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Diets gone bananas

Andrea Palm-Porter

The U.S. has gone diet crazy. There’s the South Beach Diet, the Atkins, Cabbage Soup Diet, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, The Zone, and on and on and on.

You see in almost every lifestyle magazine features promoting weight loss: “How to Lose 10 pounds in Three Days,” “31 Tips for Low-Carb Weight Loss,” “50 Ways to Get Your Bikini-Perfect Body,” “Fire Up Your Metabolism.”

Not surprisingly, the fastest-growing topic of conversation at dinners just might be, “So, which diet are you on?”



Still, approximately 127 million adults in the United States are overweight, 60 million obese, and 9 million severely obese, according to the American Obesity Association.

The USDA-DHHS Dietary Guidelines for Americans states, “Most Americans of all ages eat fewer than the recommended number of servings of grain products, vegetables and fruits even though consumption of these foods is associated with a substantially lower risk for many chronic diseases, including certain types of cancer.”



We have all these great diets. But what are we eating, really? More chips, french fries, fast food, pizza, pasta, white bread, sugar – all the stuff that tastes good but isn’t good for you.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services’ Food Guide Pyramid recommends six to 11 daily servings of bread, cereal, rice, and pasta; three to five daily servings of vegetables; two to four daily servings of fruits; two to three daily servings of milk, yogurt and cheese; and two to three daily servings of meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs and nuts.

How many of us do this? And to really make us think about our eating habits, the National Cancer Institute suggests that 35 percent of cancer deaths may be related to diet.



Given the choices of diets, maybe we all ought to get a clue. One place to look is iVillage.com, which has details on popular diets. They’ve even used a diet rating scale based on the following indexes: hunger, health, ease and expense.

If none of these diets work, you can always wait your turn for the old stand-by, the “flu diet.” That one is always good for losing a couple pounds, though not perhaps the most pleasant way to lose some weight, for sure.

A.P.P.


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