Fad Diets

With the hundreds of weight loss diets on the market, finding the right plan is no easy feat. On the most basic level, the key to a healthy diet plan is eating moderate, well-balanced meals and engaging in regular exercise. All diets recommended by doctors will include some variation on the above.

However, many of today’s most popular diets are not designed with long-term, healthy living in mind. Fad diets often promise rapid weight loss without necessarily providing long-term solutions for keeping the weight off. Diets that limit important nutrients, suggest extreme restriction of calories or omit major food groups should be regarded with skepticism.

How to Recognize a Fad Diet

While there is no surefire formula for spotting fad diets, here are a few characteristics fad diets often share:

  • bold statements that are not backed by reputable scientific organizations
  • lists of “good” and “bad” foods
  • promises of a quick fix
  • results that sound too good to be true
  • recommendations informed by a single study
  • recommendations to eliminate one or more of the five basic food groups (protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, water)
  • results based on purchasing a product
  • sweeping statements that disregard differences between individuals or groups
  • unconfirmed research.

Ultimately, you must use good judgment and knowledge of your own body to determine whether a diet is right for you. Remember, that the most effective and healthy means of keeping weight off long-term is by eating a proper diet of moderate portions and maintaining an active lifestyle.

Also, keep in mind that you should consult a doctor before starting any new diet. Your doctor can inform you about specific risks you face with certain diets.

Today’s Most Popular Fad Diets

Among the many fad diets are a few that have become hugely popular in recent times. Below is a brief summary of some of the more prominent diets on the market, along with the potential drawbacks and benefits associated with each.

The Atkins Diet

First developed by Dr. Atkins in the 1970s, the Atkins Diet is based on a fiber-rich, high-protein diet that eliminates trans-fats and restricts sugar-intake. The plan contains three phases, the first of which last for two weeks and focuses on the elimination of all carbohydrates from the diet. After this first phase, dieters can slowly start reintroducing certain carbohydrates back into their diets, according to the rules of the Atkins Diet.

The South Beach Diet

Like the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet consists of three distinct phases. The first phase focuses on restriction of carbohydrates and promotes foods high in protein such as eggs, nuts and lean meats. The second phase reintroduces carbohydrates back into the diet in a balanced way, and the third phase focuses on maintenance of weight loss. While some people have successfully lost weight by following this fad diet, there are some drawbacks associated with the South Beach diet.

Other Popular Diets

Because people respond different to diet plans, a variety of other fad diets have been created to try to help people lose weight. Some other types of popular fad diets include:

  • the Apple Cider Vinegar Diet
  • the Cabbage Soup Diet
  • the Cookie Diet
  • the Grapefruit Diet
  • the Hollywood Diet
  • the Russian Air force Diet
  • the Zone Diet.

Most of the above fad diets try to produce quick weight loss by eliminating certain foods from your meals. While some of these diets may work better for you than others in the short-term, remember to consult your physician before making any dramatic changes to your diet.