Ways of evaluating diets have been devised. The Consumer Guide has been publishing a paperback called "Rating the Diets". In the current edition over 100 diets are evaluated. The following guidelines in evaluating weight-loss schemes are used:

1. Has the author of the diet tried the regimen on hundreds, even thousands, of overweight people and objectively compared the results against a similar number of controls on regular or other weight-reducing diets and published the findings in a recognized and reputable medical journal? If the answer is no,regard the diet experimental at best.

2. Is the person promoting the diet known, well-respected,and knowledgeable in nutrition? Many physicians have published books on diets, but simply being a physician does not qualify one in nutrition.

3. How long has the diet been around? If less than five years, view it with suspicion. Anyone can invent a new diet, but only a few diets survive. At the same time, many old diets which tend to be regularly resurrected should have been laid to eternal rest.

4. Is the proponent of the new diet challenging the recommendations of bonafide experts? If it is a valid challenge, it should be backed by substantial scientific data.

5. Does the diet regimen allow for individual preference,practice, and taste? Rigid diets that tell the dieter what and when to eat are doomed to fail in the long run because it does not allow flexibility to follow the rhythm of life activities.

6. Is the diet based on principles of another expert or health association? If so, what is the opinion of the individuals or organization about the regimen? Numerous diet regimens have been based on outside research. The original proponent often is not consulted and may not approve of the regimen if allowed to have input.

7. In looking at the diet itself, is the diet based on some"secret" no one has discovered before? Is it limited to a few foods? Does it stress expensive or unusual foods? Does it warn against eating a combination of foods at one time? Does it omit foods of high nutritional value such as dairy products, breads,and other grains? Does it depend on vitamin and mineral concentrates to balance the diet? Does the author warn of any side effects or special precautions? Does the regimen include increased exercise?

8. Could the dieter live on the regimen for the rest of his or her life? Since weight control is a full-time, lifelong effort, individuals need to develop good eating habits as the weight is lost.

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