Fad diets: The New Year’s resolution’s worst enemy
Has that New Year's resolution to lose weight already fallen by the wayside? It may help you to know you aren't alone. According to U.S. News & World Report, a whopping 80 percent of New Year's resolutions fail by February.
The Boston Medical Center says of an estimated 45 million Americans who go on a diet annually, 50% use fad diets. Imagine being able to lose weight without counting calories or exercising -- just follow the rules and the weight will just start falling off. Sound too good to be true? It usually is! Unfortunately, no pill, powder, or foods can magically burn fat. No super food is going to alter your genetic code, and your blood type can't affect your diet.
Although fad diets have been proven not to work many times over, people are always looking for a quick fix.
How to spot a fad diet
Here are some telltale signs:
- Claims of fast and easy weight loss
- Eliminates certain food groups or "bad foods"
- Requires the purchase of dietary supplements labeled as fat burners, metabolism boosters, or weight loss aids
- Highlights specific foods, such as grapefruit, maple syrup, or special soup
- Doesn't require exercise
- Tells you that certain foods need to be correctly combined for proper digestion
Why they don't work
Fad diets become popular because they sometimes work for a short time - weight does come off, but it's usually from loss of water or lean muscle. While you may lose a decent amount of weight initially, the restrictions imposed by fad diets are unhealthy and unrealistic to maintain - ultimately leading to failure.
These diet plans can leave you tired, hungry and weak. Often, after people deprive themselves of food for so long, they end up binge eating, which - you guessed it - results in weight gain. The other problem with fad diets is they can cause nutritional deficiencies and lead to a host of additional health problems, including negatively impacting hormonal health and metabolism. Diets affect mental health, too, by causing stress, guilt, and anxiety over food choices.
Instead, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is less about short-term dietary changes and more about developing healthy lifestyle choices. That includes nutritious eating, regular physical activity, and balancing calorie consumption with the number of calories your body uses. Eating whole, healthy foods, having treats in moderation, and adding more activity to your life will go a long way toward helping you obtain and maintain a healthier lifestyle.