Every time we log onto the Internet or turn on late night TV, it seems as if there’s another advertisement explaining how we can drop pounds instantly. All it takes is following a specific diet or workout plan. The HCG Diet, the Lemon Cleanse, Atkins, the Cabbage Soup diet — each promises immediate results, but these results may not be long term. What do fad diets have to teach us about healthy weight loss?
There’s No Such Thing as a Quick Fix
Fad diets focus on dramatically lowering calorie counts or food intakes over a specific period of time. Therefore, participants can see quick weight loss. However, most fad diets also dramatically intake your nutrient intake, as well. Focusing on eating only protein can be hard on your kidneys. Cutting your overall calorie intake, as with the HCG diet, can be dangerous as well; the body quickly enters a state of starvation.
There is No Magic Food Combination
Those who are interested in losing weight should find a diet plan that they can stick to that includes all major food groups in healthy combinations. Eating only protein or eating only a specific list of foods may help you lose weight temporarily, but won’t help you keep the weight off. Juice fasts, cabbage soup, and scrambled eggs are not your magic weight loss bullet.
Water Weight Doesn’t Go Away for Long
Fad diets that involve large amounts of liquids, such as juice fasts and soup diets, will help you lose a large amount of weight in a short amount of time. However, that five to fifteen pounds that you lose in the first few weeks may not stay gone. If your goal is long-term weight loss, it’s far better to go with slow, sustained loss of around one pound per week.
Fad Diets Can Lead to Craving and Binges
One of the worst parts of fad diets is that they dramatically restrict your food intake. If you’re like the rest of us this means that you’ll quickly develop cravings for your favorite foods — all the foods that you’re not supposed to have on your new diet. Human willpower is weak, so it may only be a matter of time before you wind up binging on your favorite foods in large quantities. This can lead to guilt, remorse, and even more binge eating. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, this may not be the best way to go about it. Instead, focus on achieving steady results over time.
Want to learn more about successful dieting? Check out Five Well-Known Habits of Successful Dieters.