Lehigh Valley

Local dietitian encourages healthy weight-loss tactics

U.S. News and World Report is out with its list of best diets to try in 2018, just in time for all those who vowed to kick their healthy eating into high gear when the ball dropped.

According to the report, the top three best overall diets are the DASH, Mediterranean, and Flexitarian.

"All of them are more like eating patterns, as opposed to strict diets," said Kelly Layton, a dietitian with Lehigh Valley Health Network. "They emphasize similar things, such as fresh produce, whole foods, limiting foods like red meats, sweets, and processed foods."

Those diets are less drastic and in return, more forgiving, Layton said.

She's also a big supporter of the 80-20 rule.

"20 percent of the time, allowing yourself to indulge in things you love so you don't feel deprived," Layton said.

This time of year though, some people choose to kick start their diets with fasts and cleanses.

"I think a lot of people need something that feels like a pivot point to them, and a lot of people choose to go with something like fasting or a quick fix diet," Layton said.  "Things like fasting can backfire a little bit."

For starters, too few calories can actually slow down your metabolism and may put you at risk of not consuming enough vital nutrients.

Layton said it also doesn't encourage habit change. She also cautions against diets that eliminate entire food groups, promote certain products, or are endorsed by people without medical training.

U.S. News and World Report also ranks diets by weight loss.  The top three include Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig.

Layton said many of her patients do well with Weight Watchers, partly due to its system and bountiful resources.  But, she says it can be hard to keep the weight off when people stop using it and no longer have people leading them.

"It can be difficult if those eating patterns haven't become ingrained," Layton said.

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