Do you ever wonder why we promote a lifestyle change and not a diet? Fad diets just don’t work! How many times have you started your healthy eating kick with the elimination of all processed foods, all sugar, all carbs, and basically anything that tastes good? Yeah, we have all been there. Everyday there seems to be a new “quick fix diet” in the magazines and plastered across the television. They claim results that seem just way too good to be true. And they are. When you have to give up food groups for an indefinite amount of time, it just won’t stick!
So, what is a fad diet?
A fad diet is exactly what the name implies—it is a diet that grows to popularity due to enthusiasm behind the perceived results and is usually short-lived. Fad diets are all about eliminating certain food groups to reach a desired goal. Most often, fad diets involve the elimination of dairy, wheat/grains, and carbs (whatever that includes).
Although the results of fad diets may come quick and be drastic, they are not sustainable. Within a few weeks of starving yourself of key nutrients, you will likely end up binging on all the unhealthy foods you worked to avoid in the first place.
Types of Fad Diets
There are many types of diets that have risen to fame over the years. In my next couple of blogs, I will break down the different types of diets that may appear to be “lifestyle” based but will be hard to maintain forever. For now, here is a list of some popular fad diets you may have heard of in the past. And ones you should avoid for reasons I will mention below.
- Military 3 Day Diet
- Acai Berry Diet
- Apple Cider Vinegar Diet
- Blood Type Diet
- Cabbage Diet
- Grapefruit Diet
- HCG Diet
- Liquid Diet / Juice Cleanse
- Negative Calorie Diet
- South Beach Diet
- Tapeworm Diet (Really?!?)
And the list goes on!
The Dangers of Fad Dieting
Fad dieting has many detrimental effects on your health in the short term and the long term.
By partaking in these extreme diets, you are messing up your metabolism. Going from periods of starvation to periods of normal eating (and most often binge eating), you are confusing the body’s natural response to fullness and hunger and ultimately slowing your metabolic rate. And a slower metabolism means it will be harder to lose weight.
It comes as no surprise that when you eliminate certain food groups, you are eliminating certain nutrients such as carbs and fats. All nutrients play a vital role in your normal bodily functions. Therefore, when you eliminate them completely from your diet, you are jeopardizing your health and the way in which your body will properly function.
When you step on the scale after a few days of your fad dieting and you notice the number go down, you have a euphoric feeling! However, that difference is, most often, just water weight. And although you may lose “actual” pounds in the short term, this will be hard to maintain once you reintroduce normal foods into your diet again. And with a slower metabolic rate as a result of your dieting, you will likely gain all the weight back (plus some)!
Short Term Effects
Effects of fad dieting that produce a short-term effect include dehydration, acne, depression, irregular bowel movements, and fatigue. You may notice as you begin to significantly cut calories, you will feel less motivated to take those flights of stairs, you will hit that 3 PM slump, and you will be less likely to engage in physical activity. Also, you may notice constipation.
So now do you understand why we say to steer clear of fad diets? The best way to have sustained weight loss is to make a committed and life-long change in your diet and exercise habits. Remember, everything is in moderation.