Digging into Diets: An Introduction to Fad Diets
Whether you’re out for brunch with your friends or scrolling through Instagram on your commute, it’s almost a given that you’ve heard of the next big diet that will change your life. That’s because diets are everywhere— in fact, Americans spend billions of dollars each year on weight loss products, services, and regimens to slim down with the ‘magic bullet’ that will take it all off and keep it off.
If you’ve tried losing weight, you’re likely aware that it’s never so glamorous. Weight loss is extremely difficult and often, the odds are stacked against you. There are plenty of valid reasons that people fail to lose weight— often, it’s the result of a busy lifestyle where you can’t take the time to prepare the healthy meals you need. Other times, it can be the result of costly gym memberships which you might not have enough access to. Still yet, many people fail to lose weight because they never learned how.
Enter the fad diet. These often become popular because they promise results with just a few easy steps where you cut out the right foods, replace them with others, and watch the pounds melt away. This can be attractive when most people previously didn’t see enough progress with other methods. Unfortunately, fad diets are just as prone to failure as traditional methods (if not more!). That’s why we’re here to examine some of the most popular fad diet options to discuss the right takeaways, the things to avoid, and how to successfully lose weight— the right way.
What is a Fad Diet?
Fad diets are just as they seem— specific eating patterns that promise to cause weight loss. In fact, the term dieting or ‘going on a diet’ is a misnomer; scientifically, a diet is what you eat from day to day to get the nutrients your body needs. Humans are capable of being omnivores, meaning we can eat both meat and plant matter. But, the term ‘diet’ has become synonymous with losing weight rather than your normal eating pattern made up of different food groups.
Fad diets often seek to tamper with the traditional well-rounded diet laid out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. While some fad diets prefer certain food groups that you can prepare at home, others require you to purchase pre-made meals. Some require you to take supplements or other products. Some exclude food groups entirely. In short, fad diets have a slippery definition but it’s likely that you can think of one or two when you come across the term.
Why are Fad Diets bad?
Fad diets are not inherently bad. In fact, one thing that fad diets get very right is that weight loss happens in the kitchen rather than the gym. There are pros and cons to each method— where one fad may get it right, another may get it wrong. However, fad diets can be bad when they present certain red flags like over-promising or requiring you to engage in unhealthy eating habits. Additionally, many people become roped into fad diets because they require very little sacrifice other than eating the ‘correct’ foods. Overall, fad diets lean into the idea that there’s one ‘magic bullet’ for weight loss rather than a culmination of lifestyle changes and healthy eating.
Why should I learn more?
By looking into the different fad diets and their pros and cons, you can assess each eating pattern and learn more about the pieces that make up a healthy diet and lifestyle. Additionally, by learning what makes a well-rounded and healthy diet, you can avoid becoming victim to fad diets which require more cost and effort than you can afford (with few results at the end). So, stay tuned as we dig into each popular fad diet for a closer look on what to take away, what to avoid, and how your everyday diet should measure up.
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