It’s human nature to always look for the easiest, fastest and most cost-efficient manner to accomplish things in life. Dieting and weight loss are certainly no exception to the case.
Any person who has ever struggled with their weight or attempted a fat loss journey has looked for any type of shortcut that could speed up fat loss and whip them into shape as quickly and effortlessly as possible.
Enter the Quick-Fix Fad Diet!
You’ve likely come across any number of fad diets over the years, there certainly isn’t a shortage of them floating around. As a matter of fact, a new one will probably splattered all over the TV and afternoon talk shows by the end of this week!
Rather than get into each and every fad diet, which would take up WAY too much time and space, this article provides a summary of what’s wrong with fad diets and how to avoid them should you ever cross paths with them.
What to Watch Out For
Fad diets make their money by selling rapid weight loss based off “miracle” supplements, tricks, and gimmicks. All of these are sold as whisking away the pounds in no time at all. This will allow you to make a splash at your next big social outing without having to sweat the small stuff or stress about proper diet and exercise.
Unfortunately, these gimmicks and selling points rarely, if ever, work. Fad diets vary according to their own unique tricks and promises, but they all share some common red flags that you should be on the lookout for:
Outrageous claims of rapid weight loss
You’ll see claims such as “Lose 14 pounds in 4 days” or “gain 10 pounds of muscle in two weeks”. These claims promise results at an unrealistic pace, and seem too good to be true.
Extreme Rules and Guidelines
Drastic reductions in overall calories or particular macronutrients (i.e. carbohydrates). This can result in the diet advocating the elimination of entire food groups, such as legumes, grains, fats, etc.
Labeling foods as good and bad
Similar to the above point, this takes certain foods and marks them as “good” while labeling others as “bad.” A common example of this is that bread is “bad” and meat is “good.” This can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food and possibly progress to an eating disorder. No whole food is inherently bad, remember, everything in moderation.
Fad diets are often based off a single, heavily influenced study that hasn’t been widely reviewed or tested across numerous groups of individuals.
These are easiest to identify. You’ve no doubt seen on the news or a magazine cover some celerity touting the benefits on new diet they’re on which got them “movie ready” in record time.
Why Are Fad Diets Popular?
There are loads of reasons why fad diets have been popular and will continue to garner attention year in and year out. The most common reasons they are so popular are due to the following:
Rapid Weight Loss
We live in a right here, right now society that wants immediate results. No longer do people want to take the time to go on a slow, controlled, sustainable, and HEALTHY weight loss journey. People want the the pounds to fly off now, not in four or six weeks or at a slow and steady pace.
By this we mean, eliminating a food or entire group of foods. The promise of rapid weight loss by simply not eating a particular food or group of foods sounds appealing to people wanting to lose weight. Rather than have to exercise and revamp their nutrition, most would rather not eat bread or gluten or fats and think they can magically slim down.
Elimination is a shortcut that appeals to most people as it takes away some of the work and effort that goes along with dieting.
The media glamorizes actors, singers, comedians, and athletes. Who wouldn’t want to look like them? They’re always in the spotlight, so what better way to get to where they are and look like them than by trying out the diet they claim got them the body they currently have?
Sadly, peer pressure didn’t cease to exist when you left high school. It still rears its ugly head in adult life as well. If you see a bunch of coworkers, friends, family members jumping on the bandwagon of some new fad diet, don’t be tempted to join them because they’re pressuring you.
The most important question to ask yourself when looking at a particular diet is not whether it’s effective, but is it safe and sustainable for your lifestyle. If the diet says you have to eat cabbage 5 times a day, but you can’t stand the taste of it, how likely do you think it is that you will stick to it?
Many of these fad diets will drop pounds in the short term. This is usually attributed to drastic caloric reduction or water weight loss. However, they are not feasible for long term success.
Should you decide to try a fad diet for a few days or weeks, here are some questions that you need to seriously consider:
- Am I eating enough calories for my level of activity?
- Am I consuming adequate protein?
- Am I eating enough fats?
- Am I getting enough micronutrients?
- Does the diet eliminate entire food groups?
- Am I noticing any dizziness, fatigue, malaise, muscle cramping?
- Am I experiencing any fatigue, cramping, dizziness, malaise, etc.?
- Is this sustainable for longer than a few days?
Answering these questions with an open and honest mind will help you determine if a particular diet is the real deal or just another fad diet intended to make the author a quick buck..
There’s no need to eliminate entire food groups or concoct some magical gloopy drink to lose weight. Losing weight doesn’t have to be stressful or complicated like many seem to feel it is. Start with a small caloric deficit and a proven exercise plan and you will see results in the mirror and on the scale. Don’t be one of the countless victims of the constant on a diet, off a diet crowd that bounces from one fad to another to another all in the hopes of a quick fix.