Juice cleanses, detox drinks, Zone Diet, Paleo Diet, South Beach Diet…there’s so many different kinds of diets these days! No wonder it confuses a lot of people. Which ones work? Which ones are bogus? Instead of being helpful, it all just becomes overwhelming.

It’s simple. Anything that promises short-cuts and magic is most probably sham. While some may work at first, they are rarely sustainable and successful for the long term. Some may even do more harm than good.

Here the some reasons why we should scrap fad diets:

1. You will not get enough nutrients

Some fad diets focus on eliminating something. If you’re being asked to cut off a whole food group like entirely no carbs, no fat, liquid diets, eat only 3 things, or anything extreme like that–chances are it’s not healthy for you. Our bodies need balance so that we can get all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients we need to function properly.

Diets that revolve around consuming only one type of food, like only fat, only raw eggs, slimming pills, slimming tea, or only cabbages, are also unhealthy for the same reason as above. It causes nutrition deficiency.

2. You will get fatigued or stressed

Diets that make you extremely hungry or thirsty will not only deprive us of much-needed nutrients but will also cause fatigue and stress. When we’re stressed out, our bodies produce the hormone, cortisol. An increased level of cortisol causes higher insulin levels in our bodies, blood sugar drops and then you crave for sugary, fatty, unhealthy foods.

Also, how will you have the energy to stick to your exercise program when you’re fatigued? Instead of helping you progress with your fitness journey, this just spells disaster.

3. Your metabolism will slow down

When we starve ourselves, consume so little calories, or deprive ourselves of a balance of food, our bodies react by slowing the metabolism. It will work to preserve the little resources we feed it by going into “starvation mode,”. Instead of burning fat, your body will hold on to it for energy and fuel.

Having discussed why we should scrap fad diets, let’s move on to how and what we should eat instead. The best diet is not a diet at all, it’s a lifestyle of the correct eating habits. A lifestyle that you can enjoy and keep for the long term.

4. Eat a variety of whole, unprocessed food

Make sure that all food groups are present in your diet. Make sure you eat fruit and vegetables, meat like chicken, fish, and beef, healthy fats like avocados and nuts, and unprocessed carbs such as oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and brown rice. This ensures that you’re getting all of the vitamins, mineral, and nutrients your body needs to develop properly.

5. Avoid processed, unnatural food

Think like this: Did this come from nature or a factory? Anything that didn’t come from an animal or a plant or anything that has more than 5 ingredients is most likely unnatural and is not good for you. Ingredients such as salt, sugar, food color, and preservatives are added to this food to make them look and taste more appealing or extend their shelf life.  Examples are instant food and microwave meals, hot dogs and canned meat, cakes and pastries, candy, and so much more.

6. Practice portion control

Now that you have an idea of which foods to eat, make sure that you’re also consuming the right amount. Small, balanced, frequent meals can boost your metabolism. Eat to nourish your body, not to punish or reward–avoid emotional eating. Eat until you’re satiated and not overly full. You can determine how much to eat by considering your daily activities. Eat a little more before exercising, eat less when you won’t be engaging in any activity.

You may also either count your calories or follow hand-portioned meals. There’s also portion-control plates on the market that can be helpful. There are several resources on the internet to serve as your guide on how to do this.

Stop overthinking and complicating your life. Stick to these basic rules of eating and you should be good!