Fad diets have a way of catching our attention. Chances are you can name three or four right now and have probably tried just as many—cabbage soup diet anyone?

Why are people so intrigued by these popular diets? We’ve all read the articles: Research shows that regular exercise and a nutritious, varied diet are the cornerstones of staying healthy. Still, the lure of that quick fix can be so tempting.

But there are some big strikes against fad diets. Research also shows that not only do most crash diets not produce long-term results, they can do more harm than good when it comes to your health.

What is a fad diet? Not good for your health

There’s no shortage of people willing to give fads like a juice cleanse or the lemon detox diet a try. Each year, 45 million people in the United States go on a diet and of these, half of them try a fad diet, according to research from the Boston Medical Center.

But nutritionists say there’s a reason that fad rhymes with “bad” when it comes to how these types of diets can affect your body.

Fad diet examples

The thing many fad diets have in common is how restrictive they are. Some suggest cutting out almost all carbs. Others recommend banishing all fats, even the healthy ones. Still other fads tell people they should focus on eating just one group of foods.

Experts say this unbalanced approach to eating can leave your body nutritionally deprived. A good diet contains a broad mix of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and healthy fats.

Fad diets are difficult to maintain

“The reason people initially lose weight on fad diets is because they are eating less. However, we cannot maintain that restrictive way of eating, so we gain the weight back because we didn’t learn how to eat right in the first place.”

According to research, a majority of people who successfully lose 10 percent of their body weight will eventually gain it all back plus more.

Fad diets miss the mark on movement

Fad diets are also often hyper-focused on food alone, ignoring the key role activity plays in a healthy lifestyle.

While following the diet may result in weight loss, weight loss does not equal a healthy lifestyle. Experts recommend about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise every week.

That can be as simple as adding a few walks around the office to your workday routine, choosing stairs over the elevator, or parking farther away in a parking lot.

Choose to eat healthy instead

The key to a successful weight loss is to find a plan that works over the long term and fits your individual lifestyle and needs.

Seek out a science-based, nutritionally sound program that takes a holistic approach—incorporating a healthy eating plan and an active lifestyle based on your personal factors instead of one-size fits all. And consider incorporating meal replacement products to help you stay on track. 

Weight loss solutions are not one size fits all. To achieve and sustain your weight loss goals, it is important to use strategies that best fit into your everyday lifestyle.

“This might involve eating less, making better food choices, or a little bit of both. Using tools to track your steps and log what you eat can make you more aware of the choices you are making, empowering you to identify what works and what doesn’t work in your journey to a healthier you.”

Learn more about healthy eating

The next time you hear about the latest fad diet, know that your body needs more than a quick fix. You deserve all the good food, exercise and self-care that you can devote to building a healthy lifestyle. Remember that making small, consistent changes in your routine can have big effects on your success!

Learn More about Healthy Weight Loss

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