Fad diets usually promise spectacular benefits without having to work for them. They offer quick and easy solutions but they can often be more harmful than beneficial. Nutrition experts do not recommend fad diets for losing weight or improving health. A fad diet is one that:
- overemphasizes one food or type of food
- bans a specific food or food group
- suggests that a food or a product can enhance body chemistry
- blames specific hormones for weight problems
- guarantees rapid weight loss
- never mentions physical activity
- is short term
- does not advise people with diabetes or high blood pressure to seek advice from their clinician.
The most well-known fad diets are those considered to be high-protein and low-carbohydrate (e.g., Atkins diet) diets, and are based on the idea that carbs make you gain weight. The truth is that people are eating more carbs, but they are also exercising less. This is what makes them gain weight. These diets are often high in fat and low in calcium and fiber.
Other fad diets to be cautious of include:
- Cabbage soup diet
- Three-day diet
- Seven-day diet
- Grapefruit diet
- Metabolism diet
- Scarsdale diet.
These diets are strongly disapproved of by most medical experts and the American Heart Association. Although you may lose weight initially, you will not keep the weight off.
Very low calorie diets that do not include exercise cause the body to become less efficient at burning fat, making it easier to store fat. This means most people on very low calorie diets regain all the weight they lost and possibly more. By following these diets your body will undergo deficiencies, and will not have enough calcium, fiber, and vitamins or minerals essential for good health. You may also lose muscle mass.
Over-the-counter diet pills are considered food supplements and are unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means they do not have to prove to be effective, safe, or manufactured according to any standards to be sold. Diet pills are gimmicks and can be harmful to your health. They will consistently fail in helping you lose weight if you do not also incorporate eating fewer calories and being more active into your daily routine.
No specific food or product can cause weight gain or loss. The only way to lose weight is to change your habits and consistently eat fewer calories and exercise more over a period of time. Eat a balanced diet rich in all food groups and perform daily moderate exercise and you will feel better emotionally, mentally, and physically.