Fad Diets: Fact vs. Fiction

Fad diets and fad foods are not new, and at a glance can be seemingly health promoting. Unfortunately these are rarely based on research or are based on research that was funded by a particular product as a marketing tactic.

So what's a fad diet?

Fad diets are quick fixes that promise drastic results in a short period of time, and can be anything from diet pills, shakes, detoxes, a diet plan, and more. They may cause weight loss, but they almost certainly cause the person to gain weight back and do not result in long-term weight loss.  

How many times have you seen advertisements in women's magazines or on social media promising you'll lose 10 pounds in one week, or read an article about how gluten-free is the way to go, or to cut carbs or fat out completely, or how coconut oil is magical and will help you lose weight, have baby smooth skin, AND cure diseases from allergies to HIV?

From the 1960s until very recently,  fat was seen as the enemy. Eating fat-free products *obviously* was the way to go, because eating fat obviously makes you fat, right? No. Food companies then started adding sugar in to replace fat, which not only increases the caloric value of food but also is addictive. It's more addictive than cocaine, according to the National Institute of Health. This is one of many reasons why the obesity epidemic is so high.

So what's the right way to lose weight? 

It's all about moderation. That means not cutting entire food groups out, but being mindful of the nutritional value of what you're eating, and how many calories you're consuming versus how many you are burning through exercise. The sustainable way to lose weight is to aim for 1-2 pounds a week. There are 3,500 calories in a pound, so to lose 2 pounds a week, it's best to decrease your calorie intake by 500 calories and exercise to burn 500 through exercise (or 250 calorie reduction and 250 calories through exercise). Just make sure your calories don't dip below 1200 for women, or 1,800 for men, to keep your metabolism up and running.

 In a nutshell, it's better to eat a nutrient-dense, balanced diet and exercise if you want to lose the weight and keep it off. It's a marathon, not a sprint!

P.S.- An easy way to tell if a diet or style is a fad is to check out who is promoting it. The legitimate resources are those written by credentialed medical professionals or by national organizations. If the website doesn't reference .gov or .org , be careful what you read!

What questions do you have about diet trends or lifestyles you've heard about? Hit me up at bridget@bphealthcoaching.com or ask away in my Facebook group Creating Healthy Habits with Bridget