Why Fad Diets Don't Work

Imagine a scenario where you could shed ten, no, twenty pounds in a few weeks by merely tweaking a minor aspect of your diet. Carbs-who needs them? Lemon juice and cayenne pepper? Who couldn't survive on that for a while? Now imagine another scenario, where you're forced to go to work each day plagued with headaches, weakness, dizziness, and overall sense of malaise. By the end of the day, you nearly pass out from the effects of dehydration and malnutrition. The dream of an effortless weight loss strategy doesn't sound so incredible now, does it?

The simple fact is, there is no replacement for the time-honored and most effective method of losing weight, which is following a nutritious, balanced diet plan. Any type of fad diet that you may use to replace this may help you to lose weight in the short-run, but it will put you at risk for a variety of health problems.

What, you may ask, constitutes a fad diet? With so much misinformation and marketing hype out there, it can be difficult to sort fact from fiction. We will help break it down for you.

So what exactly is a fad diet?

Common signs of a fad diet include the necessity of buying special meals and supplements, promises of speedy weight loss and/or the elimination of an important component of a healthy diet. It may be a juice or one type of food or some sort of home-made concoction. It may be something you eat or drink for a few days, a few weeks or a few months.

Whatever it may be, the common thread is that you are eliminating one or more important components of your diet. It may be carbs, it may be proteins, it may be healthy fats.

It is common knowledge that balance is the key to any diet that is going to be effective in the long-term. This means that you need to take in a certain amount of protein, carbohydrates and yes, even fat.

One of the most important things that any good diet will teach you is portion control, and many fad diets fail in this arena because they give you the false idea that you can eat exorbitant amounts of one type of food while cutting others completely out of your diet. This is a major reason why people lose a significant amount of weight, only to put it right back on a few months later.

This phenomenon is so common that it even has a name-yo-yo dieting. According to medicinenet.com, yo-yo dieting can lead to dangerous health conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and gallbladder disease.

So what's the solution?

This all sounds pretty dire, but fear not, for the goal of losing a significant amount of weight is within your reach, and it doesn't require any drastic actions. A balanced diet will always include lean protein, carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits, as well as healthy fats. The Center for Disease Control recommends that you eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day and limit the amount of saturate fats in your diets.

You can still have the occasional fattening treat every now and then, but the key works are “every now and then,” and you should always practice good portion control. By combining this with a cardiovascular workout for half-hour each day, you'll be well on your way to eradicating those pesky pounds.

The bottom line here is that rather than thinking of weight management as something that involves dieting, think of it as simply changing the way that you eat...for the long term. That way it is no longer a chore (and a dangerous one at that) it is simply a way of life. Only then can you expect to lose the weight you want and keep it off for the rest of your life

Read more about why fad diets don't work on our losing weight page or return to the HSG home


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