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Each year millions of Americans go on a fad diet and billions of dollars are funneled into the diet industry. Are these diets largely ineffective, they are also unhealthy and should be avoided for the following reasons; the weight loss is short term, they do not address exercise, and leads to hapless health, and poor self-image.
Although the ineffectiveness of this type of dieting has been researched extensively and health care practitioners have been making statements for years about the danger associated with these diets, people are choosing fad diets over the real solutions. A consistent exercise regimen and a sensible lifelong approach to eating is what dieters need. Not only are fad diets largely ineffective, they are also unhealthy and should be avoided. These diets are only a quick fix; the weight loss is short term, they lead to yo-yo dieting, poor self-image; and they do not address exercise.
Being overweight can be a struggle. Overweight people tend to have less energy and that makes losing weight the proper way a daunting task. Therefore, it is no surprise that more and more people are taking drastic measures to lose weight. Fad diets are everywhere; some have even become household names. Atkins, SouthBeach, Sugar Busters, and The Zone are some of the most popular types of diets. People find these types of diets appealing because they promise quick weight loss but what advertisers fail to say there are no long-term benefits. Of those who lost weight on a fad diet, most if not all, regain the weight within a couple of months. (Mann 2007). Any diet claiming to melt off more than two to three pounds a week should be seriously questioned. Losing weight quickly is usually due to water and lean muscle loss, which is not healthy. The extra weight took time to pile on and taking it off should too.
However, it may be frustrating to some, having patience and losing weight slowly will actually provide a better chance of keeping it off for good. Some fad diets go to the extreme such as severely cutting calorie intake and eliminating some foods all together. This is why these diets are rarely followed for long and can lead to episodes of binge eating and poor body concept. It has even been researched that some people could have reduced the chances of damaging their body and even kept off extra weight had they not began their preferred fad diets (Mann 2007).
Another popular concept that accompanies the “fad diet” mentality is that exercise is not important. The idea of losing weight with little effort is appealing. The fact remains that exercise is the most vital component in losing weight and keeping it of long term. Managing ones weight through exercise is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of exercise. Along with exercise, and eating in moderation calorie intake can be significantly reduced (Mann 2007). Exercising regularly can help reduce the risks of many diseases and improve mood and sleep. Furthermore, a diet consisting of fresh fruit and vegetables can significantly reduce the chances of cancer (Daniels 2004). Fad diets rarely emphasize exercise because the magic solution, or main ingredient, is the diet itself. Advertisements featuring hot-bodied men and women, attributing their success to some miracle cure, are misleading and do not have any validity.
A product that can drastically change one’s body in as little as a week is simply not legitimate and it is extremely unhealthy. Yet, people continue to fall into this trap. June Daniels even advises doctors and physicians to warn their patients about the serious dangers and complications that result from fad diets (2004). More emphasis should be placed on exercise when engaging in any type of weight loss program. Fad diets are not the solution and the diet paradigm of “quick and easy” needs to be replaced by “no pain, no gain.” Losing weight takes discipline and dedication not just changing one’s life around for a few days or weeks.
The most important reason fad diets should be avoided at all costs is the health issues that they produce. Yo-yo dieting can lead to some serious complications. This is where a person constantly diets in a vicious cycle of rapidly losing and gaining weight. Daniels (2004) has found that of those who use diets with low levels of carbohydrate intake tend to gain weight much more quickly when they finally return to their regular diet because their body goes through a starvation period. Psychological issues that come with fad dieting should be taken seriously as well.
Today our children are growing up with damaging concepts about what they must look like to gain approval from society and their peers. Even worse, are the teen magazines with high volume of articles focusing on dieting and how to get a boyfriend by doing so. Dr. Jennifer O’Dea warns about the dangers of teenagers going on fad diets because of the overwhelming chances that it may disrupt healthy developmental growth (2003). If we truly care about the next generation, we must promote things such as positive body image. Perhaps the sad part is the parents who are modeling these unhealthy behaviors by engaging in fad diets. If a mother of a twelve year old is always trying the latest quick-fix weight loss scheme, the daughter learns from her behavior that attitude of instant gratification is acceptable. This can lead to poor body image, which eventually turns, into an eating disorder (O’Dea 2003).
Fad diets are misleading and prey on ones vanity and common sense. Admittedly, the power advertisement can be overwhelming. All one has to do is switch on the television or read a magazine. The messages are conflicting. On one hand, there is the ideal beauty standard and the other a host of delicious food and snack advertisements. The diet industries success should come as no surprise as they play both sides of the instant gratification fence. Furthermore, diet industries have gone so far as to publishing books in order to reach an even bigger audience. Moyad (2004) states that diet books are one of the highest selling books in this country alone. Perhaps the reason for this success is the fact that consumers are lead to believe that they can lose weight quickly in their own home at their own pace. By publishing recipes and methods, a consumer is allowed the freedom of choosing what type of low-carb or low-calorie meal they eat. This inevitably leads to an even greater unhealthy lifestyle regardless of which fad diet one chooses to follow. The lack of nutrition in which people are permitting themselves to have is overshadowed by all the products that are promoted in everyday life. Not only that, but consumers also consciously ignore the risks and threats that these diets contain.
The dangers of fad dieting are extremely important, nonetheless, they and are rarely of, therefore, consumers should educate themselves about diets. One of the reasons that the repercussion of fad diets are kept secret is, the diet industries would lose a significant amount of money and customers. Doctors and physicians warn patients about the dangers of what a risky type of diet can do to their bodies but they are ignored due to the obsession of losing weight in a short amount of time. Because of the lack of fiber and the intensification of fat, fad diets can lead to high levels of cholesterol (Daniels 2004). To some, this diet can even lead to death. In extreme cases, the obsession with losing weight can lead one to an eating disorder such as bulimia or over working oneself in exercise (O’Dea 2003). In order to raise awareness about the risks involved in fad diets, many have aimed their attention to women consumers, who make up the majority of diet partakers. Because the Adkins diet has been such a controversial diet for the past couple of years, many have begun realizing the damaging effects that this low-carbohydrate diet has but for some it is too late.
The idea that fad diets can help in losing weight in a short amount of time may seem ideal to many, and for some, it may seem like a miracle. Seen in books, magazine articles, commercials, and even on store shelves, fad diets are becoming a popular trend in the American culture. However, what many do not know is that with fad dieting comes serious consequences. Proper diet and exercise may seem too burdensome to some so the quick fix is to buy into these dangerous diets. Unfortunately, after a few weeks and a few pounds shed, one may find themselves back at their starting weight after they quit their quick diet. Although a healthy diet and regular exercise may not seem to appealing many Americans, this is a sure fire way of managing weight and promoting a healthy lifestyle. But to many, this simply will not work and therefore the diet industries will continuously sell dead-end products to millions of consumers.
Despite all the opposition and debate about fad diets, they are not going away; and there are always going to be supporters of fad diets. In the literally sense is what these diets are. Women are the biggest culprits of quick fix diets. A woman wants to fit into her wedding dress, or a teenager wants to look gorgeous on her prom night, need a miracle. If the weight comes back next day they do not care. Some of them may even be aware that all they have really lost is water. The idea it to look good for that one spectacular event . All they want is to be Cinderella for a day.
By following a fad diet, many people have truly noticed weight loss and some of them have even managed to do so in a very short time period. Mainly, fad diets work by restricting calories and weight loss takes place when calories are limited. More often than not, people who choose fad diets are looking for a quick fix (B4TEA) .
There are a few “quick fix” diets that really work The Zone diet; The Atkins Diet; The Ashram Diet; The Hay Diet; and The Blood Group Diet;
The Zone Diet reduces the appetite and increases energy by keeping the body's eating habits in the zone or at its peak. All meals and snacks are kept in the ratio of forty percent carbohydrates, thirty percent protein, and thirty percent fats.
The Atkins Diet burns up fat. The body burns up carbohydrates, when that is done, the body turns to stored fat. Withholding Carbohydrates from the diet sends them to body straight to fat burning. That is why this diet consists mostly of fatty food and no carbohydrates.
The Ashram Diet is a very low calorie diet (near starvation) example, “one boiled egg for breakfast, a green salad for lunch and a baked potato with salsa for dinner. collaborated with a very high intensity exercise regime.
Following the Hay Diet, means not eating protein, and carbohydrates together. Mixture of these two foods “appears to stop protein from being digested in the gut and can cause an accumulation of toxins.” A small amount of protein is added to this diet.
The Blood Group Diet is the most ridiculous, it requires dieters to find out their blood type and plan their meals accordingly. (B4TEA).
The Ashram Diet is truly a “quick fix” diet, and people using it should be aware that any long-term use would damage their health. There is no food giving energy, and no protein to build muscles. Despite the exercise regimen, one cannot continue on this diet for long, a few days ion this diet, one will become extremely lethargic, and it is exactly what it says, a “quick Fix.” Just looking at the diets one can easily conclude that none of them can be taken long term. The Hay Diet may seem like a “quick fix,” however, there are people who have made this their stable diet. Even though adherent is paramount, it can become one's permanent diet. On this diet, weight loss is permanent.
Granted, fad foods have come to attract heavy criticism in the contemporary American food industry. Nevertheless, it is still plausible to examine a differing school of thought. A feeling of being overweight because of an individual’s consumption of too much fat is prevalent in the American society of the day. This feeling particularly becomes apparent when, as is the case with most people, a person fails to sufficiently burn out these fats in his/her day-to-day undertakings. Arguably, such a person feels the need of a change in his/her body weight sooner than later. Among other reasons, it is the aspiration of such individuals to lose weight quickly that underline the significance of fad foods in the American society today (Weights 2009).
In another light, the fact that fad foods helps a person lose weight almost in an instant also presents another significant platform from which an overweight individual can gain a lot. True, fad foods are short-term. However, an overweight person can take over from where the fad foods leave him to maintain his body shape by regular exercising and eating a balanced diet. This would be an easier approach of losing weight than seeking to start from exercises and dieting. Most people take fad foods, lose weight, but immediately go back to their poor habits of eating unbalanced diet—a character that makes them never to realize the benefits that come with fad foods (Weights 2009).
From a social angle, the prevalence of fad foods in the society has come to make them interwoven in their lifestyle, class aspirations, and even trend. The fact that fad foods enjoy popularity in the society, regardless of its short duration, comes as another strong point of this aspect in the food and health industry. From history and social studies of the nature of humanity, such an aspect has also been part of the humanity, which, in a way keeps the society moving forward. To appreciate this, one needs to understand that any given society, and indeed humanity, does not survive on science alone. From religion to politics, it is an inherent attribute of the human being to keep his hope of a better life on something no matter its apparent insignificance. An aspect in the society that enjoys a fanatical following has always accompanied humanity and there are numerous examples to illustrate this. In Ancient Rome, there existed an unprecedented crave for fattened snails. Ice cream, newly introduced from France, dominated the 1700 American society. Regardless of the scientific and views from other prominent schools of thought in the society, fad foods have a role to play in the society—whether a health one or otherwise (Weights 2009).
Psychologically, fad foods can be of health benefit. This is in view of the fact that most of the diseases that are widespread in the American society are lifestyle based. Without doubt, losing weight is something most people have been willing to accomplish with virtually no signs of success. This mentality, coupled with the idea that diabetes and cancer among other lifestyle diseases are catching up with overweight people in the society, can ruin a person way before the actual disease acts on him. Even if temporary, fad foods can easily wash away this psychological fear. This is emphasized more by the medical notion that an ailment can fully incapacitate and indeed kill a person if it takes both the psychological and physical dimensions. Even if it is a short-timed quick fix, fad foods can take those individuals suffering from lifestyle diseases a long way. Further, a fast food like the Acai Berry Diet has been argued to be good for both cancer and diabetes (Mike, 2008).
True, fad foods are not a long time solution to overweight issues. True, there are corporations generating million dollars from fad foods. However, separating fad foods with the American society’s health issues will only serve to worsen the scenario. In any case, it is integration of both, and further research in that respect that, will come to help the situation.