The Problem with Fad Diets

By Maria T. Pepin

A fad diet is a quick weight loss plan that becomes very popular with the public and then may fall out of favor, usually shortly thereafter. Most of these diets promise immediate results, sound too good to be true and eliminate one or more of the five basic food groups. From Atkins to South Beach to the Zone… there is always a new diet craze being marketed out there. People tend to get sucked in because they are hoping for dramatic results. However, there are many reasons why fad diets don’t work… and may lead to more harm then good. Let’s take a look:

Fad Diets typically address the short term ~ they are quick fixes. They don’t work to help you lose weight and KEEP IT OFF. You may lose weight initially, but as soon as you go back to eating regular food, you will gain the weight back. Dieticians recommend that you should aim to lose no more than 2 pounds a week. It’s best to lose weight slowly with a well-balanced diet and physical activity.

Fad Diets usually violate the basic principal of good nutrition ~ eating a balanced, nutritious meal. If you stay on a diet that only emphasizes one particular food for more than a few weeks (such as the Cabbage Soup Diet), you will likely develop nutritional deficiencies and run the risk of damaging bones, vital organs and even brain tissue.

Eating should be enjoyable. Fad diets are usually monotonous and deprive you of the foods you love, so it is almost impossible to stay on them for long periods of time. Many of these diets require drastic changes in eating patterns and result in disappointment and depression when the weight returns.

Most fad diets concentrate on the food you eat and tend to leave out an important element in weight loss… exercise! Being active is essential for maintaining weight loss over time. Additionally, if you do not exercise, the risk for heart disease and stroke increases.
Despite what these fad diets promise the public, the best way to lose weight and keep it off permanently is to make a lifestyle change. Replace your unhealthy habits with healthy ones and do so consistently. Stick to a healthy diet and balance your food intake with a regular exercise program. You need to take in fewer calories than you burn. This is truly the most effective way to trim down and get the long-term results you are looking for in a safe manner.

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