What are fad diets?
For those who are unfamiliar with this term, a “fad diet” is simply a popular type of diet which goes along with the latest trend in weight loss.
The Oxford Dictionary defines a fad as “an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short-lived”. So, a fad diet doesn’t necessarily mean it is bad for you – it just means it is only popular for a short time. In reality, if it was good for you and it actually worked then it would continue being popular.
Usually, fad diets are promoted by a person or group of people who have published a book or perhaps have some type of product to help masses of people lose weight. They also boast promises of natural weight loss, a healthier, longer life. The underlying theme for fad diets is to help produce financial gain for the predators that started them. Not convinced? Well, let’s examine the facts.
Do fad diets work?
Fad dieting has become so popular that Americans spend anywhere between $33 billion to $55 billion each year on weight loss programs and products that go along with fad dieting. This means that millions of people in America who are trying to lose weight are in turn fattening the pockets of fad diet creators.
It would be a wise decision to invest some of the profit into intense scientific research in order to see how effective and beneficial these diet programs really are. No one should have to be a human guinea pig to see weather or not a fad diet will work. If you are serious about loosing weight, you need to be armed with information and recognize a fad diet when you see one.
Two types of fad dieting
There are two basic categories of fad dieting. First there are fad diets which favor one particular food or food group over all others. Also, that one food or food group becomes the primary source of nutrition in a person’s daily diet. The problem with this type of fad diet is that when you put more emphasis on one food group verses another, over a period of time your body will be sufficient in one group of vitamins and nutrients and deficient in another.
The second type are the ones that exclude a specific type of food or food group because they are deemed as being harmful. This type of fad diet is opposite of the first type but has the same effect. When a particular food or food group is eliminated completely from your diet, your body fails to get a proper balance of all the basic food groups. The end result is a deficiency in certain vitamins and minerals.
Some popular fad diets of recent times
The Cabbage Soup Diet which is missing many nutrients that you need to be healthy. This diet has some vegetables but no fat or protein. You need healthy fats from olive oil, avocados and some fish for your hormones and brain to function. Protein is from animal sources like meat, eggs and hard cheese as well as from beans and legumes. Without these macronutrients your body will think it is starving and will slow down your metabolism which means you will lose less weight.
The Scarsdale Diet has made a come back from the 1970?s. It is hard to maintain this diet because the breakfast does not have enough calories or enough protein to keep you feeling full. You end up snacking – usually on unhealthy foods – well before lunch time. Breakfast should be more substantial than a snack and should always include some protein – try nuts with your muesli or eggs. This diet was only designed as a short term plan which is always an indicator that you should ignore it and lose weight with healthy eating.
The Hollywood Diet is basically a juice fast using some very expensive juice (about $25 per bottle). It has some benefits as a fast so you could lose a couple of kilograms quickly as you lose excess water. However you will start to use up your muscles to replace the protein you aren’t eating and you will not lose fat because your body will think it is starving.
The South Beach Diet is destined to become more than a fad. It is a pity that it takes so much marketing hype to get people to eat a healthy diet! The basis of this diet is to limit your carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice, cakes) and to eat a moderate amount of protein (meats, fish, eggs, beans, legumes, nuts). This is healthy eating. Research such as Professor Layman’s which is reported in Science Direct found that this is the diet plan that you can maintain as a way of natural weight loss.
The Dangers of Fad Dieting
The problem with fad diets is that the people who create them are out to capitalize on the diet’s popularity and have very little concern for those who practice the diet. These diets do work for some people. For others, they may not work at all or have dangerous side effects.
Many creators of fad diets put very little effort into researching the safety of their diets. These diets tend to be unhealthy and are promoted by its creators instead of being backed by scientific evidence. Generally speaking, fad diets may work temporarily for some people. Unfortunately, many of these diets often leave you with very little energy, very little protein, and a depletion of important fat-soluble vitamins and minerals essential for muscle development.
Fad dieting vs. natural weight loss
Natural weight loss involves healthy eating, exercise and natural supplements – like a fat binder or appetite suppressant. It does not include strange diets that miss vital nutrients or are so strict you can’t continue using them for a long time.
Remember though, you need exercise in your week. Also, there are some wonderful products available that help you lose the weight and keep it off. A natural fat binder like Proactol will help reduce the amount of fat you absorb. Why should you have to rely on will power alone?