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University of Iowa News Release


March 1, 2007

March Is 'Fad Free' National Nutrition Month

Diet fads come and go, and some may help you lose weight -- in the short term. For National Nutrition Month 2007, the American Dietetic Association (ADA) says the most effective long-term way to achieve a healthful lifestyle is to be "100% Fad Free."

"Often fad diets are just that. They come and go," said Linda Snetselaar, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology in the University of Iowa College of Public Health and a registered dietitian. "To really achieve a nutritious diet, it should be balanced, not eliminating entire sources of nutrients like fruits and vegetables or grains. Often fad diets eliminate very important food groups."

Snetselaar explained that registered dietitians are, for many reasons, a much better source for healthy living tips than diet trends.

"The registered dietitian has completed numerous years of study in the areas of nutrition and health," she said. "Also required is a dietetic internship where skills training in diagnosis and intervention are taught in a real-world setting. In general, the registered dietitian is skilled in all areas of health and nutrition."

In addition to urging Americans to seek help from registered dietitians, the ADA reminds consumers of other simple suggestions for healthy living:

--Choose foods sensibly by looking at the big picture. A single food or meal won't make or break a healthful diet. When consumed in moderation, all foods fit into a healthy diet.

--Learn how to spot a food fad. Unreasonable or exaggerated claims that eating (or not eating) specific foods, nutrition supplements or combinations of foods may cure disease or offer quick weight loss are key features of fad diets.

--Find your balance between food and physical activity. Regular physical activity is important for overall health, plus it helps control body weight, promotes a feeling of well-being and reduces the risk of chronic diseases.

--Food and nutrition misinformation can have harmful effects on your health and well-being, as well as your wallet. Registered dietitians are uniquely qualified to communicate current and emerging science-based information and are an instrumental part of developing a diet plan that meets your individual needs.

The ADA created National Nutrition Month in 1973 to promote healthful eating and physical activity habits. With approximately 65,000 members, the ADA is the nation's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. ADA serves the public by promoting optimal nutrition, health and well-being. Visit the ADA online at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa College of Public Health Office of Communications, 4257 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242.

MEDIA CONTACT: Debra Venzke, 319-335-9647,  Writer: Brandy Huseman.

NOTE TO EDITORS: This release was prepared with additional material from the American Dietetic Association.