The Dangers of Fad Diets

If you’ve ever found yourself wanting to lose weight desperately, you may have been tempted to try a “fad diet” that’s generating a lot of buzz. Said diets often have dramatic claims such as losing a couple pounds in a single week or reducing the risk of heart disease or diabetes, and are often restricted to specific foods or food groups, or attempt to drastically cut down on calorie intake. One thing to keep in mind is, if it sounds too good to be true, it often is. Granted, fad diets technically do work, in that they do produce weight loss results. However, those results are almost always temporary, and cannot produce long-term results. In addition, the majority of fad diets go against nutritional recommendations and may promote unhealthy eating habits, which may in turn be detrimental to your health.

Fad diets take regular dieting goals such as reducing calorie intake to an extreme, or require you to either eat unusual foods, eat the same food items every day, drastically downsize your portions, or either eat only from or omit certain food groups. What’s more, fad diets do not stress the importance of exercise. As a result, a lot of the weight lost from fad diets is not from fat but instead from water weight and muscle mass, so any weight “lost” is quickly gained back. What’s more, a lot of fad diets either deprive the dieter of essential nutrients provided in certain foods or food groups, or introduce or increase ingredients that may cause health problems in excess. The results include symptoms such as exhaustion, dehydration, digestive problems, and malnutrition. Sometimes the deficiency of certain nutrients, excess of certain nutrients or other ingredients, or dietary supplements and pills that some fad diets introduce may even lead to more serious problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or problems with your metabolism. In addition to affecting your health, fad diets can also scam you out of your money by requiring you to purchase meal plans or video seminars that in the end have no effect.

In general, it’s best to beware of any diet that: claims you’ll lose 2 or more pounds in less than a month; claims that you’ll lose weight and keep it off without having to forgo fatty or high-calorie foods, or without having to exercise; has “testimonials” from clients or so-called “dieticians” who in reality do not have any credentials; uses “before and after” photo comparisons as a basis for its validity; restricts you to only certain food groups or forces you to eat ridiculously small portions; or requires you to spend money on prepackaged meals, diet pills, and/or video seminars.

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