Fad diets: How effective are they?

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Whether it’s the fruitarian diet, the carnivore diet, or the cabbage soup diet that’ll help you drop 2o lbs in a hurry, there are many iterations of these diets and they can all lumped into one type of diet: fad diets. You see these in magazines supported by dieticians or doctors alike, but the big question is: how effective are they?

To first understand how effective they are, it’s important to look at why we are interested in them in the first place. Part of the reason why many people say these plans are effective is due to our own innate fascination for weight-dropping diets in the first place. People have always been trying the Atkins diet for decades, and more recently the Blood Type Diet. In the end, people are obsessed with the idea of shedding weight quickly in new or exciting ways. It’s a stark comparison to what many other nutritionists suggest: counting calories, monitoring food intake, and exercising over long periods of time. It’s for this reason why many people who buy into these fad diets claim they work, especially after many see life-changing results.

These life-changing results can happen quickly, making them quite the effective short-term diet people want. We’ve seen this all before in Oprah, and even Beyoncé. However, by looking at some of those diets those ladies have taken over the years, a lot of those fad diets lacked a lot of nutrition. Beyoncé was also quick to say in interviews how she doesn’t recommend the Master Cleanse diet she used to shed weight for “Dream Girls”. We can also see why she did that as we’ve seen Oprah on several occasions lose weight dramatically only to gain it all back. This sheds light on how effective they are because a lot of fad diets provide many short term benefits, but little long-term.

That being said, not all of them are necessarily ineffective. For example, there is one particular diet called the Fat Smash Diet. Created by Ian Smith, MD, he created both an exercising regimen paired up with a diet. Provided in a book, the idea behind this diet is to go through four phases. The first phase you’re detoxing your body by eating only fruits and veggies while exercising 30 minutes five days a week. This goes on for nine days. As you go through each phase you progressively increase the length of time you’re exercising and the more variation of food you can have. When looking at this diet, there isn’t any research that proves how successful this diet can be (like most fad diets), however barring the first two phases of this diet, the plan is in accordance to many major health organization recommendations for weight loss.

In the end, it’s important to look at what’s going into the diet. For the average person, most can begin weight loss programs without much problem. However, if there are any existing illnesses, consult a doctor and look at how your illnesses match up with the diet. For example, if you have diabetes you want to avoid diets that are high in carbohydrates. Fad diets come and go from year to year, and while many are effective in the short term, a lot of them neglect how someone can maintain that weight loss. Keep this in mind when picking out what diet is best for you.


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