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Fad Diets are killing us....literally.

A fad diet is a diet that 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. Some fad diets claim that they make you lose fat, but it’s really water weight you’re losing.

Fad diets that are restricted to certain foods may work, but most are boring or unappealing. They can be difficult to follow long term and can even be harmful to your health.

Does the diet promise quick weight loss?

Does the diet help sell a company’s product?

Does the diet prevent you from attending social interactions or enjoying life?

If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions, the diet is probably a fad diet.

Liquid Diets- Liquid diets are usually used short term for extreme weight loss with restrictions from all non-liquid foods. While this diet does yield fast weight loss, as soon as you begin to eat again the weight will be put right back on so it lacks sustainability. These diets are usually very low in calories (500-800 calories only) and can lack fiber and many other vitamins and minerals needed in a healthy diet.

Juice or broth fasts- Some dieters try to lose weight by drinking only juice and/or broth for a period of time. Fasting (not eating solid food) for a long period of time can lead to dizziness and fatigue. In addition, your body reacts to starvation by lowering your metabolic rate (the rate at which your body burns calories). This means your body is burning fewer calories.

Keto/Atkins Diet- Keto diets are based around extremely low amounts of carbohydrates, high fats, and very high proteins. While these diets have become extremely popular lately and they do help achieve short term weight loss, this diet should not be used long term and should be under the supervision of a medical professional. Ketosis is the metabolic state where the body uses fat instead of carbohydrates for fuel. When the body lacks enough carbs, typically glucose, it burns stored fat. The byproducts of the burned fat lead to the formation of by-products of fatty acids known as ketones.

Paleo Diet- Of all the diets listed…paleo is the least harmful of them all. Paleo promotes eating clean foods as did our primal ancestors. The theory is that most modern diseases can be linked to the Western diet and the consumption of grains, dairy and processed foods. The only downside to paleo is that it limits you to certain foods if you have to be 100% strict…meaning no cake at your daughter’s birthday party or enjoying some of life’s simplest things that you love.

Potential Problems with Fad Diets

Lack of sustainability. Even if fad diets help you achieve weight loss, they don’t teach you the RIGHT way to fuel your body or sustain the weight loss leaving you unhappy and further away from your goals than when you started.

Poor long-term weight control. Many people don’t realize the toll that fad diets have on their metabolism. Constant yo-yo dieting or extremely large calorie deficits can slow down your metabolism and ruin your body’s natural homeostasis.

Increased risk of chronic disease, like heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis. Fad diets restrict or eliminate foods that have vitamins and minerals to help prevent many chronic conditions.

Now that we ruled out all fad diets, what SHOULD you do then?

Clean eating in general and following the 80/20 rule (80% clean, 20% not so clean) is a lifestyle that you can sustain for the rest of your life and help you reach your goals at the same time.

If you fuel your body with the clean food sources it needs (80%), you get to enjoy the foods you LOVE (20%) on occasion and not feel guilty about it or let it deter you from your goals. This is what I teach to all of my nutrition clients because I have seen the joy people find in their lives when a healthy lifestyle balance is achieved.

You can’t go wrong eating clean and loving the body God gave you!


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