Lose weight. If you have osteoarthritis and are carrying a few extra pounds, that’s probably one of the first things your doctor told you to do. That’s because every additional pound you carry puts four extra pounds of stress on your already-aching joints.
But what’s the best way to lose weight? The dieting landscape is full of plans trying to convince you that eliminating something from your diet or changing your eating patterns alone is the magic solution. The bottom line: Follow a sensible diet plan that combines healthy eating with regular exercise – and watch out for fad diets and false claims like these.
Claim: Go gluten-free to lose weight.
Reality: Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. “People equate it with carbohydrates and think that removing pasta, crackers and cereal from their diets will help them lose pounds,” says Sue Moores, a registered dietitian in St. Paul, Minn. Cutting unhealthy carbs might help shed pounds, but unless you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, your body needs healthy, whole-grain carbs.
Claim: Eat a big breakfast so you’ll eat less throughout the day.
Reality: A recent study published in Nutrition Journal found that among 280 obese and 100 normal-weight people, the more caloric their first meal of the day, the more total daily calories they took in.
Claim: You can “trick” your metabolism to avoid weight-loss plateaus.
Reality: The popular 17 Day Diet, for example, claims that if you change foods and calorie-intake levels every few days, you can trick your body into losing weight more quickly. There’s no evidence this works, according to the American Dietetic Association. What’s more, this diet “is pretty restrictive,” says Moores. “Its low-calorie level and rules could likely set a person up for binge eating, not to mention having no sense of how to eat well after the diet ends.”