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Do Fad Diets Work?

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Many fad diets promise fast and easy weight loss with no feelings of hunger. Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case.

It seem like every time you open a magazine or social media account, or even watch a news program, a new “miracle” diet is announced. Each one promises fast and easy weight loss with no feelings of hunger. Even though we know this is impossible, hope springs eternal and many people turn to the latest fad diet hoping “this is the one!” Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case. Sure, there is typically some initial weight loss, but if you follow any diet for a couple of weeks you’re likely to drop a few pounds.

One reason these diets lead to such poor outcomes is because they restrict or eliminate certain foods or entire food groups, like carbohydrates, from your daily diet. Their “don’t eat” list is long and includes all your favorite foods, while the “approved” list has good, healthy options that may be delicious, but don’t offer much variety or satisfaction over an extended period.

Another reason fad diets don’t work is because they assume that if you deprive yourself of certain foods for a defined period of time, let’s say one month, that you will no longer crave those foods. Really? Will there ever be a time when pizza, pasta, chocolate and wine become unappealing?? Perish the thought! It’s much more likely that depriving yourself of a favorite food will eventually lead to binging on it, and it may also turn you off of healthy foods because you felt “forced” to eat them.

What are some Bizarre Fad Diets?

How unrealistic can “miracle” fad diets get? Consider these, which some people actually followed:

  • Fork Diet: Eat only foods that can be prepared or eaten with a fork.
  • Fletcherism: Chew every mouthful of food 32 times before swallowing.
  • Magnetic Ring Diet: Wear magnetic rings to increase your metabolism.
  • Vision Diet: Eat off of blue plates and/or wear blue sunglasses because the color is supposed to suppress the appetite.
  • Air Diet: Yes, it’s what it sounds like – you “eat” air. (Note: this shouldn’t be confused with Breatharianism, where your “diet” is your own breath and some sunshine.)

To be very clear, there is absolutely no evidence to support any of these diets. It’s almost embarrassing to think people believe some of these will work, or are safe! It makes you wonder which of today’s diets are going to be on this list in the future.

Can Weight Loss from Fad Diets Be Sustained?

No. Fad diets can rarely be sustained and can even lead to dangerous side effects. More often than not, people who try them are disappointed with the results and even more discouraged about their weight. Telling someone “no” or “don’t” creates unreasonable expectations and when they don’t meet them, it creates a setback both physically and emotionally.

What do you need to do to Lose Weight?

If you want to lose weight, you need to consume fewer calories — that’s a fact. But it doesn’t mean restricting yourself to raw vegetables and broiled fish for the rest of your life. Moderation is the key. If Friday is pizza night, plan ahead with healthier dinners early in the week. Park at the far end of the aisle at the supermarket and switch the bag of chips and container of ice cream for something else savory or sweet that will be satisfying but with fewer calories and less fat. Consistent small changes can lead to big results. Taking things a step further, a structured program, such as the New Direction Weight Management System, puts all of the critical components in place for safe and effective weight loss and management.

About the Author: Dr. Andrea Pampaloni has over 20 years of communication experience across corporate, academic, nonprofit and government sectors. She provides research and writing services on a range of business issues and industry-specific topics to prepare white papers, articles, proposals, presentations, technical content, and speaking points, as well as marketing-communications content such as blogs, website content, newsletters, news releases and award submissions. Dr. Pampaloni’s research findings have been presented at national and international conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals, and she is a ghostwriter for three books, a Forbes article, and several corporate blogs.

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