Fad Diets Reexamined
With changing lifestyles and activity levels, obesity has been on the rise. On the other hand, the need to look fit and healthy is also on the rise. People have become desperate to shed those extra pounds. This has lead to the evolution of fad diets. There are various fad diets floating around. Some are full of fake promises of instant weight loss and some seem to really work, if followed sincerely. On closer inspection, these real fad diets have been found to have many flaws. For the sustenance of a healthy lifestyle, the diet has to be balanced. It has to contain carbohydrates, proteins, minerals, vitamins and trace elements in the right proportion. Almost all these fad diets were found to be deficient in either of these elements. This might prove to be harmful in the long run. Overload of a single nutritional factor (like salt n cabbage soup diet) might actually be more harmful than the deficiency of multiple factors.
When on a diet, it is important to note, what you are really losing through these diets and where do these lost pounds come from? Most of us intend to lose the stored adipose tissue and it is essential, to note examine whether, these fad diets also target the same. On examination, these fad diets seem to bring the weight loss, through either loss of water or muscle mass. This is bad. It is also important to examine the scientific background of a diet. It is good to know about some basic facts about weight loss, before going into the analysis of individual fad diets. Excess of carbs and fats are stored in the adipose tissue. To lose a pound of this adipose tissue, you need to burn an average of 3500 calories. These diet are low calorie ones, which help you lose that 3500 calories in a day or two. They propose different meal plans, so that you stay within the calorie consumption targeted by the diet. In this article, we shall examine the side effects or the hidden perils in these diet.
Starvation – some diets like the three day diet and the cabbage soup diet are more of a starvation diet. The three day diet targets a consumption of 400 to 600 calories a day and a loss of a pound in two days. An average male or female, having a moderately active lifestyle, requires a minimum of 2000 calories a day and this should be sourced from carbs, proteins and fats. Diets like these are low in carbohydrates and are deficient in proteins and have nil fats. Drastic lowering of calorie consumption may mimic starvation states like dip in heart rate, lowered levels of blood pressure, lethargy, fatigue, shriveling up of skin and signs of dehydration. In the long run, protein deficiency may occur and there are chances of bloating up, especially of face and feet, due to affected kidney function.
Water loss – most of the diets do not encourage consumption of natural fruit juices and milk, as they might add up to your calories. Certain special fad diets have elements, which promote water loss from the body. The acai berry diet is believed to cleanse the system by promoting expulsion of waste. This waste comprises of up to 50% of water. Though you might get lot of anti oxidants from it, you will lose lot of water as well. Symptoms of dehydration like dryness of skin, fatigue, lethargy and lowered blood pressure might occur.
Increases hunger – those diets, which restrict portion increase your hunger and may make you crave for more food. The acai which increase metabolism and cleanses system, might increase your hunger as well. The much hyped acai berry diet of the Oprah Winfrey fame has been actually advocated for weight gain in Brazil, for its tendency to increase hunger.
Bad for your thyroid – the good old cabbage soup diet brings about an instant pound loss. The ground reality is that cabbage is goitrogenic. In other words, if you have a family history of hypothyroidism and have a tendency for it, this might harm your thyroid. Not just that, it might even bloat you up.
Fatal – its not myth….it could be fatal!!! Fad diets like the Atkins, which encourage high fat diet, have an increased risk of mortality due to stroke and cardiac arrest. Consult your practitioner before going on such diets. In the long run, when the body starts burning those fats, the ketone level in blood rises. High levels of ketones lead to bad breath and can even lead to coma in extreme cases. Moreover, a wide range of deficiencies occur in these kind of diets, as they lack in vitamins, fiber and minerals.
Negative calorie diet – some greens are believed to have negative calories. This means that they use of most of their calories in burning them up during the digestion process. Greens are good, but, the concept of negative calories is a bit dubious. I would not stop you with this one. Go ahead and lots of greens.
There are many crazy diets doing rounds here. These are the evidence of the extent of craziness and desperation in the society to lose those extra pounds. The tapeworm diet and HCG diet are examples of crazy diets. The HCG or the human chorionic gonadotropin is a hormone released in the pregnant woman’s body. This is believed to cause weight loss. This does not have any scientific evidence and may lead to adverse health conditions in some. Ingestion of tapeworms is another fad diet, believed to shed pounds at a faster rate. If continued for long, this may lead to wide range of nutritional deficiencies and even death in rare cases and if stopped after a while, there is a sure chance of rebound weight gain. It is high time, people give up fad diets and get the help of a nutritional expert to chart a diet plan right for them, coupled with a good exercise regimen. This will help achieve a healthy weight loss and eliminate the harmful effects of these fad diets.