At any given time, more than a million people in the world are dieting. Most of these people are using one of the following diets: a protein diet, a milkshake diet, a smoothie diet, a low fat diet, a low carb diet or a specific food diet, such as the grapefruit diet. These are all examples of diets that are called fad diets. A fad diet is a diet that is nutritionally unbalanced and rarely helps deliver the results the companies advertise. As diet popularity has increased over the last twenty years, so has the weight of many Americans with more than 33% being obese and even more being overweight. "The obesity problem is likely to get much worse without a major public health intervention," says researcher, Eric Finkelstein, a health economist with the Duke University Global Health Institute. This information begs the question, are diets really making us fatter?
A quick fix – not a solution
Fad diets are designed to deliver near instant results. By telling us how many calories to eat or restricting us to one food group they are not teaching us how to properly nourish our bodies or educating us on how much physical activity is needed to stay at a healthy weight. These “quick fix” fad diets also put our metabolism in turmoil. Over time, the metabolism adjusts to our regular food intake so that our weight remains consistent if we are eating a healthy amount. It is called being in the homeostasis stage. When we go on diets, our food and nutrient intake is usually dramatically decrease, leaving the metabolism confused and needing to reset. After a few weeks of dieting, the metabolism resets and keeps your body at the same weight and when we return to our normal diet, not only do we gain back the little weight that was lost, but we gain back extra weight because our metabolism has adjusted to the small amount of food we had been eating. After too many diets, the metabolism loses its capability to function properly. To keep the metabolism burning as many calories as possible, get enough exercise and eat healthy foods.
Weight loss or water loss?
When we start a fad diet, we want to see results as quickly as possible. Our bodies are not capable of dropping five pounds of fat in two days so these diets make us lose the water in our bodies. We can lose water weight very quickly, making most of us think we’ve already dropped the pounds. One month later, we return to our old eating habits. Having not lost any fat, as soon as we put food into our mouths we’ve gained weight again. The result is depression, which leads to over eating. Gradual weight loss from exercise and a healthy diet is the better way to shed pounds of fat instead of water.
Most diets consist of three large meals per day. This is dangerous way of eating because we get hungry in between meals and the temptation to cheat is much higher if we are hungry. The hunger leads us to eating a snack and snacking leads to over eating and weight gain. We consume more calories by over snacking then we do at meals, thus making us gain weight on the diet we’re supposed to be losing weight on. To avoid being in this situation, it is recommended that we eat three or four small meals a day with many healthy snacks in between.
Eating without exercising
Most diets tell us what to eat to lose weight. Eating is only one half of the story to losing weight and being healthy - the other half is exercise. We can’t solve a puzzle with half the pieces missing...just like we can’t drop weight without exercising. Eliminating calories can make us lose weight but without enough calories the body digests muscle, leaving the end result of the diet being less weight but also weak and not toned, making us look flabby. For healthy weight loss turn the much needed calories into lean, strong muscle for that fit, toned look we all strive for.
“Yoyo” dieting can be very dangerous for our health. Over time, our metabolism stops adjusting to the new amounts of food or calories, and can get way out of whack, leaving us at unhealthy weights. Not only does our metabolism stop functioning properly, but yoyo dieting stresses our immune system. When parts of the body are stressed we often develop disease and sickness. Most fad diets lack vital nutrients resulting in bone and organ developmental problems if the diet is followed for a prolonged amount of time or several diets are followed throughout our lives. Within a few months of finishing fad diets 95 percent of the millions of people dieting regained the same or more gained more weight compared to when they started the diet, thus the result of a fad diet is no weight loss or possibly weight gain. For a healthy weight, exercise and healthy eating is the best option.