The fad diet has become the latest trend amongst people who are trying to lose* weight, claiming that by simply restricting the number of food choices available and by sticking to a selected number of foods or drinks, a person can quickly lose* weight – often a significant number of weight in just a week or two. The term “fad diet” does not refer to one specific diet, but rather to a series of diets – certain criteria has been specified that deems a diet as “fad”. The opinions on these diets are mixed. Some swear by these diets, but others consider these diets extremely harmful to the human body.
To provide a better overview of whether fad diets are beneficial or rather harmful, we have decided to take a closer look at these diets. We will look at what a fad diet is, what criteria a diet should fall under to be qualified as “fad”, as well as consider both the pros and cons of fad diets to help our readers have a better understanding of whether they would be able to benefit from following a fad diet or rather be at a risk of experiencing side-effects.
What are Fad Diets?
Many diets that are available today are considered to be fad diets. There are some criteria that qualify a particular diet as “fad”. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics report that, generally, any diet that promises significant weight loss* over a short period of time by restricting calories and the options a person has when it comes to eating and drinking, can be considered to be a fad diet.
According to the UPMC, a fat diet can be identified by looking for certain factors, such as:
- A diet that promises the dieter will lose* weight very fast are usually diets of this kind.
- A diet that makes promises that seems unreachable or as if it has been compiled in such a way to help a company sell their product to the dieter.
- A diet that does not provide any type of research or clinical trial data to provide back up for the promises and claims they make.
When a diet meets the criteria we have mentioned below, then you should first consider the benefits and potential drawbacks that a fad diet has for the dieter, and then make a more informed decision as to whether you would like to follow the particular diet or rather look for a healthier way to lose* weight.
The Pros of Fad Diets
Fad diets are considered to have both positive and negative factors about them. Thus, we should discuss both the pros and cons of fad diets in order to help our readers determine which outweighs which for them, and help them make a better decision if they are currently considering it to start following a fad diet for a week or two. Here is a list of some important benefits that should be considered about these diets:
- The most significant benefit that people note about fad diets is the fact that these diets tend to help a dieter lose* weight in a relatively short period of time. Many dieters are able to experience a significant weight reduction* in as little as a week.
- Most fad diets require the dieter to restrict the amount of food they consume and also limit their food intake to a small selection of foods. This might help the dieter save a significant amount of money while they are on the diet. For example, the cabbage soup diet requires a person to consume cabbage soup every day for a week. Cabbage soup is extremely cheap to make, especially when compared to the regular food a person would have consumed during the week they are following the diet.
- These diets are excellent for reducing* a certain amount of weight in a short period of time. For example, if a woman has a wedding coming up, she could use a fad diet to help her fit into her dress on the day of the wedding. If another special event is coming up, fad diets also serve as excellent ways of dropping a few pounds to look better for that event.
- By following a fad diet, there is no need to continue restricting food intake and calories for a significant amount of time. Unlike some diets that require a person to limit the choice of foods they consume and their calories for months, these diets only require these restrictions to be in place for about a week or two.
The Cons of Fad Diets
Just like there are benefits, fad diets also have several drawbacks that every person considering following one should definitely consider. Here, we will consider some of the most important drawbacks that people need to take into account when they are looking to lose* weight by following a diet meal plan offered by a fad diet.
- Probably the most considerable drawback of fad diets is the fact that these diets tend to place a significant restriction on a person’s calorie intake. Some diets require a restriction as low as 500 calories per day. This could cause the person to starve themselves and experience many side-effects that comes with hunger, such as stomach cramps, fatigue and physical weakness.
- In addition to the fact that the restriction of foods that may be required to follow a particular fad diet, people should also consider the fact that a reduced* amount of foods to consume reduces* the diversity of nutrients they consume. This will also significantly reduce* the amount of healthy fats, proteins, minerals and vitamins the dieter obtains every day. In turn, this may cause malnutrition, especially if the person is already restricting the amount of food they consume and thereby also restricting their daily nutrient intake.
- Fad diets do not offer a long-term solution. While weight can be reduced* quickly, people tend to return to their previous diet after following a fad diet – and due to the calorie restriction, they often tend to overeat when they have completed the diet. In turn, this may cause the dieter to regain more weight than they originally weighed prior to their diet.
- Some fad diets restrict the intake of carbohydrates, but increases* the intake of protein-rich foods. This may cause a build up of uric acid, which could cause symptoms of gout and, in some cases, even the formation of kidney stones.
With obesity rates being at an all-time high, the worldwide overweight and obese population are constantly looking for ways to reduce* their weight. The weight loss* industry has noticed this and is constantly bringing out new ways for people to lose* weight – but, unfortunately, the companies promoting these programs and supplements often take advantage of people who are desperate to lose* weight without caring about the efficiency or safety of the products they promote.
New programs are often promoted a type of fad diet that promises quick weight loss*, but these diets may come with certain risks; thus we advise readers to think closely and to consider the pros and cons of these diets before they start to follow the advice provided by such a program.