The last thing we need in this world is another fad diet, but I must confess I did coin “The Redemption Diet.” To be perfectly clear, I did not invent this diet, I just named it after seeing it practiced by so many people and not knowing what else to call it.
A person wants to lose weight or improve their health, but isn’t ready to make all of the changes needed to establish better eating habits. Instead, they decide to eliminate a single food, beverage or ingredient from their diet as a sign of their commitment to self-improvement. To be worthy of redemption, they must first decide that something they now eat is evil or bad for them – maybe chocolate, French fries or diet soda. By avoiding the temptation of that food, they rationalize they will be “saved.” That’s the basic premise behind The Redemption Diet.
Giving up something you love is hard to do, so most people don’t last very long on The Redemption Diet. More importantly, if that something is a food or drink that is perfectly safe, readily available, and highly enjoyable, why bother? This is especially true for diet soda, which has no calories, making it even harder to imagine why anyone would think giving it up will help them lose weight.
I have seen numerous accounts of people who have waged a personal battle with diet soda in the belief they would be a better person if they stopped drinking it. They tweet and blog about their struggle living without their favorite diet drink and count the number of days they’ve been “abstinent” with misplaced pride.
I am always left thinking they were looking for a way to punish themselves by taking away something they really enjoy in life. If I’m right, then The Redemption Diet is a sign of another problem. I also can’t help but wonder how much they were drinking in the first place, because if they felt they were drinking too much, that is more easily dealt with by moving toward moderation, not elimination. In fact, if you want to know how much low-calorie sweetener is in your diet soda and how much is right for you, just can check here.
Fad diets and food elimination don’t work as a weight management strategy. Learning to balance the calories in all of your food and beverage choices with enough physical activity do.
Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN is a registered dietitian, cultural anthropologist and scientific advisor to the Calorie Control Council, whose 30+ year career includes maintaining a busy nutrition counseling practice, teaching food and nutrition courses at the university level, and authoring 2 popular diet books and numerous articles and blogs on health and fitness. Her ability to make sense out of confusing and sometimes controversial nutrition news has made her a frequent guest on major media outlets, including CNBC, FOX News and USA Today. Her passion is communicating practical nutrition information that empowers people to make the best food decisions they can in their everyday diets. Reach her on Twitter @EverydayRD and check out her blog The Everyday RD.