What is a fad diet?
A fad diet is supposed to be a magic diet which makes incredible and unrealistic claims particularly for weight management. These diets are usually unhealthy unbalanced diets and cause more harm than good when followed long term.
Do fad diets work?
How will you recognize a fad diet? Here are some guidelines for fad diets.
Stay away from diets or diet products that claim any of the following:
- Quick ways to lose weight
- How to lose belly fat instantly
- Fast weight loss (Be suspicious of anything that claims a weight loss more than 1-2 pounds a week)
- Quick fix diet
- Magic diet foods
- Secret slimming techniques
- Weight Loss without exercise
- Show “before” and “after” pictures of a fat lady and a slim model.
- Display testimonials of success stories from clients
- Get “expert” dietitians and nutritionists to endorse their brand/ special diet. It is wise to understand that these people probably paid to advertise their product or weight loss diet plan.
- Base conclusions from1 or 2 scientific researches to support their thoughts, which may not comply with majority of the complex scientific research studies.
- Ask you to eat only certain types of food and eliminate some other foods. Do not encourage you to eat a balanced diet and food variety. E.g. an exclusive low carb diet or an exclusive high protein diet eliminating fats or carbs completely.
- Require you to spend exorbitant amount of money on pills, prepackaged meals and food products to enable their magic diet to work for you.
Such offers are tempting to follow and sound too good to be true and they are! Be wary of them.
Why are fad diets so popular if they do not work?
Those who promote fad diets often take advantage of the insecure mentality of people. Many people are desperate to lose weight because they want to avoid obesity-linked diseases or they want to feel good about themselves. Companies capitalize on this mentality and intend to make big bucks on this outlook.
They promise quick fix diets and magic pills to help you loose weight instantly.
Most people do not have the strong will-power to stick to a healthy diet plan or focus on eating the right foods or avoiding the wrong foods. It requires effort and dedication to follow a regular exercise plan and cultivate healthy eating habits in the long term. The idea of a quick fix diet which gives instant weight loss sounds more appealing rather than a long term fitness program and a planned diet plan.
Popularity of fad diets is high because many of them work when followed for a short duration. This happens because first of all, just focusing on the foods you eat particularly when you want to lose weight, automatically helps you cut down calories. Also, exclusive intake of some foods and elimination of other foods causes water loss and lean muscle tissue breakdown rather than fat loss in the body. Also special food combinations rather than a balanced diet sounds fancy but in reality results in far lesser calorie intake than what is acceptable resulting in weight loss than would occur similar to ‘fasting’ due to deprivation of calories and nutrients.
Weight loss diets for women should focus on slow gradual sustained weight loss rather than instant weight loss through diet gimmicks. Most people are not able to cope with the demands of a rigid and restrictive diet plan (such as a fad diet) which cuts down food choices. Eating the same foods over and over again is tedious and people who follow a fad diet, usually end up with weight gain much more than what they may have lost. If this cycle (of fad diet followed by binge eating) repeats a number of times, the person goes into the vicious yo-yo syndrome. This means losing weight (fat loss) the next time becomes even more difficult.