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I'm thinking about trying one of those "on-line" diet programs. Do you have any advice on whether this is an effective approach?

Online diets have been found to have the advantage of users being more comfortable in reporting "what they really ate." However, the same buyer-beware strategies apply to online diets as do all diets:

1. Only use plans that provide the counsel of a registered dietitian--you want a nutrition professional with national credentials giving you safe, sound advice.

2. Avoid any plans that advocate dietary supplements--often purchased directly at the online site. An unethical profit motive is often at work here.

3. Steer clear of any diets that promise "fast, easy" results, rapid weight loss, or the need to avoid whole food groups. Losing weight (fat) takes time. The ideal is losing no more than one to pounds per week through sensible, delicious, nutritious eating--including all the foods you love--in moderation, in combination with increased physical activity.

4. Compare prices of online services to weight loss programs through local hospitals. Some people do better connecting with a real life person/group.

Melinda Hemmelgarn, M.S., R.D., Former Nutritional Sciences Specialist, University of Missouri-Columbia

University of Missouri Extension Site Administrator: 

Last updated:06/17/2015
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