Steering clear of fad dieting: part 1

A fad diet is any trendy diet that promises fast and easy weight loss, like baby food diets, alkaline diets, Paleolithic diets, gluten-free diets, cleanses and fasts, etc. They're tempting, and the advertisements for the fad diets lure you in with grandiose claims of weight loss.

Just imagine, no need to worry about counting calories or exercising, just follow the rules and the extra pounds fall right off. They don't work, so don't fall for the fad diet hype. Fad diets are bad because they don't address the problems that caused you to gain weight in the first place.

Once you're through with the fad diet, you'll probably gain the weight back as you reestablish old eating habits. fad diet hype is also bad because they usually require the elimination of foods that aren't bad for you, which can result in nutritional deficiencies.

Signs It's a Fad Diet

  • How do you know you are looking at a fad diet? Typical signs include:
  • Claims of fast and easy weight loss.
  • Elimination of certain food groups or "bad foods."
  • Requires you to buy dietary supplements impressively labeled as fat burners, weight loss aids, and metabolism boosters.
  • Tells you that foods need to be correctly combined for proper digestion to occur.
  • No need for exercise.
  • Highlights specific foods, such as grapefruit, maple syrup, and lemonade or special soup.

Some people develop a pattern called "yo-yo" or weight cycling, which is losing weight, gaining weight, and then losing it again. They repeat this pattern for many years. Some experts believe that weight cycling is unhealthy.

There isn't any evidence to support this idea, but obviously with any fad diet hype, it isn't as effective as adopting a healthy balanced diet that you can follow for a lifetime.

Some diets require you to eliminate certain food groups. Some of these dietary authors claim humans haven't evolved enough as a species to eat wheat, and others say specific foods don't match certain blood types.

These are interesting hypotheses, but there's not enough reliable evidence that supports those claims. Certain health conditions require the elimination of particular food groups due to allergies or metabolic disorders such as celiac disease, but most of us should choose foods from each food group every day.

A few fad diets require you to combine specific types of foods. The claim here is that your body can't digest carbs at the same time it digests proteins or with fats. But, that's absurd. Your digestive system utilizes specific enzymes for digestion of different foods, and they don't cancel each other out -- in fact, they all work quite nicely together.

DREAM, one of the Midwest’s well-known youth mentoring organizations, provides life-changing and life-enriching experiences to at-risk youth through mentoring and after-school programs in Omaha, Nebraska, and Springfield, Missouri. Their proven approach puts children in a comfortable setting where they’re encouraged to discuss openly, learn, and grow as individuals. Are you interested in getting involved with DREAM? Contact us today.