It’s tempting to fall for a fad diet and the promise of losing weight quickly and dramatically without changing your lifestyle. Out of the roughly 45 million Americans who start diets each year, half of them opt for a fad diet.
Many people are lured by the appeal of dropping pounds without counting calories or going to the gym. However, there’s no magic pill or “superfood” that helps you lose weight and keep it off without adopting a healthy lifestyle.
The team at Executive Medicine of Texas in Southlake, Texas, offers comprehensive, individualized, weight management programs that are evidence-based and successful at helping men and women lose weight and keep it off.
Our team includes board-certified weight loss physician Lé Santha Naidoo, DO, weight loss coaches and fitness trainers.
Spotting a fad diet
Fad diets are easy to spot if you know what you’re looking for. It seems every week there’s a new fad diet touted as a “miracle” that will melt away fat in record time.
Fad diets can be deceiving because they often list support from experts or clinical data, but most of the time no one checks the accuracy of the supposed research.
The following are some of the most common red flags of fad diets:
- Requires no change to lifestyle
- Omits or severely restricts certain food groups
- Promises rapid weight loss
- Is temporary or unsustainable
- Has rigid rules
- Promotes “superfoods”
- Lacks rigorous research
- Says exercise is unnecessary
- Sounds too good to be true
All fad diets rely on the lure of a quick fix. It’s tempting to think you can drop a ton of weight quickly without much effort, but unfortunately, this isn’t the way long-term weight loss works.
Why fad diets don’t work
Fad diets simply don’t work over the long-term. Sure, if you drink only a liquid concoction for a few days, you will lose weight. However, the weight will return and along with a few extra pounds. That’s because many fad diets cause you to lose water and lean muscle.
These diets can also increase your appetite significantly when you do return to your normal eating habits.
Here are three major reasons fad diets don’t work.
1. Fad diets are imbalanced
Many fad diets require you to eliminate certain foods, macronutrients or even entire food groups. This creates an imbalance of nutrients, and we know from strong, evidenced-based data that successful eating patterns that promote healthy weight include a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods.
When you go on a fad diet, you’re causing more problems by disrupting the balance of nutrients your body relies on to function optimally.
2. Fad diets are unsustainable
Fad diets offer short-term results that are impossible to sustain over time. With headlines like “lose 10 pounds by this weekend,” fad diets are unrealistic and the epitome of quick fixes.
Because fad diets are unsustainable, you won’t keep the weight off once the diet is over. Weight management is a long-term issue that requires lasting changes to your lifestyle.
3. Fad diets can wreak havoc on your metabolism
When it comes to weight loss, fad diets can work against your body instead of with it. Your body is smart and has ways of adjusting and adapting to external factors, such as a drastic decrease in calories or cutting out too many carbs.
Fad diets often throw the metabolism out of balance and can cause muscle loss and reduced metabolism — and because muscle is more metabolically active than body fat, the more muscle you lose, the worse off you are metabolically.
Losing weight the right way
Long-term weight loss is possible, and our team can provide the support, guidance, and tools to lose weight, keep it off and feel good. To get started, call or request an appointment on our website to see the Executive Medicine of Texas weight management specialists.