These days it’s hard to open a magazine without reading about the next miracle weight loss program. But if these diets are so effective, why are there so many new ones?

A fad diet is a diet which usually promises a quick fix and requires little effort to achieve your health goals. It’s a trendy and popular diet regime. A fad diet also gets popular quickly and makes unrealistic promises. In many cases, the diet is characterised by highly restrictive or unusual food choices, hence it is not sustainable for a longer time, also it can cause serious health problems. Many fad diets are unhealthy and ineffective for long term. Just like any other trend they are momentary. Most fad diets are used for weight loss.

How to spot a Fad diet:

  • Fad diets can be quite convincing to the average person.
  • The author presents what appears to be scientifically valid explanations to support the dieting theory.
  • The individual promoting the diet has no formal nutrition or dietetic qualifications.
  • Excludes or severely restricts food groups or nutrients, such as carbohydrates.
  • Makes claim based on a single study or testimonial only.
  • Typically not done under medical supervision.
  • Makes promises it can’t keep.
  • Limit portions of particular foods while promising you unlimited quantities of others

Fad diets work but,

  • Work short term because calorie intake as a result of the diet is usually lower than the person’s basal metabolic requirements.
  • This is the only way to lose weight: to consume less energy than the body needs.
  • The rate of weight loss depends on the relative proportions of the 3 major nutrients in the diet – carbohydrate, fat, and protein.
  • This also includes a shift in water weight.
  • The rate of anticipated weight loss will vary according to the age, sex, weight, basal requirements, and activity levels of an individual.

Let’s get used to the terms time-restricted eating and Intermittent fasting which are used in many of the fad diets:

Time restricted eating means that a person eats all of their meals and snacks within a particular window of time each day.

Intermittent fasting refers to any diet that alternates between periods of restricting calories and eating normally.

The problems with restrictive eating can be as follows:

  • Promotes unhealthy eating habits of fasting and feasting.
  • Promotes negative behaviors-

                     -Especially on portion control

                     -Binge eating

                    -Healthy food not emphasized.

  • Adherence
  • Glycemic variability, which is bad even in non-diabetics.
  • Glycemic load
  • Glycemic Index

So, the answer is a balanced eating plan, done under the medical supervision of a nutritionist or dietician. There has to be randomised, long-term studies on these new upcoming diets to determine whether using these is going to be beneficial for the health of the human population. Any long term program of weight loss and maintenance must be more than a matter of example removing carbohydrates and counting calories. It must extend to the entire “way of life’

 

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