Graphic by Nate Barton
Fad diets seem amazing: they are simple, quick, and promise drastic weight loss. Post-holiday season, it’s incredibly tempting to scroll through Google for the latest diet that the Kardashians are promoting in the hopes of gaining that “celeb body” with minimal work. But before you stock up on cabbage or lemons and cayenne pepper, it is important to question how effective fad diets are.
As it turns out, fad diets are not only ineffective but also can be very harmful, depending on which one you choose. “Research suggests rapid weight loss can slow your metabolism, leading to future weight gain, and deprive your body of essential nutrients. What’s more, crash diets can weaken your immune system and increase your risk of dehydration, heart palpitations, and cardiac stress,” according to the article “How crash diets harm your health” by Brian Miller published in April 2010 by CNN.
Superficially, fad diets can seem like perfectly easy answers to difficult problems if you only look at the scale to gauge your fitness progress, as they can cause you to drop a large amount of weight quickly, varying from body to body.
“Much of the weight you lose [from fad diets] is from water and lean muscle, not from body fat,” according to “Nutrition for weight loss: what you need to know about fad diets,” published August 2016 by the Editorial Staff of FamilyDoctor.org. Fad diets also “may stall your metabolism, making you more likely to regain once you resume a normal diet,” according to “How does the master cleanse (lemonade diet) work” published by US News.
Fad diets often require a person to eat one single food source. For example, the lemonade diet requires people to limit their diets to lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper for up to 10 days in a row. To me, this sounds horribly tasteless and also doesn’t allow for the healthy ratio of vitamins and minerals in any given diet.
Though it requires hard work, dedication and time, exercise and proper nutrition are the keys to losing weight in a healthy way.
Follow Abigail on Twitter: @profvanhorn