Fad diets are diets popular for a period of time, promising its users with certain health benefits like weight loss, nutritional advances, and other quick fixes. These types of diets, such as the South Beach Diet, Atkins Diet, and Paleo Diet, are advertised heavily in mainstream media to inform people of its “advantages” and ultimately persuade people to literally buy into its empty promises. Here are some facts and myths that will hopefully better inform you of what truly is a fad diet!
Cutting out carbohydrates and severely restricting caloric intake will result in weight loss.
Although a significantly less amount of food then you usually do may result in initial weight loss this is NOT the recommended route dietitians and specialists would encourage for weight loss. As many times it is not sustainable. Carbs come in 2 forms: simple and complex. Simple carbs are represented by more sugary foods that contain less nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Cutting back on these foods is a healthy way to increase weight loss and nutritional status. However, complex carbs such as whole wheat grains, beans, and fruits are NEEDED by the body for energy and should NOT be restricted. These are the foods that keep you energized throughout the day!
Fad diets work for permanent weight loss.
While cutting certain foods out of your diet could have weight loss effects at first when following strict fad diet regimens, many people quickly get tired of how limited their choices are and immediately regain any lost weight. With diets like these, the body’s metabolic system can be significantly shifted, resulting in an even more difficult time trying to lose weight again. Instead of aiming for extreme weight loss in a short period of time, the best way to maximize health gains are to make healthy food choices, eat moderate but still satisfying portions, and incorporate physical activity into your daily routine!
Gives nutritional advice based on testimonials of other users rather than scientific evidence.
Advertisements use those who have followed the fad diet and reaped its benefits to adhere to the public and drive the idea that “it actually works”. Often, you will see before and after pictures of people who have used the diet strategies. While these pictures could be real (or edited), the consumer still has no idea how unhealthy and calorically restrictive the fad diet user’s practices actually were. Additionally, the influence of pop culture in the media play on people’s emotions by deceiving those into thinking that “if Kim Kardashian likes it, I will too”. It’s important to note that we are all different and that healthy eating and weight loss is not one size fits all.
Forces you to buy the company’s foods and supplements rather than showing you how to make better choices at a grocery store.
What happens when you can no longer afford to purchase the expensive products provided by your fad diet advisors? Rather than investing in overpriced protein powders from a clickable link on the sidebar of your computer, educate yourself about how to correctly shop for food on your own! Fill your shopping cart with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Drink WATER and lots of it! Nutrition and weight management becomes so easy once you know what works for you as an individual and taking steps to change or maintain your current state of health, even without a fad diet kit full of eccentric powders and potions!
Article Written by: Nicolina Iorio (Nutrition Intern)