Condé Nast Digital StudioBy Shaun Dreisbach, Glamour magazine
Cynthia Sass, R.D., tells what's fast, what's healthy-and what's both.
1. A Juice Fast
Answer: No. "I have yet to know one person who has done a juice fast and kept the weight off," says Sass. "You'll gain it back when you eat real food again."
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2. The Master Cleanse
Answer: No. "Subsisting on a mix of cayenne pepper, maple syrup and lemon juice is like an extreme juice fast-but it doesn't contain any substantial food. At least with juice you're getting some calories and antioxidants."
3. Going Raw
Answer: Maybe. "All the veggies you eat certainly keep your overall calories low, but I've also known people to gain weight on raw diets because they eat so many nuts and seeds. It's also really hard to stick with!"
4. Cutting Out "White" Stuff
Answer: Yes. "Refined foods like white flour and sugar have been stripped of vitamins and minerals, not to mention fiber-which leaves you with a more compact grain that has more calories bite for bite. Cutting these out means you'll cut your total calories." It's quite possibly the healthiest, fastest way for any woman to lose weight.
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5. Drinking Milk
Answer: Yes. A new study found that dieters who consumed at least 12 ounces of milk or other dairy lost more weight over the course of two years than those who had less. How the phenomenon works isn't clear, but the protein in dairy (stick to the low-fat kind) may help keep you full.
6. Spicy Foods
Answer: Yes. "It boosts metabolism, and the more you eat, the more effect it has. It could take off up to 10 pounds in a year. I know-shocking!"
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7. Paying With Cash
Answer: Maybe. A recent study found that people who use a credit card at the supermarket make more impulse junk-food purchases than those who use cash. They also tend to buy more food.
8. A Gluten-Free Diet
Answer: No. "Eliminating gluten-a grain protein in wheat, rye and barley-has nothing to do with weight, even among people who are truly intolerant to it. You'll lose weight only if you cut calories, too."
9. Eating Breakfast
Answer: Yes. "Having a morning meal helps your metabolism and also prevents you from being ravenous later-and then making poorer food choices." The ideal meal is a mix of sustaining protein, a little fat and fiber. Think: Nonfat yogurt with berries and a little granola.
10. A Low-Carb Diet
Answer: No. You may lose in the short term, but mostly water weight. "Carbs are the body's preferred fuel-that's why they're so plentiful in nature. Eliminate white carbs, and you'll likely lose weight, but take away whole grains, and you risk mood swings and cravings."
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11. Small Meals
Answer: Yes. Nibbling something every three to five hours keeps your metabolism at a constant high and prevents the dips in blood sugar that can lead to cravings and binges.
12. Taking Adderall
Answer: Maybe. Some kids prescribed this ADHD drug may lose weight. But it can be addictive or even dangerous, and has possible ugly side effects (no sex drive, shaking, insomnia). Please, don't.
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