Fad diets and their disadvantages
A common opinion among nutritionists and weight-loss experts is that fad diets don't work.
The reason for this is, despite how much weight you may initially lose by changing your eating behaviors, most often you will gain it all back. Fad diets aren't a long-term solution for losing weight and should be used carefully – especially if you have a serious health condition.
One of the biggest concerns regarding fad diets is safety. Some diet programs advocate eating dangerously low amounts of calories, carbohydrates or fats. And while calorie restriction can help with weight loss, most women need a minimum of about 1,200 calories per day to stay healthy. For men, this number is about 1,500, but it also depends on your weight and health. Fad diets may also promote the use of supplements that include stimulating substances or laxatives. Sometimes these can be safe, but more often than not they can be dangerous – especially if used over a long period of time or in high doses.
Weight loss and maintenance involves eating a proper balance of nutrients. It's important to have the right ratio of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Yet many fad diets promote the restriction or elimination of entire food groups, which is not healthy as a long-term weight-loss solution. Without proper nutrients, your body cannot perform basic functions at optimal levels, which may actually lead to gaining – not losing – weight.
Another problem with fad diets is that their selling points usually rely on the idea that a diet can magically fix your weight problem. But what we know about obesity and weight gain is that there are usually a complex set of factors involved that will cause a person to become overweight, such as genetics, health conditions, hormone balance, lifestyle choices and activity levels. So while a fad diet may temporarily put a bandage on the problem (with the result being temporary weight loss), it doesn't address the other issues involved.
Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of fad diets is that they aren't sustainable for any long period of time. Eating healthy is a lifestyle that is supported by choices you make every day – not for a week or a month. Any diet is not really a solution, just a temporary fix. So the longevity factor of fad diets poses a few important questions: Do you just want to lose weight temporarily? Or are you willing to change your habits for good?
Fad diets aren't inherently bad, but they should be approached with caution. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. And, as always, talk to your doctor before you start any diet program. A food allergy panel test as well as some basic blood work can give you a much clearer picture of what exactly your body needs to function at its best.