March 2020

Be a Diet Detective: Spotting a Fad Weight Loss Diet

The new year often brings new diets promising quick and incredible results. The diet typically sounds simple: “Eat this one food and see awesome weight loss results!” or “Don’t eat this food group to lose weight!”. These diets are known as fad diets. Below, you’ll learn how to detect a fad diet and how to identify a healthful diet.

Warning Signs of a Fad Diet

  • The diet requires cutting an entire food group. There are five food groups: dairy, fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein foods. Each group provides health benefits. Dairy products are rich in calcium. Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals, and grains contain fiber. Protein foods, such as beans, eggs, and meats, help maintain muscle mass. While it can be healthy to limit the intake of certain foods, such as fried food, it is not necessary to eliminate an entire food group.
  • The diet makes outlandish claims, such as “Lose 10 pounds of belly fat in 1 week!”. Healthful weight loss consists of losing 1-2 pounds weekly. If the diet results in quick and substantial weight loss, it poses a danger to your body by breaking down your skeletal and cardiac muscle. Unless your doctor has prescribed a rapid weight loss diet, such as before bariatric surgery, do not attempt a diet with these claims.
  • The diet has unsustainable components, such as eating one specific food, like a meal shake or a particular juice. Diets that consist of one food, such as juice, shakes, or soup, may yield weight loss, but they are not sustainable. When you lose weight safely, you can lower your blood pressure and improve your insulin sensitivity, but if you regain that weight, you will lose those benefits. Always ask yourself: Can I sustain this for a lifetime?
  • The diet lacks support from science or is only using information from a single study. Before you embark on a new diet, research it! Use library search tools or the U.S. National Library of Medicine (PubMed) to find studies using the diet. Look for peer-reviewed studies with a large number of participants and results repeated by other scientists. Registered Dietitians and physicians are also excellent resources.

We know what not to look for in a diet, but how can you find a safe, effective, and sustainable diet? Look for eating plans with the characteristics below:


  1. Fad Diets | Cleveland Clinic. (2020). Retrieved 1 February 2020, from
  2. Key Recommendations. (2020). Retrieved 1 February 2020, from
  3. Staying Away from Fad Diets. (2020). Retrieved 1 February 2020, from
By: Annabelle Shaffer, BS, Master’s candidate in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at University of Illinois all Urbana-Champaign

March Webinars – RSVP today!

    • Understanding Long-term Care: Extended Care and Housing 
      Speakers from the VA Home and Community Base Programs and Specially Adapted Housing offices will speak about the programs the VA offers to veterans who need assisted living, in-home care, or adaptations to their homes to meet their health care needs.
    • Sleep and the RDN: Incorporating Sleep Education to Reduce Chronic Disease Risk
      This webinar provides a general background on sleep, how insufficient sleep increases the risk of chronic disease and makes the management of chronic conditions more difficult, and how dietitians can incorporate basic sleep education principles to help patients and clients meet health goals.
    • Behavior Basics: Laying the Groundwork for Positive Change
      Professionals working with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers are likely to encounter challenging behavior. This webinar reviews the ABCs of behavior (antecedent, behavior, consequence) and helps professionals identify the function of behavior.\
    • The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
      When you or a loved one experiences a serious health condition that requires you to take time off from work you may be eligible for Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This training will provide an overview of how FMLA may benefit caregivers and identify leave provisions for military families.
    • Women in the Military: Special Contributions and Unique Challenges 
      How do women serving in the military – and their careers – differ from other women or from men serving in the military? Join this webinar to learn about challenges facing women service members as well as the different consequences of deployment. 

Webinar Spotlight!

Welcome to the Group: Inclusion for Young Children with Autism

This webinar discusses best practices for including all children (birth-5) in program activities. Presenters define what is inclusion and the benefits of including young children with autism and related disorders in child care and preschool settings.

Here’s what participants were saying about this webinar:

  • ” I really enjoyed this series! Lots of takeaway information that can be used daily in our work with families and children!”
  • “I really enjoyed the presenters and felt that they were very knowledgeable and informative on this topic and gave great insight and understanding into inclusion and why it is important.”

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Relationships and Intimacy: Resources for Military Couples
What are the keys to a long lasting and happy relationship? We’ve compiled resources that we have provided over the years and articles we recommend when looking at the triumphs and challenges for military couples.

Factors that Influence Family Relationships when Caregiving
No matter how positive family relationships are before cancer the toll of the cancer journey can create relationship complications. Read our first article of a four-part series on changing family relationships.

What’s Included in My Gross Income?
It’s that time of year again: Tax Time. With the many different forms of income that can be received by members of the Armed Forces, it is important to know what income is taxable and what income is excluded from taxation.

Resource Discovery: Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse
Understanding how to prevent child sexual abuse before an incident happens is more effective than doing something about it after the fact. The Moore Center’s mission is to educate and conduct research to highlight child sexual abuse as a preventable public health problem.

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PSC Caregiving | Ep. 5: Parental Rights & Responsibilities

Parental Rights & Responsibilities’ is the fifth episode in our PCS Caregiving podcast series where we discuss a variety of family caregiver issues and how helping professionals can better serve military families as they PCS from their role as a spouse, friend, partner, or loved one to a caregiver.

Tune in as guest speaker, Lakshmi Mahadevan, Ph.D., discusses parental rights, responsibilities, and roles of parents or guardians of individuals with special needs within the special education system. Dr. Mahadevan briefly goes over Individual Education Programs (IEPs), procedural safeguards, and confidentiality agreements in public schools. Resources for caregivers and military helping professionals are also provided to listeners.


Fostering Healthy Transitions for Military Families with Young Children

Hope Gerde and Gayle Luze, two child development experts, share their expertise on the topic of home-to-school and school-to-school transitions for children. Hope and Gayle provide several unique strategies to help children through various transitions to promote positive socioemotional and cognitive development. Our conversation focuses particularly on how these transitions influence military children’s development and behavior. Ideas and strategies shared may be used by professionals, teachers, parents, and guardians.