How to Spot a Fad Diet?
Conventional wisdom about diets, including government health recommendations, seems to change all the time. And yet ads routinely come about claiming to have the answer about what we should eat. So how do we distinguish what’s actually healthy from what advertisers just want us to believe is good for us? Marketing takes the advantage of the desire to drop weight fast, and be stronger, slimmer and brighter. And in the big picture diet plans promising dramatic results, known as fad diets, are just what they seem: too good to be true. So where do diet fads even come from?
While the ancient Greeks and Romans railed behind large scale health regimes centuries earlier, this phenomenon began in the Victorian era with crazes like the vinegar diet and the Banting Diet. Since then diets have advised us all sorts of things: to excessively chew, to not chew at all, to swallow a grapefruit per meal, non-stop cabbage soup, even consumption of arsenic, or tapeworms. If the idea of diet crazes has withstood history, could this mean that they work? In the short term the answer is often yes. Low-carbohydrate plans, like the popular atkins or South Beach Diets, have an initial diuretic effect. Sodium is lost until the body can balance itself out, and temporary fluid weight loss may occur. With other high-protein diets, you might lose weight at first since by restricting your food choices; you are dropping your overall caloric intake. But your body then lowers its metabolic rate to adjust to the shift, lessening the diet effect over time and resulting in a quick reversal if the diet is abandoned.
So while these diets may be alluring early on, they don’t guarantee long term benefits for your health and weight. A few simple guidelines though can help differentiate between a diet that is beneficial in maintaining a long term health, and one that only offers temporary weight changes. Here’s the first tipoff: if a diet focuses on intensely cutting back calories or on cutting out entire food groups, like fat, sugar or carbohydrates, chances are it’s a fad diet. And another red flag is ritual, when the diet in question instructs you to only eat specific foods, prescribed combinations, or opt for particular food substitutes, like drinks bars or powders. The truth is shedding pounds in the long run simply doesn’t have a quick-fix solution. Not all diet crazes tout weight loss. What about claims of superfoods, cleanses, and other body boosting solutions? Marketing emphasizes the allure of products associated with ancient and remote cultures to create a sense of mysticism for consumers. While so called superfoods like blueberries or acai do add a powerful punch of nutrients their super transformative qualities are largely exaggeration. The way they are marketed, their negative properties outweigh the benefits in many cases like this. Cleanses too maybe great in moderation since they can assist with jumpstarting weight loss and can increase the number of fresh fruits and vegetables consumed daily; scientifically speaking though, they have not yet been shown to have either a long term benefit or to detox the body any better than the natural mechanisms already in place. So best you consult your doctor or nutrition expert in this.
Transcripted by Benazeer Elahi Munni