We are an “on demand” culture. What we want, we want it fast, and we want it now.

We also love food. Combine all of these elements, and what we get is a whole lot of fad dieting.

There is always some new diet craze popping up, promising to be the next best thing, allowing corners to be cut so that weight can be dropped with a minimal amount of effort.

It’s tempting and easy to gravitate toward diets that eliminate certain foods in hopes of achieving rapid weight loss, and although an initial weight loss will likely be seen when eliminating an entire food group from one’s diet, sustaining that loss over time is where things get tricky.

“Some people can see immediate weight loss when following today’s fad diets. However, keeping that weight off can be very challenging, and this can lead to a yo-yo effect where weight is lost, regained and so forth,” says Katie Bellinghausen, clinical dietitian at OU Medical Center.

“People are seeking convenience to see quick weight loss. However, fad diets most often don’t establish healthy eating habits that we can continue for a lifetime, which may cause us to regain all of the weight that we have lost.”

Dropping and gaining weight quickly for prolonged periods of time can tweak metabolism, and those whose weight frequently fluctuates run the the risk of losing precious muscle instead of body fat, making it more likely to become heavier than before.

The best jumping-off point for getting started with an attractive sounding diet trend is not hopping onto Google to surf the Internet, but rather seeking the guidance and knowledge of a nutritional professional.

But that’s trickier than it sounds. Pretty much anyone can call themselves nutritional “experts, coaches or advisors” because there is no real regulation for who can use that title.

A true nutrition expert is a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). An RDN provides reliable, up-to-date food and nutrition information backed by the education and scientific research to help you reach your goals in the most sustainable way possible.

“I get phone calls all the time from people who have sat down with nutrition ‘experts’ that have been advising them to do all sorts of crazy things, like ‘prescribing’ them all kinds of supplements they don’t need and restricting their diets in certain ways that’s really unhealthy,” says Lauren Pitts, registered dietitian with Nutrition Consultants of Tulsa.

“’Registered’ means that an RDN is nationally registered, and in Oklahoma we have to be licensed with the state medical board and that signifies the background and knowledge to practice medical nutrition therapy. RDNs are the only professionals that are recognized in the medical field as nutrition experts and are allowed to practice medical nutrition therapy.”

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