Those diets come and go so opt for life-long changes instead.

ByJudith W. Ward

MSU Extension Service

Each year, March is designated as National Nutrition Month - a nutrition education and information campaign sponsored annually by the American Dietetic Association.

The campaign is "designed to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound physical activity habits." This year, the theme is to be 100 percent Fad Free.

As you are probably aware, diet fads come and go.The poet, Lord Byron, made the vinegar and water diet famous in the early 1800s, and the first low carbohydrate diet was introduced in 1825. These diets become immensely popular and some have even helped people lose weight for the short term. However, often these diets prove difficult to maintain over a long period of time and as people return to previous eating habits, the weight returns.Over time, these fad diets are replaced with new fad diets and each time the weight returns bringing with it feelings of disappointment and desperation.

As we look to change our health, it is important that we not blame ourselves for not being able to adhere to a fad diet that has failed us.Think about it. If a diet works; it will work forever and that is the problem with many of the fad diets. They simply are not user friendly and the promises can't be backed up with long-term results, which is what we all want.

Since it is National Nutrition Month here are five key messages and points to consider when choosing to eat healthy and stay away from the fad diets that lead to long-term problems:

* Develop an eating plan for lifelong health

* Choose foods sensibly looking at the big picture

* Learn how to spot a fad

* Find your balance between food and physical activity

* Food and nutrition misinformation can have harmful effects on your health and well-being

We all want to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible.Seek out strategies that you can incorporate into your everyday life and maintain for a lifetime.

Eat nutritious foods, in appropriate portions.Make time to be physically active everyday. Remember that although National Nutrition Month comes around each March, when focusing on our health, it should be something we consider throughout the year.

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