It seems like every week another “nutritionist” or “doctor” has another new diet that will help you zap the pounds quickly. And while everyone knows someone who succeeded at the diet, most of us try the new fad and never really lose the weight. The reason behind this is that fad diets don’t work. Some people (rarely) might have the right natural chemistry and body type to excel at one or another; but the vast majority of us won’t find success with the latest diet fad. So why are diets like Atkins, “Flat Tummy” and South Beach so popular if they don’t work? Because they accidentally work; they happen to incorporate some elements of smart dieting. The trick is that you don’t have to follow one of those diets in order to adjust your lifestyle to those elements as well. Fad diets only work because they happen to emphasize three secrets of actual smart diets: protein, drinking water, and proper nutrition. The trick to really losing weight is to diet smarter, and to diet smarter you need to drink water, ingest protein, and have good nutrition.
Drinking lots of water is the focus of the “Flat Tummy” diet; but you don’t need to mix lemon juice into your water to get the health benefits. The secret is just to drink plenty of water. One reason for this is that humans are often drinking SOMETHING; and empty calories in the form of sodas or sports drinks are just packing on the pounds for no reason. Drinking water whenever you feel thirsty is the best way to deal with your thirst, and avoid those empty calories. Another reason that water is important to smarter dieting is that water acts as an appetite suppressant. Often when you feel that twinge of hunger, your body is telling you that it needs hydration or has an empty stomach – not that it needs nutrition. Drinking a glass of water will suppress that twinge of hunger without doing any harm to your body. Finally, water is important for flushing the waste out of your cells. It helps flush excess things like sodium that you don’t need, but also helps keep a clean body; and a clean body is a healthier and trimmer body.
Protein is the key behind Atkins and South Beach Diets; and the reason is that having a diet high in lean protein helps promote and create lean muscle mass. This is great for two simple reasons. First, a pound of lean muscle mass burns 2-3 times more calories – at rest – than a similar weight in fat. What that means is that a body with 40 pounds of lean muscle will burn 2-3 times more daily calories b simply being there than a body with 40 pounds of fat. The second reason having lean muscle mass is important is that a pound of muscle takes up less volume than a pound of fat. So a body that weighs 115 pounds with lots lean muscle takes up less space than a body of 115 pounds with no lean muscle.
A great way to promote lean muscle mass is through supplementing a diet with a whey protein shake. If you rely on your food alone (meat and fish); you are going to ingest a lot of fat with your protein – which gives you part of the problem while trying to give you the solution. This is the benchmark of Atkins, and the main reason it doesn’t work for so many people. Whey protein shakes provide all the protein your body needs to promote lean muscle mass, without the fat in a juicy steak.
Finally, the biggest problem for fad diets is that they don’t encourage balanced diets of a large variety of food. They are often repetitive, and if people aren’t cautious, they will quickly fail to get the nutrition they need. The best way to combat that is with a simple daily multivitamin. Adding a multivitamin to your diet gives you the proper nutrition you need while allowing you to eat the low-calorie foods you prefer. It’s easily the best safety net for smart dieting.