5 Things not to Do on a Diet

Here are some diet shortcuts that are decidedly dangerous and should be avoided if you value your health.We all want to lose weight and lose it quickly, but there are healthy ways to do it and unhealthy ways.

1.) Diet Pills. They are a short term fix only. Once you stop taking them, you will be hungry again and will go back to your normal eating patterns, which means you will regain all of your weight. These can cause you to become very dehydrated during the hotter months because of their diuretic properties. Their side effects can be headaches, dizziness, nausea, and heart palpitations.

2.) Health food fads like ephedra. "Herbal" and "all-natural" does not mean safe. Deadly Nightshade is all natural. So is rattlesnake venom. Ephedra has been tied to a number of deaths, and is now banned for sale in the United States. Don't assume that because a diet supplement is being sold at the grocery store, it's healthy.

3.) Fasting. Fasting quickly sends your body into starvation mode, and your metabolism slows down so that when you start eating again you will be astonished at how fast the pounds pile back on. And it may take a long time for your metabolism to return to normal again. Fasting will also cause your body to burn muscle for energy. You want it to burn fat NOT muscle; you don't want less muscle, you want more! Long term fasting can cause serious health damage. Your heart is a muscle, and your body does not differentiate between what types of muscle tissue it raids for fuel.

4.) Fad Diets.Trendy diets come and go. The Scarsdale Diet and the Atkins diet are a couple of examples. Although those particular diets still aren't healthy they are better than the 3 day diet, or mayo clinic diet or cookie diet. The problem with all of these diets is that they often rely heavily on changing your diet in an unnatural way and consuming mostly one kind of food, which does not give you the variety of nutrients that you need and which are impossible to follow long term.

5.) Eating prepackaged diet foods. Yes, they are conveniant, but these meals are surprisingly high in sodium and fat. Sodium contributes to high blood pressure, and people who are overweight are already at risk for high blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends not exceeding 2000 mgs of sodium a day, but many prepackaged diet foods contain that much in a single meal.