Fad Diets: Are They Effective?
Let’s cut straight to the short answer: no., fad diets are not effective – at least not in the long-term.
We live in an age where people are looking to lose weight quickly and easily. Social media has provided a platform for all kinds of health conversations and awareness, but along with that comes the spread of misinformation.
We may see a person on Instagram who looks physically healthy and may be promoting meal replacement shakes or restrictive dieting. We may believe that if we follow what they say, we will eventually look like them. This is an unhealthy perspective, and it makes us forget that every body is different. Something that appears to work for someone else, does not necessarily work for us all.
Fad dieting has existed for decades, dating back to the 1930s – even earlier. Fad diets have ranged from the “Hollywood Diet” or maybe eating grapefruits and/or grapefruit juice with every meal, to now, amongst others, the Keto Diet where the initial use was to treat epilepsy in children and is now used as a weight loss mechanism.
The purpose of fad dieting was to lose weight with an extremely restrictive dietary pattern. This is not to say people do not see results through fad dieting, but the results are usually temporary – causing more harm than good and often resulting in weight regain after returning to your normal diet.
What You Should Do Instead
It is very easy today for someone to claim that they are a weight loss specialist. They may have found their ideal body appearance and they want to share their success with the world. But you should be wary of where you get your advice, especially regarding your weight and overall health. Registered dietitians spend years studying nutrition, body types, medical conditions, and a wide variety of factors that contribute to weight gain and loss. These are the people you should look to for advice for a healthy lifestyle.
Instead of committing to a month of a hardcore, unsustainable diet plan, instead commit to a slow-but-sure healthier lifestyle. There is no magic food plan that will allow you to lose 20 pounds in a month safely, for the long-term. Rather, a well-balanced diet and regular exercise is the key to long-term weight loss. Rapid weight loss is not healthy and can result in muscle loss, hair loss, gallstones, irritability, and fatigue – the list goes on.
What If I Keep Gaining Weight?
Unfortunately, one of the results of fad dieting is a vicious cycle of weight loss and weight regain, frustration and even more weight. Eventually, you may find it more difficult to lose any weight at all. This is when you can consider bariatric surgery and contact a surgeon such as Dr. Higa for more information.
The Bottom Line
Talk to your doctor or dietitian about how you should approach weight loss. Introducing or restricting new foods and exercise plans can be harmful to your body and overall health. Bodies are all shaped differently and function uniquely, so you should not take someone’s success with a fad diet as your failure.
If you would like to talk to a doctor about what you should change about your lifestyle to encourage weight loss, schedule an appointment with us. Dr. Higa has over 20 years of experience with bariatric surgery and strives to find the best weight loss plan for each and every person that walks through his door.