The basic definition of a fad diet is any diet, diet aid, or weight loss plan that promises astonishing results with little or no effort on the part of the dieter. While these diets are not for all intents and purposes “bad”, they typically only offer short-term results, and they do not promote an overall healthy lifestyle. Fad diets tend to concentrate on one specific substance, food or food group. Some of these diets have been clinically proven to be dangerous, so it is extremely important to understand what each diet entails.
A few examples of the most well known fads today are: The South Beach Diet, Hydroxycut, The Zone, Atkin’s, The Grapefruit Diet, Metabolife, Slim Fast, and Dexatrim.
So how can you know for sure if your diet falls into the category of “fad”? A good rule of thumb to remember is that fad diets tend to come with extraordinary claims such as: “lose ten pounds in just two weeks”, or make the promise of allowing you to lose weight and keep it off without having to make any lifestyle or dietary changes. Often these diets carry numerous testimonials from clients, who are really just paid spokespeople, touting all the wonderful results of the diet.
In addition to these red flags, many fad diets also are willing to provide plenty of before and after photos of their clients, offer the assistance of weight loss experts, over simplify medical research findings, and limit your food choices but not in a manner that actually teaches you how to follow a healthy and balanced diet. Fad diets also typically require you to purchase extremely specific items such as pills, prepackaged meals, supplements, meal plans, and seminars, in order to obtain the plan’s pledged outcome.
Now that you understand what a fad diet is, the potential risks they pose, and what these diets involve, you may still be left with the question of why people nevertheless willingly sign up for these programs. The truth is, people want a quick fix. In a society that is over run with obesity, people will do almost anything, except the true hard work and dedication it takes, to drop those unwanted pounds. The companies and manufacturers of these diet programs understand this desperate need, and prey upon people’s desire to be thin, and their fear of developing the unhealthy conditions that come with being overweight.
Another reason that fad diets catch on so quickly is that many of them do provide some short term results in a somewhat rapid manner. The main reason that results do appear is because each of the diets tends to restrict your eating habits in some way. What this really does is cause you to consume fewer calories than you normally would, and it forces you to pay extra attention to your diet. People tend not to realize that the “weight” they are dropping is usually water weight or lean muscle mass, not fat. Since these diets deprive you and only allow you to eat the same foods repeatedly, the body cannot tolerate it for a long period of time. Dieters become bored and give into their cravings.
Just about every person who has tried a fad diet has gained back all of the weight they lost, and in some cases, even more! As hard as it may be, we all know the only real way to lose that excess weight and keep it off is to make concrete changes in your life. Make the tough commitment to get more exercise, eat healthier, and set reasonable goals that you can truly achieve. The process may seem long and difficult, but once you have done the hard work, you will love the end results.