Most of us who enjoy food a little too much have had the desire to lose weight quickly. We feel the strange allure of the fad diet and suddenly seriously start considering only eating grapefruits for the next month, milkshakes, pecan nuts or whatever the latest flavor of the month fad diet happens to be.
In fact, statistics show that almost 2/3rds of people in the USA have tried a fad diet at some point, and most more than once.
The problem is that just like trendy clothing can make you appear to be fashionable for a little while, only to wake up one day to the fact that platform shoes and flares really aren’t that cool. Fad diets can help you to lose a few pounds quickly, but the longer term negative side-effects can be considerable.
Here are 3 Ways That Fad Diets Can Harm Your Health
1/ They are not well-balanced nutritionally
Most fad diets seem to focus on eating one foodstuff to the exclusion of everything else.
So you end up eating grapefruits or drinking milkshakes in place of proper meals.
Whilst the occasional milkshake and grapefruit is absolutely fine, it is in no sense a ‘balanced meal’ and cannot possibly contribute the required levels of vitamins and minerals that you need to sustain good health long-term.
It also happens to be incredibly boring to eat the same food over and over again.
Eating in a sub-optimal way for a few days or as an occasional treat is no problem. But beyond that it can lead to poor health, slowed metabolism and more serious medical issues if you keep it up long term.
2/ There can be real physical consequences of not eating enough food
Another common scenario with fad diets is that because they are by their very nature considerably lower in calories then you will be used to consuming, that many people experience lethargy and a lack of general zest and energy on fad diets.
A study by Mahan and Escott-Stump in 2004 estimated that 30 – 40% of our daily energy is expended on our daily activities (with the rest going on bodily functions and survival). So with a reduced calorie diet you may experience less inclination to be active.
3/ Fad dieting can cause depression
An interesting study was carried out on mice at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine where they were first allowed to eat normally, and then their food was quickly cut back to simulate a fad diet, before once more being allowed to eat normally.
The team of researchers found clear evidence that during the fad diet phase of their eating cycle that the mice had considerably higher levels of stress hormones, and also displayed depressive tendencies.
What is more depressing though is that just like their human counterparts, they lost weight on the fad diet, but then gained it all back, plus a bit more, when they were once again allowed to eat normally.
So don’t fall for the whispering allure of a new fad diet. The next time you are tempted to partake of grapefruits for weeks on end, think of those depressed mice and reach for a salad instead!