We’ve come a long way since the days of dial-up; unfortunately, so has the spread of internet misinformation. Miracle diets seemed a lot less trustworthy from spam e-mail accounts than they do coming from friends and family on Facebook. It can be hard to figure out what’s real and what’s fake—especially when a diet has blown up in popularity!
It’s no surprise why “fad diets” become fads in the first place. The promise of quick and easy weight loss is enticing, especially when we see others swearing up and down by their success. Unfortunately, a lot of these diets that look too good to be true are not only too good to be true—they’re harmful to the body!
Today, we’re breaking down the biggest dangers of these get-thin-quick schemes, and highlighting how they can hurt us more than they help.
Yo-yo dieting refers to when a person continually diets, loses weight, gains it back, and then returns to dieting—it’s an endless loop that can take a toll on the body, physically and emotionally.
Our body reads short bursts of dieting and weight loss as a sign of starvation, and changes the way it absorbs and processes nutrients in accordance, particularly if fasting is an element of the diet. This means that diets intended to be temporary are going to provide temporary results—if any.
The reason that this is such a common problem with dieting, and fad dieting especially, is that it takes long-term lifestyle changes to lose weight and keep it off.
Fad diets often tout a magic ingredient or set of ingredients that will make you shed pounds—lemon juice, cabbage, and varieties of broth have all been considered the SECRET to weight loss success at one time or another.
However, in the pursuit of a simple solution, these diets often neglect to include all the vital nutrients a body needs to thrive. It’s important to phase food in or out of our pantries thoughtfully and carefully, taking into account what you need to stay healthy: after all, the whole point of dieting is to live a healthier life!
When a person intentionally loses weight, their body responds by slowing their metabolism which causes them to burn fewer calories at rest. After drastic weight loss, studies have found that our metabolisms don’t return to their initial speed.
Take, for example, contestants on ABC’s The Biggest Loser—many of them, after their dramatic weight loss success, began regaining the weight that they had lost. Bodies are not designed for the rapid weight loss promoted on the show, and the extreme diet and exercise regimens forced on the contestants were not sustainable after the finale.
This happens on a smaller scale with fad diets: once the dieter goes back to their normal routine, their old diet and newly slowed metabolism lead to familiar results: weight gain.
Most fad diets revolve around the removal of some food for weight loss benefits. However, what they often fail to account for is the way that the body responds beyond losing weight—namely, how bodies deprived of nutrients can suffer.
“Crash” diets, which tend to involve consuming fewer calories than normal, often lead to weight loss from water and lean muscle rather than fat. Diets that don’t include enough calcium can spur muscle cramps in the short term, and bone weakness in the long term. Restriction of red meat can cause iron deficiency and anemia in some, resulting in fatigue and dizziness.
Along with the nutrition-related risks, the unhealthy habits used for fad diets and personal insecurities are a dangerous combination that can lead to disordered eating.
Sometimes, working out and changing how we eat just isn’t enough. There are a variety of reasons that a person might not be able to lose weight— some are medical and completely out of their control.
Just because a person suffers from overweight or obesity doesn’t mean that they haven’t been trying hard enough, don’t eat healthy foods, or don’t exercise. However, the harmful mentality that comes with these fad diets makes them feel like it is their fault.
Whether it comes from others or the person themselves, this negativity can have a serious adverse effect on a person’s self-worth, body image, and even physical health. This idea that trying harder and eating less is the key to everything makes people fall into unhealthy habits.
This puts them at risk for both serious self-esteem issues and for developing eating disorders,
If this blog post has left you feeling discouraged, don’t despair! Fad diets may not be safe or effective methods of weight loss, but those methods ARE out there.
The biggest takeaway from the failings of fad diets should be that successful, sustainable weight loss is all about lifestyle changes, and not about quick fixes. The best path towards success is the one that works WITH your body, and not against it.
This is what bariatric surgery is all about—giving patients all the support and tools they need to make those lifestyle changes, and resolving the medical roadblocks that have complicated past efforts. Combined with sensible changes to eating and lifestyle habits, bariatric surgery is the most effective long term treatment for obesity and its associated medical conditions!
At University Bariatrics, our passion is helping patients to achieve their goals of living healthier lives. Whether you are looking to work with a nutrition specialist or a bariatric surgeon, our staff is the best of the best, and committed to patient comfort and quality procedures.
Fad diets promise miracles without much data behind them; our practice has science on its side, and knows that it takes hard work and support to make a true lifestyle change.
So, if you’re looking to start a new health journey, we would love to help you get to your destination! Reach out and schedule an appointment today: https://www.universitybariatrics.com/contact-us/