Why Fad Diets Always Fail

Admit it. You want to look your best in a swimsuit. We live in a shallow, image-based society. Why fight it?

There are all sorts of pseudo-nutritious diet tips out there: claiming that if you drink Fit Tea like the Kardashians you’ll magically have the summer body of your dreams. The truth is that if you follow seasonal fad diets, the only Kardashian you’ll end up looking like is Rob Kardashian.

There’s a reason fad diets don’t last. They just don’t work. Nutritionist Amy Shapiro, founder of Real Nutrition NYC, believes that the key to a healthy, happy body doesn’t lie in clickbait articles or celebrity endorsed products. She debunks health food myths and shares her nutrition secrets with BTRtoday so that you can enjoy your summer to the fullest.

1. Gluten Free Isn’t Inherently Better

Newsflash: gluten doesn’t make you fat. Though people with celiac disease are gluten intolerant, many others have cut out gluten from their diets for no good reason. And gluten free doesn’t mean healthy. “Lots of gluten-free products are full of white carbohydrates and void of nutrition,” Shapiro explains. So, next time you decide to opt for a gluten free bun to mitigate the nutritional value of your burger, think again.

2. Protein Is Good, But Not That Good

The paleo diet came on the scene a few years ago, urging hungry people to eat like cavemen. Lots of protein, veggies, and no processed sugars or empty carbs. This approach led many to a mindset “That you can eat as much protein as you want, since you cut out carbs,” says Shapiro. But she warns that this is criminally misleading, because “too much of anything gets stored as fat.”

3. Know What’s In Your Smoothie

The sin of the smoothie is one that we’ve all committed. As long as it’s blended up and has fruit in it, it’s good for you, right? Wrong: “Smoothies aren’t always healthy. They can hide a ton of calories—just watch what you put in it.”

4. Eat Real Food

During busy summer months, it’s tempting to grab something pre-packaged at the bodega and run. But additives and preservatives in processed foods are silent killers. Shapiro’s advice: “read ingredients and don’t eat anything you can’t pronounce.” Which leads to the next tip…

5. Slow Down

What’s the rush? Scarfing down food quickly can trick your body into thinking it’s still hungry, even after you’ve had your fill. Instead, take your time and savor every bite. Or as Shapiro directs, “chew your food.”

6. Treat Yourself

The most important thing for eating healthy isn’t integrating or omitting one miracle food. It’s balance. “Enjoy unhealthy foods sometimes, enjoy healthy foods a lot of the time, stay active and never tell yourself you can’t have something,” Shapiro concludes, “Deprivation will lead to poor choices and overindulgence.”

In other words: a scoop or two of ice cream is okay, a few ribs won’t kill you. Part of summer is enjoying yourself, and part of enjoying yourself is eating food that isn’t the healthiest sometimes.