Fad diets aren’t designed to help you lose weight safely and in a healthy way, but to maximise the weight loss you can achieve within a short space of time. If you want to lose weight sensibly you need to aim for a weight loss of one to two pounds a week and reduce your daily calorie intake by about 500 to meet this goal, or increase your calorie expenditure by that amount, or simultaneously do both.
Fad diets don’t take into account what your body actually needs, though, as they are constructed to help you lose as much weight as possible by drastically reducing the number of calories you consume. Whether or not you get all the vital nutrients you need is not a factor, as losing weight is the priority.
Consequently, fad diets generally advocate cutting out whole foods groups from your diet, such as carbohydrates. If you don’t get enough carbohydrates you will feel very weak and lacking in energy, you may experience mood swings and headaches, you will be constantly hungry and may crave calorific foods. It is therefore not unexpected that people succumb to temptation on such diets because they cannot be followed for very long as they deprive you of the nutrients your body needs to function.
Similarly, you will be deprived of essential vitamins and minerals if you choose to follow a fad diet which advocates eating only one type of food, such as in the case of the ‘cabbage soup diet’. These diets are generally only designed to be followed for a week or so, but it probably won’t even take that long for you to get bored of eating the same meal day in, day out.
By losing weight so quickly it’s not fat you’ll be losing, but water and eventually muscle. Fad diets cannot be followed forever as they provide you with too few calories and it is impossible to exercise complete control over everything you eat in the ‘real’ world. You might be able to eat a restricted diet for a week, but any longer and it becomes more difficult to function. When you resume your normal eating practices you are likely to gain back the weight you lost, and even worse, it will be stored as fat rather than muscle. If your weight continues to fluctuate up and down you will mess up your metabolism and might find that your cholesterol climbs, increasing your risk of developing heart problems.
It is therefore advisable to ignore the promises made by proponents of various fad diets and focus on losing weight to get healthy. This means taking a sensible approach to weight loss by reducing portion sizes, eating a balanced diet and getting more exercise. Fad diets are clearly not going to help you achieve long-term weight loss or improve your health, and thus it is worth sticking to tried-and-tested approaches to losing weight.