Meghan Tiernan (MS, RD, LDN) is a registered dietitian with a passion for helping others achieve a healthy lifestyle. She strives to help others learn the most nutritious way to eat, in order to achieve good health. Meghan enjoys cooking and running and believes that with just some basic knowledge, you can gain the confidence in yourself to know that you can eat well.

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Dietitian Consult

by Meghan Tiernan, MS, RD, LDN

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There are lots and lots of theories out there that claim to either help you or hurt you when it comes to your diet. Prevention recently released a top 25 worst diet tips and I wanted to share my top 3 from that list.

Crazy diet tips debunked by our Registered Dietitian1. Cut out carbs

I feel like this one may be less intriguing than it used to be, however, over and over again I still hear people suggesting that you just "cut out carbs for a couple days to get your diet on track." Any diet that suggests cutting out one of the major nutrients that your body needs (there are only 3: carbohydrates, fats and proteins), means you're missing out on very valuable nutrients that are by no means going to make you fatter or derail your diet efforts.

While some carbohydrates are best to limit or avoid (refined carbohydrates like white rice, white bread and white pasta, etc. and high sugar/fat items like cakes and cookies), the whole grain versions and other carbs like fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes are essential and vital parts of a well balanced and healthy diet. Anytime I counsel someone on weight loss, I always include these foods in meal plans.

Your body uses carbohydrates in more ways than you think. They are an essential part of functioning for all your organs, your brain and your metabolism. So for the love of all things that are good, keep those carbs in your diet!

2. Swear off forbidden foods

If you're looking to set yourself up for failure, then the first thing you should do is swear off all your favorite foods. Guess what happens as soon as you do that!? That's all you want! And when you can't stand it anymore, you over-indulge, which ultimately leads to a vicious cycle of dieting. I will say that if you have trouble maintaining self control, then "out of sight, out of mind" does work, so you may want to set yourself up for success by keeping some foods tucked away or out of your grocery cart, generally speaking.

That being said, even for the strictest of diets, it's still possible to include your favorite foods in your day and get the results you want. It's a win-win, you lose weight and don't feel completely deprived. The key is portion control. You don't want to save all your calories for a wild night of eating, you want to maintain your healthy lifestyle by eating your meals throughout the day, making smart choices, and really enjoying the indulgence that is well deserved. For instance, if you're going to a party or out to dinner, eat consistently throughout the day and choose smartly where you don't need to indulge. Choose a protein and a vegetable for dinner, and enjoy the rolls before hand, the signature cocktail during or the decadent dessert afterwards. Or if it's the entree you're looking forward to, skip the apps and dessert and enjoy your meal. If French fries are your weakness, allow yourself to enjoy a small portion once a week. Or give yourself a calorie window, say 200-250 calories a few times a week to allow for some flexibility and fun in your day-to-day diet routine.

However you choose to enjoy your food, make sure you do just that. By taking the "forbidden" out of the food, you're less likely to crave it and more likely to be satisfied in your weight loss efforts and stay on track.

3. Detox diet

This is a question I've been asked about A LOT lately, and my response is the same every time: Don't do it! I feel like this is the ultimate "quick fix" that people think is such a great way to jump start your weight loss efforts. Yes, you may lose weight, but no, you won't have any energy and the likelihood that those pounds you've shed are going to stay off are slim to none. There are two schools of thought on these detox diets. One is that they should be done to cleanse your body. But the part that many don't realize is that your body was built to detox. It does a very effective job of getting rid of toxins on its own without the assistance of starving it or making it live on juice for a few days.

More recently I've been hearing this referred to as a way to start a diet plan. Just live on juice for a few days, or go 15 hours without eating and only eat between a certain number of hours for 3 days, then start eating normally again. The concept of this is crazy to me, and while it may work for some, it is a very unsafe way to lose weight. No weight loss is worth the sacrifice of giving up solid food for a few days... this is just my opinion of course :)

However you choose to take on your weight loss mission, make sure your primary goal is to be healthy. It's the only way ...    Continue

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@ 6:51pm ET on September 20, 2013
Thankyou for these tips....i hear you about carbs....i couldnt give them up completely would drive me mad....i eat brown carbs and good carbs yeah.

@ 6:52pm ET on September 20, 2013
and yup a wee treat now and again is great...I love my mini nobbly bobbly icelollys hehe

@ 2:22pm ET on November 13, 2014
Thanks for the tips

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