Pennington Biomedical Research Center Awesome.2Cents! A Healthy Lifestyle Curriculum for Teens…Grades 8-12Lesson 8- Fad DietsContent outline Characteristics of Fad Diets Types of Fad Diets Pros and Cons of each diet type How to spot a fad diet Alternative to fad dietsLouisiana content standards:1-M-2, 1-M-3, 2-M-1, 2-M-2, 4-M-3, 4-M-5, 5-M-4, 6-M-1, 6-M-21-H-1, 1-H-2, 1-H-3, 1-H-4, 1-H-6, 2-H-1, 2-H-4, 3-H-1, 3-H-2, 3-H-3, 4-H-3, 5-H-6, 6-H-1, 6-H-2, 6-H-5, 6-H-6Objectives/Expected Learner OutcomesStudents will learn about high protein and low fat diets. They learn to spot a fad diet.They will be familiar what makes a diet a fad diet.Lesson and StrategiesStudent group targeted 8-12th gradeTime requiredTeacher Preparation: 15-20 minutesAssessment: 10 minutesMaterials and ResourcesHandoutsPower point presentationProjectorScreenLaptop/ComputerMotivation and ExplanationsTeacher PreparationBefore class, make copies of the handouts and homework assignment.HomeworkStudents will be asked to find ads for fad diets and choose one that they want to discussin class the following day. If necessary, they will access the internet at home to getadditional information on the fad diet that they would like to share. The students will be
asked to pay particularly close attention to the promotional terms, images used, andclaims that the ad makes and evaluate these claims based on what they have learnedabout weight-loss gimmicks.
Lesson PlanSlide Lesson1 Title slide: The Truth about Fad Diets Say: Today we will cover the lesson, The Truth about Fad Diets.2 In this lesson, we will cover Say: And, in this lesson, we will cover: the characteristics of fad diets, the primary types of fad diets that are available with examples of each, the pros and cons associated with each type of fad diet, how to spot a fad diet, and alternative methods to lose weight or maintain the current weight that you are at.3 Some Characteristics of Fad Diets Say: They promote quick weight loss. True, the diet may cause rapid weight loss in the beginning. But, this is usually just water weight or muscle that is lost and not body fat. And, these weight losses are usually regained quickly once a person gets off of the diet plan. They limit food selections. Some fad diets limit entire food groups, while others have lists of specific foods that are not allowed. Any diet plan that restricts many foods is usually too difficult to follow. And, when restricting entire food groups, an even bigger problem arises, which is nutrient inadequacy. Nutrition inadequacy is a term used to describe a situation where a diet is inadequate in essential vitamins and minerals due to the elimination of important food groups (like fruits, vegetables, and dairy foods, for example). They use testimonials from famous people and tie the diet to well-known cities, such as Beverly Hills and New York. The testimony is based on the opinions of a person. Anyone can claim (or be paid to claim) something to be true when it is not. These diets fail to include any real evidence of how the diet works. They don’t provide results of long-term clinical studies published in scientific journals comparing the effects of the diet plan in question to other diets. They describe themselves as cure-alls. The diet claims to work for everyone, no matter how overweight a person may be and no matter their specific strengths or weaknesses. There is no magic pill or magical diet that can work for everyone. And, many people (especially those with chronic conditions like heart disease or kidney disease and severely obese or older individuals) should first consult their doctor before even beginning a diet program.4 Some Characteristics of Fad Diets
Say: They often recommend expensive supplements. On a restrictive diet, supplements are necessary. Supplements are also recommended for child baring women (iron, calcium and folic acid). However, when following the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Diet Guide, a healthy diet consisting of a variety of foods, supplements would not be needed. There may be other conditions determined by a physician when supplements may be necessary. The USDA Diet Guide encourages the selection of a wide variety of nutrient- dense fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and whole grains, which give us more than ample supply of vitamins and minerals. No attempts are made to change eating habits permanently- Therefore, ones the weight loss phase is over, the person has not learned new eating habits to maintain the weight loss. And, reverting to the usual eating habits leads to weight gain. This can lead to a new dieting phase. This is known as yo-yo dieting. It is not healthy but can lead to health complications in later life. To maintain weight loss after the weight loss phase is over requires adoption of a new Lifestyle learning to eat differently than before and making exercise part of regular schedule. They are generally critical and skeptical about the scientific community and critical of physicians and registered dietitians. What these fad diets offer is “quick and easy” not the “tried and true” that the medical community and dietitians promote. Unfortunately, majority of those who use these diets can lose weight but end up gaining it all and more back later.5 Types of Fad Diets Say: There are two major categories that fad diets can fall into. Either those that restrict carbohydrate intake (high in fat and protein) or those that restrict fat intake (and are high in carbohydrates). As you now already know, there are three macronutrients responsible for giving us energy to use our bodies. Can anyone name these? Do: Encourage students to respond (answer = protein, carbohydrates, and fat) Say: Remember that fats are the most energy-dense, meaning that when given the same amount of carbohydrate, protein or fat, fat will have about 2x’s more calories. Fat has 9 kcal/g whereas both carbohydrates and protein have 4 kcal/g. And, although it may seem like fat is bad in that it carries so many calories, we must remember that we need fat in order to function as it does serve many important purposes. What we should be aware of is how much fat we are consuming and, just as importantly, what kind of fat we are consuming.
6 Low or Restricted Carbohydrate Approaches Say: Low Carb diets are the most common form of fad diets currently. Whereas in a normal diet, most of the energy that we consume comes from carbohydrates and fats, in these diets the majority of energy comes from fats and protein. This is because these diets restrict the number of calories that you consume from carbohydrates. Some of the popular examples of low-carb diet approaches are the Atkins diet, Sugar Busters, Protein Power, The Zone, The South Beach Diet.7 Say: 1. The diet does not provide adequate amount of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are our main energy source. On a high fat, high protein diets, an individual’s energy level is diminished. There is a shift in metabolism that has to take place and it is similar to what happens when a person is fasting. The body has to learn to use mainly fat for energy. 2. The brain’s main energy source is carbohydrate. On low carb diets the brain has to switch to other energy sources. There may be mental sluggishness, tiredness, and fatigue as a result. 3. Increased risk for kidney stones. Individuals who have family history of kidney stones may increase the chance on high protein diets.8 Problems with Low-Carb Diets Say: There are several problems associated with low-carb diets: 1) Low-carb diet plans generally contain little or no fruit, vegetables or whole grains. They are important components of a healthy diet. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat- free or low-fat milk and milk products. The low carb diets do not. 2) The diets are not intended for long-term use, usually no longer than 4-6 weeks. Therefore, this is restrictive diet for short duration and do not promote healthy lifestyle changes (a necessary component of any successful long term weight loss plan). 3) The low carb diet plans include excessive intake of animal fats. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, recommends “lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts and is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars” as part of a healthy diet. 4) Also, while following low-carb diets, individuals may experience reduced exercise capacity due to poor glycogen (type of carbohydrate in the
muscle) stores in the muscle.9 Problems with Low-carb diets Say: A primary concern with low-carb diets is the risk for metabolic dehydration. This is different from dehydration experienced with drinking fluids. Metabolic dehydration is a condition which occurs when the body has to draw upon its own stores of carbohydrates and/or protein when these are not provided in sufficient amounts through the diet. Because both protein and carbohydrates are stored with water in the body, when the body has to break down these stores, water is released. This is the factor responsible for the initial weight loss observed with low-carb diets– water losses. Usually these processes happen in starvation. In starvation, the body is in extreme stress. There is a complete metabolic shift that has to occur. It is not healthy way to lose weight. A much healthier option is to reduce total caloric intake slowly over time and increase physical activity.10 The Atkins Diet: General Information Say: Now, we’ll briefly review some of the characteristics of two commonly followed low-carb diets. The first that we will discuss is the Atkins Diet. Who here has heard of the Atkins Diet before? Do: Note the number of responses from students. Say: There has actually been a lot of controversy about the Atkins diet over the years because the diet plan is so high in fat and protein, with little to no carbohydrates (which, as we know, are found among the foods that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend us to eat: fruit, vegetables, [whole] grains and [low-fat] dairy). In the Atkins diet, dieters are encouraged to eat bacon and eggs daily, along with such food as lobster bisque and ice cream. These are all foods high in fat, particularly saturated fats. Many of us have probably heard about the link between high fat diets and heart disease. However, Atkins dismisses the fact that his diet may be heart-disease promoting by claiming that fat is only a problem when consumed with carbohydrates. This has not been backed by scientific evidence.11 The Atkins Diet: Advantages Say: On the contrary, there are a few advantages associated with the Atkins diet.
One is that there has been some research which indicates that people with type 2 diabetes have had better blood sugar control while on this diet because of the decreased intake in carbohydrates. Another advantage is that individuals on this diet plan (like many other low-carb diets) are also less likely to get hungry when compared with other diets -- since individuals are allowed to eat as much as they like of the permitted foods, which are highly satiating (filling) due to their high-fat nature. Also, the diet does cause a substantial weight loss but we have to acknowledge that much of this initial weight loss is due to water losses alone and at present the risk-to-benefit ratio (possible heart-disease promoting effects versus weight loss) are not known.12 The Atkins Diet: Disadvantages Say: But, this diet plan, like many others, is not without its disadvantages. 1) One important disadvantage to this diet is that it has primarily been supported by testimonials from those who have tried it instead of being based on the results of long-term clinical trials. 2) Another disadvantage is that although the diet is very high in fat, those who follow it still consume too few calories. And because the diet almost eliminates carbohydrate sources, which are generally those foods we refer to as nutrient- dense (high in nutrients), providing little diet variety, it is often too low in important vitamins, minerals, and fiber. 3) The diet also does not follow recommendations from the American Heart Association. It is too high in saturated fats and can lead to an increased risk of heart disease. 4) It can also cause constipation due to its low fiber content and 5) is also difficult to adhere to as it eliminates or severely restricts several food groups, like fruit, vegetables, grains and dairy.13 Sugar Busters: General Information Say: The next low-carb diet that we will mention is sugar busters. Who hear has heard of Sugar Busters or knows someone who has tried it? Raise your hand. Do: Not the number of responses. Say: The authors of the Sugar Busters diet say that sugar causes digestive problems and that it can cause the body to overproduce insulin. The theme of this diet is
that “sugar is toxic.” Therefore, the diet recommends avoiding high-glycemic index foods (those with the greatest effect on blood sugar levels) like potatoes, corn, white flour, pasta, white rice and cake, while encouraging the consumption of high-protein foods like meats, nuts and cheese. However, all energy sources are converted to their simplest form, sugar, in the body when they are metabolized.14 Sugar Busters: Advantages Say: There are some advantages to sugar busters. 1) The plan encourages the consumption of 3 meals a day. 2) The plan recommends cooking with oils that are high in mono- and polyunsaturated (good) fats and low in saturated (bad) fats. Therefore, it stresses consuming good fats over bad fats, known to promote heart disease. 3) The diet also gives clear guidelines on which foods to avoid, making it easier for individuals to follow. 4) The plan also helps us to eliminate the consumption of refined sugar (from foods with a high glycemic index), which, more and more, is proving to be a good thing (diets low in high glycemic foods). 5) And, lastly, the diet also recommends that meat should be lean and that fat should be trimmed off of it. So, unlike the Atkins plan which does not attempt to lower the fat content of high-protein foods recommended, this plan does.15 Sugar Busters: Disadvantages Say: There are some disadvantages to this diet. 1) One is that the diet downplays the idea that calorie intake causes weight gain or weight loss—and instead blames weight gain on sugar. We now know that weight gain is the product of energy imbalances where individuals either consume too many calories, exercise too little, or a combination of both. 2) Another component to this diet which doesn’t make a lot of nutritional sense is that it lists certain foods which contain “forbidden” sugars. Examples include bananas, potatoes, corn and carrots. True, we shouldn’t consume all of our fruit and vegetable servings each day from these few foods, but in no way should these foods be “forbidden” as nothing in the diet should be “forbidden” so long as it is consumed in moderation. 3) Another downside to the diet plan is that some important minerals and nutrients are eliminated—such as potassium found in bananas and beta- carotene found in carrots. 4) And lastly, another downside to the diet plan is that it is low in dairy, which
likely causes individuals who follow the plan to have inadequate intakes of calcium and vitamin D.16 Low-Carb Diets: Why They Work Say: Although the sugar busters diet does not have more advantages than the Atkins diet in emphasizing lowering ones’ fat intake from meats, consuming less refined sugar, and choosing oils high in mono- and polyunsaturated fats, both diets limit or exclude important foods or food groups, such as fruits, vegetables, dairy and grains. So why do people continue to use them? And, how do they work? The answer the first question (why do people continue to use them?) is because 1) these diets promises to allow you to lose weight and 2) results are seen fast initially. Although weight is usually regained when individuals go off of the diet it is this “fast and simple” weight loss message which continues to draw people in. How the diets work can also be explained in two parts. 1) Initial weight losses seen on low-carb diets are primarily due to fluid losses as the body breaks down carbohydrate stores. 2) Weight loss occurs because of the limited food intake. On a limited diet individuals tend to consume less over time. So, although the foods that individuals consume on these plans are high with calories (foods that we commonly refer to as energy-dense foods), individuals are still able to lose weight on these plans because they are consuming fewer calories than they normally would.17 Recent Finds: Low-carb diets Say: The American Heart Association issued a report in 2001 about the health consequences of these low-carb diets, notably high in protein. And, they noted that restricting carbohydrate levels, while consuming large amounts of protein- rich foods that are high in fat, can increase the risk of: Heart Disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, stroke and certain kinds of cancer.18 Recent Finds: Low-carb diets Say: The American Heart Association also reviewed the content of many of the more popular low-carb diet plans and found that most: greatly exceeded their dietary guidelines for protein and also greatly exceeded their recommendations for saturated fat. In fact, the Atkins diet was shown to allow 68% of the overall diet to come from fat with 26% of the diet coming from saturated fat. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, we should keep our total fat intake between 20 and 35% of our calories, with less than 10% of our
calories coming from saturated fat. Following a low-carb diet, such as the Atkins diet, then raises the question, “What are the long-term consequences of following a diet that is so high in total and saturated fat?”19 Other Low-Carb Diets Say: Here are some other low-carb diets that you should be aware of. Raise your hand if you recognize any of these diets or personally know anyone who has followed one of these plans. Do: Note the number of responses from students.20 Low-Fat Diets: General Information Say: Next, we’ll turn to the other major class of fad diets - low-fat diets. Here is some general information about these diets. First, these diets are low in fat. These diets have less than 20% of calories from fat, with most usually having as little as 5 to 10% of calories from fat. Because fat intake must be so severely limited, individuals on these diets consume limited amount of animal proteins, especially those notably high in fat, like ground beef or whole milk. With these diet plans, individuals are therefore left with grains, fruit, and vegetables as their main source of calories and protein. It is very difficult to maintain a low fat diet for a length of time. Most restaurants and ready made foods are high in fat, therefore it would be difficult to eat out, or any ready made food on a very low fat diet.21 Low-Fat Diets: Advantages Say: One of the advantages of low fat diets is that they recommend nutrient-dense foods, like fruit, vegetables, grains and low-fat dairy. Therefore, individuals on low fat diets are maximizing their nutrient intake with fewer calories than would a person consuming the “typical” American diet, notably higher in energy-dense snacks and beverages. Another advantage is that individuals who emphasize nutrient-dense foods generally are at a lower risk for chronic diseases, because these diets are lower in dietary fat, especially saturated fat and trans fat, and cholesterol.22 Low-Fat Diets: Disadvantages Say: There are some disadvantages to low fat diets. 1) One disadvantage is that there is little satiety with low-fat diets. This is because fat is much more satiating than protein or carbohydrates, and with a
low fat diet, individuals often feel hungry. 2) Another problem with these diets is flatulence, due to increased consumption of fiber. 3) Also there could be poor mineral absorption due to high fiber intake. 4) As with low-carb diets, individuals on low-fat diets have limited food choices, particularly with all pre-made and restaurant meals. 5) Because of this and because of the fact that these diets are so different from the typical American diet, low-fat diets are difficult to maintain and 6) can become costly. Due to increased attention on functional ingredients in whole grain products, fruits and vegetables, they are now more expensive than before. 7) In addition, these diets are not recommended for certain individuals – particularly those with diabetes (because of the high carbohydrate content) and also for those who have not yet been diagnosed with diabetes, but who do have insulin resistance.23 Low-Fat Diets Say: Here are some other low-fat diets that you should be aware of. Raise your hand if you recognize any of these diets or personally know anyone who has followed one of these plans. Do: Note the number of students who respond. Call on individuals to say which diet plan they are familiar with.24 Why Diets Fail Say: Why do diets fail so much of the time? Here are some common reasons. 1) Diets deprive us. Whether cutting out specific food groups, single foods from food groups, or all foods high in fat, or all carb foods, diets deprive us in some way. 2-3) Diets are also temporary – many of us resort back to our usual eating habits after using the diet-- and many diets do not fit into our normal life. Whereas you may normally make a sandwich or order a cheese pizza and a coke each day at lunch, some diets require that you only eat specific types of food. And, preparing these foods can become very time consuming, not to mention expensive. 4) Low-fat diets, for example, are usually much more expensive than what you would eat in a given day. It is because on a low fat diet, foods are made from scratch, special ingredients may have to be used that are expensive.
Say: 5) And, the most important thing that we must remember is that diet is only half of the equation. Does anyone remember what makes up the other side of the energy balance equation? Do: Encourage students to answer (answer = physical activity). Say: That’s right. Regular physical activity and healthy eating are the keys to losing weight and even maintaining your current weight.25 Say: Overall, the most important component missing from fad diets are: lifestyle changes. Because without positive changes made in physical activity and eating habits, what happens once you get off of the diet and return to your usual habits? Do: Encourage students to answer. (Answer = You gain the weight right back.)26 Managing Your Weight by Lifestyle Changes Say: Here are some very important factors to keep in mind if you want to change your lifestyle in favor of a healthier one. The first thing that you need to do is to evaluate yourself. 1) Evaluate- Think about why you feel you need to lose weight. Remember that adolescence is a period of rapid growth. Weight gain is a regular occurrence during this time. And, also remember that you should never compare your body to others. Our bodies are all unique and different in their own ways. If you still feel that you could benefit from weight loss, speak to someone that you trust like a parent. And, talk with your family doctor before trying anything on your own, especially such extreme behaviors as skipping meals or excessively exercising as these could have severe negative effects on your growth and development. 2) You also have to remember to start out slowly making small gradual changes. Life-long behaviors can’t change overnight and no one should expect them to. You need to start out slowly with diet or exercise changes and work your way to your goal. And, make each goal simple and realistic. Be sure that it is something that can be achieved and reward yourself when you get there.
3) And, of course don’t deprive yourself. True there are some foods which are better than others in terms of nutrient content, but no food should be entirely off limits if you are careful to remember the importance of variety and portion size. The Dietary Guidelines of Americans tell us that our diets are more likely to be adequate in vitamins and minerals if we consume a variety of foods, especially fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and grains. 4) Keeping a food diary is a good habit to begin. This way you can keep track of what you consume throughout the day and note problem areas, such as certain times of days that you are more prone to overeating and behaviors that provoke overeating. Also, noting the location of where you were eating is a good idea. For example, you may notice that you are more likely to snack more while eating in front of the television. On this slide, we have an example of what your food diary could look like. Note that this food diary includes: the food or beverage and how much of that item you consumed, the time of day and location of where you consumed it, if you were alone or with others when you consumed it, which activity you were engaging in, such as reading or watching television, and your mood at the time. 5) And, again, remember that diet is only half of the equation. Try to stay active and engage in some form of physical activity on most days of the week. Whether you prefer walking the dogs, swimming, playing baseball, or rollerblading, whatever the case, try and remain active. Having a partner to exercise with is always a good idea, too.27 For a Healthy Diet, Follow the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Say: Remember what the Dietary Guidelines tell us. Who would like to read out loud what the dietary guidelines describe a healthy diet as? Do: Encourage students to raise their hands. Select a student to read the slide. Allow the student to read the information to the class. Say: Think about your favorite foods and whether or not they would fall into any of these categories. Now, think of foods that you like that you know are good for you. And remember that anything can fit into a healthy diet, so long as you remain conscious of portion size.28 Say: Two very important areas to target are “P and P” = portion size and physical
activity. If you have problems controlling portion sizes, here are a few tips: 1) Try to eliminate snacking while watching television (like I previously said, this can easily cause you to overeat without even noticing); 2) pace yourself while eating (this will give your body more time to register that you are feeling full); 3) divide food up into portion sizes (i.e.: placing chips in Ziploc bags based on serving size) as this will help you limit the number of servings eaten. The DGA tell us that we should all engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate- intensity exercise on most days of the week. And, if we are trying to maintain our current weight and prevent gradual unwanted body weight gain, we should engage in 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity activity on most days of the week. Seems like a lot right? The important thing to remember is that this amount of exercise does not have to be done all at once. So long as your exercise throughout the day totals up to be 30 minutes or more on most days, it doesn’t matter whether or not it was done in one 30 minute interval or five 6- minute intervals.29 For a Healthy Life, Eat Right and Exercise Often Say: Here are some activities that you could engage in order to increase your daily activity level: You could roller skate or go ice-skating. Or, you could have an afternoon basketball, tennis, or soccer game with your closest friends. Bicycling, swimming, walking, jogging and running are things that you could do when you are alone or with friends. And, remember to mix things up. If you always stick to one and only one type of activity, chances are you’ll get burnt out. Try different activities from week to week or try to incorporate a couple of different activities throughout the week if you enjoy one particular activity, like walking. Name some activities that you all like to do. Are there any activities that you enjoy doing that are not listed here? Do: Encourage students to name activities. Call upon those who have information to share.30 Spotting a Fraud, How Do You Know Say: So, now that we know that the most reliable way to maintain our weight and be healthy is through proper diet and engaging in regular physical activity, we need to know how to be on the lookout for diets or products that are probably
too good to be true. And, an important thing to remember is: If it sounds toogood to be true. Then, it probably is! How many times have we seen late-nightinfomercials trying to sell a product which promises to lead to weight loss?More often than not, these products are over-priced and not backed byscientific evidence which illustrates their ability to work. And, if you’re unsureabout a product, remember to look out for these terms: ancient, breakthrough,discovered in Europe, cure, easy, effortless, exotic, guaranteed, magical,miraculous, mysterious, new discovery, quick and secret. With words likethese backing up a product, it’s almost always a fraud.References: o Wardlaw G, Kessel M. Perspectives in Nutrition. 5th Ed. 2002. o Low Carbohydrate Diets: Do they work and are they healthy? Available at: http://www.essentialnutrition.org/lowcarb.php o West D. Nutrition, Food, and Fitness. 2006. o The American Heart Association. Available at: www.americanheart.orgAuthors:Heli J. Roy, PhD, RDShanna Lundy, MSDivision of EducationPhillip Brantley, PhD, DirectorPennington Biomedical Research CenterSteven Heymsfield, MD, Executive DirectorThe Pennington Biomedical Research Center is a world-renowned nutrition research center.Mission:To promote healthier lives through research and education in nutrition and preventivemedicine.The Pennington Center has several research areas, including: Clinical Obesity Research Experimental Obesity Functional Foods Health and Performance Enhancement Nutrition and Chronic Diseases Nutrition and the Brain Dementia, Alzheimer’s and healthy aging Diet, exercise, weight loss and weight loss maintenanceThe research fostered in these areas can have a profound impact on healthy living and on theprevention of common chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertensionand osteoporosis.The Division of Education provides education and information to the scientific community andthe public about research findings, training programs and research areas, and coordinateseducational events for the public on various health issues.
We invite people of all ages and backgrounds to participate in the exciting research studiesbeing conducted at the Pennington Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. If you would like to takepart, visit the clinical trials web page at www.pbrc.edu or call (225) 763-3000.Edited : October 2012