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Fad Diets and how they are harmful to your health

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Have you ever tried a fad diet? Then you know the truth. Fad diets are never a good idea no matter which one you choose. Fad diets don’t have scientific evidence backing their plans. Though some of these diets have been around for years they are shrouded in mystery. The health concerns they create are worse than carrying a few extra pounds. There are safer ways to lose weight. Fad diets can be more than unhealthy they can have long-term affects.

Miracle diets are typically starvation or low calorie diets. They cannot allow a person to lose fat regardless of advertisements to the contrary.2 A diet like the grapefruit or cabbage soup diet merely reduces your calorie intake. Sure, you might lose a few pounds however most of the weight loss on these plans comes from water, not fat.

Fad diets are an unhealthy way to lose weight. Most fad diets are based on personal testimony, not scientific research though they may try to make you believe the contrary. These diets have not been approved nor regulated so you follow them at your own risk. Any diet on which you eat fewer calories than you need to get through the day is dangerous. Calories create fuel for your body without enough fuel your body will eventually run on empty. A person may experience symptoms of this with a headache, feeling of fatigue, dizziness, nausea, feeling faint or passing out. A person will only be able to lose weight with low calorie or starvation type diets because when the body is not fed it believes it is going through a period of true starvation and thus will hold onto its body fat tissue for future energy needs. In other words, the body does not understand that the dieter is simply trying to lose fat and does not know if and when it will be fed again. This holds true for grapefruit, celery and cabbage soup diets amongst others based on low calorie intake. When this happens a person will only be able to lose weight because instead of using carbohydrates and stored body fat tissue for energy as normal the body will break the muscles down converting them into energy. On these diets one mainly loses water and muscle tissue not fat. It is an unhealthy way to try to slim down.7

Another fad, high-protein low-carbohydrate diets have become popular recently. “I don’t think it’s a healthy way to lose weight,” Dr Kenney says. “It flies in the face of almost all responsible health associations recommendations including the American Heart Association and American Cancer Society.” These respectable organizations frown upon the high protein- (and high fat, high cholesterol) eating plan that Atkins advocates. Most fad diets are unconventional but does it help you lose weight? The short answer is yes. “Atkins intentionally manipulates the diet as to create ketosis,” Kenney says. Ketosis is an abnormal condition that occurs when the body is depleted of carbohydrates, triggering the production of an excess of metabolic intermediaries called ketone bodies. The body turns to the ketone bodies (instead of the blood glucose normally provided by a steady supply of carbs) as its primary source of fuel. The initial result is often a dramatic loss of weight. That outcome is not so impressive, when one understands that it represents a loss in fluid and electrolytes (which contain no calories) and glycogen (an energy source) stored in the muscles along with lean muscle mass. This means that one can lose several pounds quickly on such a plan without actually losing any fat at all.

All fad diets have drawbacks some can have long-term affects. High protein diet programs put a strain on the kidneys. Your kidneys have to work extra hard to flush out the excess protein in your body which can lead to liver and kidney damage. High protein diet programs also consist of foods high in fat, which can raise your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and increase your chances of developing heart disease, osteoporosis or cancer. It may also create poor long-term weight control. One should keep in mind that the diet only works because the body is reacting to what it perceives as illness. What’s more, the “eat all you want” attitude that initially draws many people to this high protein, high fat plan doesn’t necessarily hold true. “If you don’t feel sick enough and you don’t really reduce your calorie intake,” says Kenney, “you’re not going to lose weight on the Atkins Diet.”9 Not to downgrade the Atkins diet in particular other fads can have devastating consequences. Even if you get enough calories fad diets can still be harmful.

Following the food pyramid guide your body will get all the nutrition- vitamins, minerals it needs but often a diet will disrupt this recommended structure. Most fad diets will not give a teen all the nutrients they need to grow. These diets don’t teach you healthy eating habits let alone a balanced diet. Often when a person discontinues a fad diet they often gain the weight back. Your metabolism is slowed down from being calorie deprived so when you return to your regular diet your body is unable to burn all the calories and the pounds return. Some gain more than they started with because they are binging, making up for the dieting where they were food choice and calorie deprived. Be wary of scientific-sounding claims made without scientific backing. Avoid “quick fixes.” Claims of rapid weight loss are not safe. Watch for large claims based on small evidence they can be fabrications.10

Often fad diets are based on personal testimony instead of scientific research. Fad diets can be more than unhealthy they can have long-term affects. Attempting to lose weight through a fad diet can be more harm to your body than good. Fad diets are unconventional and unsafe; there are safer ways to lose weight.

Sources for Fad Diet Essay:

2 http://www.about-obesity.com/html/the-truth-about-fad-diets.php3

3 Current Health2 Volume 30, No.1 September 2003. Page 17.

4 http://kidshealth.org/teen/food_fitness/dieting/diet_myths.html

5 http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/womenshealth/features/dietmyths.htm

6 http://www.primusweb.com/fitnesspartner/library/nutrition/factfict1.htm

7 http://www.weight-loss-diet-center.com/fad-diets.html

8 http://www.weight-loss-diet-center.com/fad-diets.html

9 http://www.weight-loss-diet-center.com/fad-diets.html

10 http://www.about-obesity.com/html/the-truth-about-fad-diets.php3

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