cutting back calories turns on the body’s starvation process. In starvation mode, the body uses whatever fuel it can to make up for the shortfall of calories. It does not select fat over muscle. The amount of muscle we have dictates our calorie-burning potential, also known as metabolism. When we lose muscle as a result of severe calorie restriction, it is difficult to maintain a new healthy weight after the diet is over.

Weight loss diets also tend to leave us feeling deprived. We lose weight, but most of us cannot sustain the restriction for long. After dieting, we treat ourselves to all kinds of foods we feel we missed, and may gain back more than we lost.

In Canada, food portions have increased over the years. Super-sizing means more calories, more pounds, and increased blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol readings. We are surrounded by a surplus of food choices, so we look for food rules on what to eat. However, fad diets actually put our health at risk because they cut back on or eliminate major nutrients our bodies need. Most are about what not to eat and include restrictive meal plans or special food items like drinks or supplements.

Getting too much or too little of a specific nutrient may not cause problems right away. But in the long run, it may affect your health. For instance, high protein diets can stress the kidneys since they must work overtime to clear excess waste from the blood. A healthy diet should be moderate in carbohydrates, and high in fibre, whole fruits and vegetables, protein and low fat dairy products. Use the following criteria to evaluate your own program.

Spotting a fad diet

  • Does the diet promise an unrealistically fast weight loss result? Magical claims are not needed if the weight loss program is reliable. Safe weight loss is at most two pounds or one kilogram per week. With quick weight loss, your body's survival instinct kicks in. The rate at which you use calories slows down and weight loss stops. Once you add more food, the pounds return.
  • Does the diet plan include special products for purchase, or eliminate certain foods altogether? Does it ask you to follow a strict plan without taking your specific health concerns and lifestyle into account? You do not need special foods or supplements to lose weight. Permanently changing your eating habits and activity level will keep the lost weight off.
  • Is the program based on Canada's Food Guide?
  • Does it allow for personal eating styles as well as your own individual nutritional needs? A weight reduction program should be designed specifically for you. A menu perfect for your best friend may not be right for you, as it does not take into account specific health needs like diabetes, personal tastes and lifestyle. Ask your diabetes educator or a registered dietician for guidance.
  • Does the method encourage regular physical activity? It makes sense that if you burn more energy than you consume, you will lose weight. Regular activity combined with a slow weight loss also helps you lose fat instead of muscle and help lower blood glucose. Check with your doctor about the type of exercise best for you.

Evaluating some popular ‘fads’

High protein, low carbohydrate (Atkins, South Beach, Protein Power)

These are the most popular of all fad diets, especially for people with diabetes. They encourage high amounts of protein-rich foods, and often allow high fat options as part of the plan, such as bacon and full-fat cheese. They discourage the consumption of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are starches and sugars, found mostly in grain products, vegetables and fruit. Carbohydrates break down into glucose, giving the body the energy it needs for the best brain and muscle functioning. By limiting carbohydrates, the body is deprived of this preferred source of energy. The diet also reduces the intake of necessary fibre, vitamins and minerals. Key foods are missed, like cereals, breads, pasta, rice, potatoes and fruit. Important nutrients in these foods include disease-fighting antioxidants, potassium for blood pressure control, and fibre to stabilize blood glucose, lower cholesterol and promote bowel regularity. Consuming a lot of protein also stresses the kidneys. People do experience quick weight loss, but research shows that it is temporary.

Single miracle foods (grapefruit, cabbage soup)

The truth is, no one food has fat burning power to make you lose weight. Diets that focus on a single food become impossible to follow after just a few days. As well, it is difficult to maintain healthy blood glucose levels living on nothing but grapefruit or cabbage. Your body is deprived of complex carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, and most vitamins and minerals.

The glycemic index (GI) diet (Glucose Revolution, Zone, Sugar Busters)

The glycemic index has become a popular weight loss tool. This index measures carbohydrates, scoring foods based on how blood glucose levels rise after eating a small portion of a carbohydrate food. Originally, it was developed to help people with diabetes control blood glucose. However, the GI is not a perfect tool and or a guarantee of healthy food choices. Some scores are confusing. For instance, candy that includes nuts gets a better GI score than a potato. Food scores and body responses vary from person to person. Also, we don’t usually eat single foods in isolation. Eating foods rich in carbohydrate along with other foods affects how quickly and high blood glucose levels will rise. Using the GI to lose weight is complicated. It does not simplify the task of choosing healthier food to lose weight or manage blood glucose. For more information about GI and diabetes, go to "The Glycemic Index".

Tips for a weight loss plan you can maintain

  • Follow Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide. It provides an action plan for healthy eating, with ideas about selecting a variety of nutritious foods from each of the four food groups. It also ensures you are consuming healthy portion sizes and meeting the required intake of vitamins and minerals. Go to to download or order a copy.
  • Start your day off right. Eat breakfast. Try to include three out of the four foods groups from Canada’s Food Guide for a nutritious breakfast. Whip up a smoothie with fat-free yogurt and frozen berries, make an omelette with sautéed vegetables, low fat cheese and a slice of multigrain toast, or have oatmeal with blueberries and low-fat milk.
  • Eat regularly. Skipping meals usually leads to overeating later in the day. Skipping supper, for example, makes you more prone to snacking late at night. By eating regularly, you can control your portion size and make sure your body has the energy it needs to maintain stable blood glucose levels throughout the day.
  • Take time for your meals. Busy schedules often mean eating on the go. The less time you make for meals, the more likely you are to pick up high-fat food or snacks. Avoid eating in front of the TV or computer when you are distracted. Instead, chew slowly, and concentrate on eating. Allow at least 15 minutes for your meal. Your brain needs time to register that you are full. If you eat too quickly, your brain often misses the signal of satiety (or fullness).
  • Reduce your intake of processed foods. Many processed foods have little nutritional value, and can be high in fat, sugar and sodium. This means excess calories. Instead, choose whole grains like whole grain pastas, brown rice, oatmeal, barley and quinoa. Enjoy fresh fruits as snacks.
  • Control portion sizes. Choose a lunch-sized plate instead of a dinner-sized one. Think of your plate as divided into three sections—half of the plate and two quarter sections. Fill the half with veggies and fruit, leaving one quarter with carbohydrate and the other quarter for protein.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water or other sugar-free beverages. Research shows that individuals who are well-hydrated tend to nibble less.
  • Limit sugary snacks. Choose healthy snacks like fresh fruit, cut raw vegetables, green salads, a handful of nuts, or cottage cheese instead of sugary foods.
  • Watch out for foods high in fat. Try the ‘rule of 5’ for label reading to help you select lower fat choices. Check the nutrition facts panel on packaged foods and choose foods that contain five grams of fat or less per serving.
  • Use a ‘treat budget’. Limit the number of treats you allow yourself each week. Count your afternoon cookie, after-supper scoop of ice cream or evening potato chips as treats. Once you start keeping track, you will realize that these calories really add up.
  • Include the rainbow of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Make your plate as colourful as possible by including a variety of fresh cut up or steamed vegetables and salads. Have whole fruit for dessert.
  • Consume lean protein. Including lean sources of protein in your diet helps you to feel full and satisfied at meal times. Protein also helps promote blood glucose control and maintains lean body mass (muscle). Include lean choices like skinless chicken breast, lean beef, salmon, eggs, legumes, and nuts and seeds. A healthy portion size is the size of the palm of your hand.
  • Cleanse your palate. When you’re finished eating, chew a piece of sugar-free gum to clear your mouth of the taste of food. Better yet, brush your teeth. You will be less tempted to start eating again when your mouth is clean.
  • Include physical activity. Make physical activity part of your daily routine year round. Register for dance or swimming lessons, or some other type of regular activity that you would enjoy. The hardest part is getting started. Start slowly by being active for ten minutes a day. You will benefit even with this amount. Increase gradually to a minimum of 30 minutes each day.
  • Create a food diary. Finally, try keeping a simple food diary for a week. Jot down everything you eat and drink, and note the time. This can help identify patterns in your eating habits that you might not otherwise notice. Do you eat late at night? Do you get enough from each of the four food groups? Answering these questions will help you identify how you need to change.

Summing up the healthy weight equation

Restrictive diets fail over the long haul. Excessive dieting risks your ability to stay in tune with your hunger and fullness cues. A 2012 study published in The American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that diets did not help more than 2000 participants to lose weight. A healthy lifestyle, including physical activity and a healthy balanced diet, did. Focus on healthy foods you like to eat, so you feel satisfied. Take time to cook at home, and avoid foods high in fat, sodium and sugar. Help manage your diabetes by achieving a desirable weight, the healthy ‘weigh’. Your good health is worth every ounce of effort.

FAMILY HEALTH is written with the assistance of
Alberta College of Family Physicians
FAMILY HEALTH is written with the assistance of
Alberta College of Family Physicians
While effort is made to reflect accepted medical knowledge and practice, articles in Family Health Online should not be relied upon for the treatment or management of any specified medical problem or concern and Family Health accepts no liability for reliance on the articles. For proper diagnosis and care, you should always consult your family physician promptly. © Copyright 2019, Family Health Magazine, a special publication of the Edmonton Journal, a division of Postmedia Network Inc., 10006 - 101 Street, Edmonton, AB T5J 0S1    [DI_MDab15]
Safeway Med Advisor / Safeway Pharmacy logos
Safeway Med Advisor / Safeway Pharmacy logos