When to Turn to a "Fad Diet"
Updated: Feb 8, 2019
Do you remember the 21-day Grapefruit Diet? When I was young, my grandmother used to say eating a grapefruit at every meal would help you lose weight. This is one example of a “fad diet.” Fad diets usually promise significant weight loss in a short time. There are many out there and most are not backed by research or easy to stick with for the long term. For that reason, I advise people to aim for a healthy, well-balanced diet over a “fad diet.”
But, when are popular diets effective? Which one may be the right one to try?
To kick-start a healthier eating routine.
Some find it easier to start eating healthier with a strict plan. Having a plan or guide to follow may help you get started. Most all fad diets come with a plan. You don’t have to think about what to eat - it’s decided for you. For example, the Whole 30 Program focuses on eliminating certain food groups such as sugar, grains, dairy, and legumes. The theory is that eliminating these foods for thirty days helps your body recover from effects such as inflammation, gut issues, or blood sugar disruptions that certain foods cause.
Achieve specific results.
If you want to trim up for a big event or are going for a body-builder look, the 5:2 Intermittent Fasting diet may be the one to try. Unlike most restrictive diets which lead to loss of muscle mass, it’s been found that eating no more than 600 calories two days a week and eating normally the other five days helps you lose weight and fat without losing muscle.
Lower the risk of disease.
Following a low carbohydrate diet such as the Ketogenic or the Atkins diets may help with rapid weight loss and reduce risk of disease in obese or overweight people. Consuming only foods high in protein and no carbohydrates, your body turns fat into ketones and uses them as energy. This process helps you feel full longer which could lead to overall less calories consumed, in turn weight loss. Along with weight loss, waist size has been reduced which reduces risk of other diseases.
A Vegan diet – eliminating dairy, meat, and all animal products – may reduce may risks factors of heart disease. This can be effective only if the foods chosen are whole foods, not processed.
Keep in mind, the main reason you lose weight when on a fad diet is that you are likely cutting out an entire food group. You initially lose weight and as soon as that food group is added back, so is the weight. My recommended diet - eat a variety of whole, natural, high-fiber foods in moderation. Avoid anything processed or packaged. Move often and choose physical activity you enjoy.