Most of us have seen advertisements on TV or social media that seem too good to be true: a diet that will enable us to drop pounds in no time. But unfortunately, many of these diets are missing something we consider extremely important: research. Here, we’ll discuss fad diets and the many reasons why experts warn against them.
What Is a Fad Diet?
Fad diets may differ from one another in how a person loses weight, but they all share similar attributes:
- They promote a quick fix (for example, a diet that claims you can “drop the weight in just one week!”). For healthy weight loss, experts say anything more than 1-2 pounds per week is dangerous.
- They eliminate entire food groups. (Low-carb diets, we’re looking at you!) News flash: Your body requires a variety of foods to stay healthy.
- They promote “magic” foods. So no to any diet that requires you only to eat one kind of food for an extended period.
- They promote detoxification, cleansing, or fasting.
- Three words: liquid meal replacement. Any diet that requires you to buy shakes to replace meals is only trying to make a sale.
- They don’t require exercise. To lose weight and to keep the weight off, you have to incorporate exercise.
Why Experts Warn Against Fad Diets
Some fad diets that experts warn against include the South Beach Diet, the Atkins Diet, the Zone Diet, the Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet, the Grapefruit Diet, the Magic Mayo Diet, and the 3-Day Diet.
Many of these diets are high in fat and protein and low in carbs, but they have no limit on the amount of saturated fats a person can eat, which can be problematic for the cardiovascular system. Likewise, high-carb, high-fiber, low-fat, and low-protein diets pose a risk to the immune system and the body’s ability to heal.
Why Don’t Fad Diets Work?
Fad diets aren’t sustainable, nor were they designed to be. These diets were designed to be quick fixes, so once you inevitably come off the diet, any lost weight is typically gained back.
These diets can also harm your mental health by causing stress, anxiety, and guilt. In some cases, obsessing about dropping pounds or dieting “rules” can lead to more severe problems like eating disorders.
How to Drop Pounds the Healthy Way
The most crucial thing to remember is that health is much more important than any number on a scale. Make it a point to eat a variety of foods that taste good and do good, including having a sweet treat now and then. Head to the gym and hop on a treadmill, swim a few laps, or join an exercise class; the point is to get your body moving and your blood pumping. And lastly, understand that your weight loss goals should be long-term.