Dieting nowadays has become a pervasive trend that stems from unrealistic expectations of perfectly edited pictures of public figures. A typical fad diet promises quick weight loss through what is usually an unhealthy and unbalanced diet. Fad diets are targeted at people who want to lose weight quickly without exercise.
An unhealthy fad diet usually restricts calories such as, The Cabbage Soup diet which is all about drinking cabbage soup. This all-cabbage fad diet helps dieters shed mostly water weight. Once the diet is stopped, the weight is usually regained. It may also cause gastrointestinal problems and light-headedness.
How then do we flag an unhealthy fad diet?
- Low in nutrients – Diet that deplete and restrict most nutrients. For instance, diets that restrict the intake of carbohydrates (includes fiber!) may cause fatigue and constipation.
- Low in calories – A diet that says 800 calories and below in a day should be flagged as a NO. At least 1500 calories is needed for women and 2000 calories for men.
- Food restrictions – Diets that say NO to carbs, NO to protein at all should also be crossed off your list!
- Gimmicks class – Avoid practices like: only liquid diet, popcorn for lunch, drink lots of caffeine or eat hot peppers to boost your metabolism.
However, not all fad diets are bad news. The Mediterranean diet has gained popularity as a healthy heart diet where it promotes the intake of omega-3 rich foods – seafoods, legumes, olive oil and also wine! Omega-3 helps in lowering bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol within the body. Other than that, the Paleo diet adopts our Paleolithic ancestors’ diet allowing only those foods that man ate when he first roamed the planet millions of years ago including fish, lean meats, fruit, non-starchy vegetables, and nuts. It is also known as a healthier way to achieve weight loss while eliminating processed foods and fatty (unhealthy) foods complemented with exercise regimes.
Doesn’t matter the diet we choose as long as it is a healthy one. A healthy diet includes all the food groups found in our food pyramid but taken in moderate portions. Picking up a healthy diet and making it a habit is important and you should remember that depending solely on dieting wouldn’t get you any slimmer in a short time. The right strategy of losing weight is always to start off with proper guidance in diet planning, a schedule to monitor weight loss, consistent exercise and positive mental motivation.
- De Lorgeril, M., Salen, P., Martin, J. L., Monjaud, I., Delaye, J., & Mamelle, N. (1999). Mediterranean diet, traditional risk factors, and the rate of cardiovascular complications after myocardial infarction. Circulation, 99(6), 779-785.
- Illingworth, D. R., Harris, W. S., & Connor, W. E. (1984). Inhibition of low density lipoprotein synthesis by dietary omega-3 fatty acids in humans. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, 4(3), 270-275.
- Rich Farrington. (2004). Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss : Scientifically Proven: The Secret Guide to Permanent Weight Loss Using the Ketogenic Diet.
- Judith E B (2011). Fad diets, Nutrition through life cycle(4).410