The Paleo Diet
Based on the notion that we're genetically adapted to the foods our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate, the paleo diet emphasizes meats, fish, fruits, and vegetables while eschewing refined sugars, dairy, and grains. When practiced well, the diet minimizes processed foods, and that's healthy, says David Katz, MD, director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center. Just don't go overboard with the meat. Bacon burgers are a far cry from mammoth steaks.
Verdict: Consider it.
African Mango Seed Extract
The Internet is abuzz with rumors that African mango seeds can melt away fat. They contain vitamins and fiber, but evidence for the weight loss claims comes from a handful of short-term studies, most with ties to the supplement's patent holder. Stronger studies are needed to make sure the pills are safe and effective. A recent review by ConsumerLab.com offered another reason for concern—some pills could contain extracts from the wrong plant species.
Verdict: Skip it.
Functional fitness classes train your muscles to perform everyday activities with more oomph. You might do arm curls that mimic lifting a grocery bag from the trunk of your car, for example, and squats—the same motion you use to pick up a laundry basket. Exercise physiologist Jason Karp, PhD, suggests you try a class if you're not interested in learning complex Pilates or dance moves and are instead looking for a practical, no-nonsense way to get fit.
Verdict: Try it.
More on Diets:
From the May 2012 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
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