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Fad Diets, Why They Don’t Work

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Just like fad diets are repackaged and recycled in households–so are the fad messages in the media. Most recently, Congress has reprimanded Dr. Oz for promoting quick weight loss solutions. Fad diets promise quick results. You often hear about losing ten pounds in a week, or phrases like “drop those pounds with this one simple trick”. While the claims that fad diets make may sound incredibly appealing, and you may, in fact, lose weight on them, they are inherently unhealthy. Most people regain the lost weight as soon as they are off the fad diets or quit because they just aren’t realistic or sustainable. See, Saying No to Fad Diets as a Family.

Fad diets offer fast results, but they are at a great cost. Take for example the “Master Cleanse” diet, which has you drink a mixture of lemon juice, water, maple syrup and cayenne pepper for ten days. Of course you are going to lose weight, you’re not eating anything! You will lose muscle mass, shrink your fat cells and lose water weight -but those fat cells are going to be ready and waiting for you when you start to eat real food again. When you starve your body or fast more than 60 hours, it negatively impacts your metabolism –not do mention your mood. Extreme fad diets also deplete your body of needed nutrients. And once that diet euphoria passes you’ll be hungry tired, unproductive and mentally foggy.

Long term weight loss is due to many small changes that you make in your lifestyle that add up over time, not just two weeks! Changing behaviors for your lifetime is the key to successful weight management, not making drastic changes for a short amount of time and hoping it will pay off long term. I’ve worked with clients who’ve lost anywhere from 10 to 100 pounds and kept it off. But they had to work at it!

Some fad diets use science or doctors to make them look more credible. The truth and scientific principles are stretched and often physicians or celebrities are used as marketing tools. By using testimonials and personal theories, these kinds of popular fad diets trick us into thinking they are healthier than they actually are. Diets that eliminate entire food groups should be avoided unless it is medically necessary.

Fad diets simply do not work. You will probably lose weight on a fad diet, but it is not sustainable. The best way to lose weight is to start making small lifestyle changes. Some tips include eating more real whole foods, avoiding highly processed foods that you find addictive or tend to over-eat (for me I just can’t bring potato chips in the house), limit snacking unless you are truly hungry, try fasting after dinner until breakfast, boost your fiber intake and find an exercise program that works for you! Check out these amazing tips from nutrition experts that live a healthy lifestyle. They’ll share with you what works for them personally and what they’ve seen work with their clients, so you can start building healthier habits for you!


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