Tuesday, July 23, 2019
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Fad diets: Doing us more harm than good?

Intermittent fasting, ketogenic diet, detox diet and the baby food diet. Do any of these fad diets ring a bell?

Fad diets are all the rage, with social media and influencers being a major driver in the marketing of miracle weight loss programs to ‘look good’.  

The bad news is these diets may provide short-term results, but they are difficult to sustain and can ultimately deprive you of the essential nutrients that only balanced eating can offer.

Here are some dangers that’ll make you think twice before jumping on the next fad diet bandwagon.

A new fad diet is like an addiction. Are you a chronic dieter? Starting a new diet creates a euphoric high that gives you the hope and motivation to get your life back on track and get that beach bod. When the diet fails, dieters look for hope in the form of a new fad diet and thus what is often an unhealthy downward spiral continues.

Fad diets can be harmful to your emotional and physical health. They deprive you of calories needed for energy, making you fatigued for most of the day. Fad diets also restrict the amount of fats, carbs, vitamins and minerals your body gets and these are what is needed to function and stay healthy.

Fad diets promote ‘quick fixes’ to weight loss, when in fact, slow and steady is the best approach to take. The most effective and healthy plan to long-term weight loss and maintenance is through lifestyle changes.

But, as with many things, the simplest answer isn’t always the sexiest. Watching the scale tick down slowly over months of portion control and exercise doesn’t sound as appealing as a diet that promises to help people to drop two dress sizes by Friday.

Eight weight loss diets were analyzed:  Sugar Busters!, Protein Power, The Zone, and Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution were compared with moderate diets, Dr. Anderson’s High-Fiber Fitness Plan and the American Diabetes Association/American Dietetic Association Exchange Diet.  The other two analyzed, the Pritikin Diet and the Ornish Diet, are on the opposite extreme of many of the popular diets, stressing a very low fat, high carbohydrate, vegetarian diet. 

So, how can I spot a fad diet I hear you ask? According to the home doctor experts, here are some characteristics you should keep an eye out for.

Promises a quick fix

Promotes ‘magic’ foods or combination of foods

Makes claims on a single study or testimonials only

Excludes or restricts food groups or nutrients such as carbohydrates

Implies that food can change body chemistry.

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