Dishing out the skinny on fad dieting - WFLA News Channel 8

Dishing out the skinny on fad dieting

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

Ever wonder whether those popular diet trends really work? Have you heard the buzz words Paleo and Juicing and wondered why all the hype?

We turned to Dr. Janet Kong, a family medicine physician at Watson Clinic, and Nancy Ulm, a registered dietician there, to sort through the fact and fiction.

The Paleo Diet suggests eating plenty of meat, fruits and vegetables while avoiding dairy and whole grains. It's basically a food plan modeled after what cavemen ate generations ago.

Lakeland-based CrossFit trainer Olly Goddard is a Paleo believer. He says the lifestyle can be hard to follow, but it's worth it.

"The standard American diet is so refined sugars and carbohydrate heavy that kind of ratcheting that back and increasing protein is often very tough for people," he explained.

Dr. Kong says the emphasis on eating more fruits and vegetables is certainly a Paleo positive, but she worries restrictions on common food staples like milk and bread make the diet unsustainable.

"Lean meats are good. Lots of vegetables, fruits, those things are good, but again it's really hard when you limit and have a very restrictive diet as far as going out, having dinner with friends and just maintaining cause that's the whole idea," Kong said.

Nancy Ulm agrees and says you have to approach a diet plan with the long haul in mind.

"Anything that you can't sustain long term, life-long, it's going to be only a short term fix," Ulm said.

As for the Juicing craze, the emphasis is on consuming more fruits and vegetables -- lots more -- through fresh squeezed or blended juices.

"Each of our juices has between two and six pounds of produce in every little 12 ounce bottle," explained Whitney Cabrera, a registered nurse who recommends juicing to clients at Gold's Gym in Lakeland.

"The goal is not to have you juicing your whole life. It's just to add the juices into a normal, whole food diet," Cabrera said.

Lots of Juicing proponents support the idea of an occassional juice cleanse which is also sometimes called a fast, a detox, or in the case of Gold's Gym a juice feast.

Participants consume no whole food but rather six fruit and vegetable juices a day for a period of three to ten days.

"It gives your body a chance to kind of re-acclimate. It gives your tastebuds a time to settle down on the sugar and the salt and the fat, and you are giving your body an opportunity to make the changes that you want to make," Cabrera said.

Dr. Kong says the whole idea of introducing more fruits and vegetables into a diet gets her full support, but she'd prefer patients to eat the whole foods rather than drink them in juice form.

"I would say at the end of the day talk to your physician because if you can still just eat your vegetables and eat your fruits I say then why not go that way," she said.

Nancy Ulm says once again it's all about sustainability.

"You have to think can I do this for the rest of my life," Ulm said.

Anything short of that, the experts agree, really is just a diet fad.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved

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