- Rose Kennedy For the AJC
Don't confuse the title "dietitian" with someone who is a fan of diets. These three Atlanta dietitians use their nutrition backgrounds to help individual and corporate clients with a variety of health issues. Among the scores of fad and trend diets, below are the ones they encourage people to avoid:
Nicole German Morgan, RDN, LD, CLT is a registered dietitian in Buckhead who provides nutritional counseling and specializes in thyroid nutrition and weight management.
She said she always advises against the Atkins Diet, which focuses on low carb foods. "I have seen the negative effects of what eating low carbohydrate can do to the body over time," Morgan said. "An extremely low carbohydrate diet can also lead to diminished thyroid function, fatigue and other ailments."
Rachel Brandeis, MS, RD graduated from Emory University in Atlanta and has earned a graduate degree in community nutrition from Georgia State University.
She spent six years at Northside Hospital as the dietitian for its weight reduction clinic and strongly discouraged diets that eliminate entire food groups. "Those are diets to avoid at any cost," she said. "When you take away food groups, you miss out on essential nutrients that are difficult to replace."
Now a private practitioner, Brandeis also warned against any diet that causes a severe calorie restriction. "Avoid diets that involve fewer than 800 calories per day," she said. "That could cause your metabolism to slow and actually cause your weight to plateau."
Caitlin Russell, MS, RDN, LD, CLT has extensive training in adverse food reactions. She implements practical solutions for the dietary treatment of food-sensitive clients and is also experienced with adult weight loss.
"There are probably as many diets out there as there are people," she said. "Everyone has their idea of what is the best way to eat. I tell my clients that the best diet for them is one that makes them feel their best, not one that the latest celebrity is touting."
One diet Russell makes every attempt to steer clients away from is a juice fast. "I understand the appeal," Russell said. "You want to shed pounds fast, and with juice! But it's not realistic or healthy, in my opinion."
Russell said that while days of drinking pure juice may be OK for people with no blood sugar regulation issues, it's still not what she recommends.
"Juice fasts usually contain no fiber and you need fiber for healthy gut bacteria," she said. "They don't contain protein, which you need to maintain muscle mass as you age."
Other problems with a juice fast, according to Russell, is that it doesn't provide the fat needed for healthy cell membranes and is high in the sugar that can make you feel faint and nauseous on a juice-filled stomach.
Russell recommended a diet balanced with satisfying fats like avocados, fiber-rich carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and healthy, lean proteins. "If you eat that, you shouldn't need something as drastic as a juice fast," she said.
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