The truth about fad diets

Jun 27 18:39 2006 Mike Taperell Print This Article

Fad diets promise so much yet deliver so little. This article tells you why and also tells you which diet to choose and which diet not to choose to lose those precious pounds the safe and easy way.

Do you want to shed a few pounds for the summer,Guest Posting or in time for Christmas or maybe lose a little for that special New Year Holiday Cruise? If you do then be warned, fad diets are about and they are looking for you!

If you see a diet that promises instant, almost miraculous, weight loss while regular diets plough on with a pound or two a week, or if the diet suggests cutting out certain foods for quick results then beware.

Regular diets are mainstream diets that are often calorie controlled and which let you lose weight at a steady rate over a long period of time. Typically you will lose either one or two pounds a week. Fad diets often work by excluding one type of food but let you eat unlimited portions of other foods and say they work as a quick-fix weight loss offering several pounds in a short period.

What makes fad diets so attractive is that they look easy to do and they match your own time scales; we all want to drop a dress size in a couple of months, we don't want to have to look a year or more ahead. That is why fad diets seem so good, who wants to spend almost a year dieting when you can lose the same amount in around a month?

The trouble is that fad diets can be a very unsafe way to diet and, more importantly, they can result in quite the opposite effect. That is, fad dieting can make you fatter - not slimmer!

The reason for this is the way that your body works. When you go on a diet your body initially uses up stored carbohydrates for energy and in the process this releases water. The water loss means that you lose initially several pounds and this looks good.

If you now eat almost the same calories that you were eating and take it from a regular balanced diet then your body is happy to see your weight slowly decline further.

However, on a fad diet you are eating way below this number of calories and often excluding whole food groups and so your body panics thinking that food is in short supply and begins to fight back by declaring a starvation mode.

Starvation mode is a special mode that evolved to protect us in times of shortage. Now your body slows your metabolism and protects, above all else, the stores of fat that you have carefully amassed over the years: quite the opposite to what you want to achieve.

But there is worse to come for protein in muscles is now used as fuel and your muscle mass begins to decline while your fat stores stay the same. If there were a famine that is exactly what you would want your body to do but, unfortunately, there is no way to tell it that this is not a real shortage.

As your metabolism reduces, so the rate at which you burn calories reduces, too and your weight loss slows. By then the fad diet is usually coming to an end and you are eager to start eating normally again.

As soon as you do, your body will begin the slow process of rebuilding muscles and also gradually move out of starvation mode but these changes take time. In that time your weight is increasing as you eat normally and, since your metabolism is still slow, the excess energy is laid down as more fat. This is the reason why you may well find that you go back to your old weight and then carry on putting on more weight than you lost.

So the end result of a fad diet is a return to the sort of person you were before but with the addition of a few more pounds. The remedy for this, of course, is often yet another fad diet with the same result, hence the reason that many women have a summer and winter wardrobe that are of different sizes!

For you, as a person, this is not a very satisfactory way to proceed but for your body this yo-yo dieting is horrendous! To regularly go from eating well to eating poorly puts a very big strain on all your body processes and can result in illness and almost permanent tiredness as your body alternates between what it sees as periods of boon and periods of famine.

There is only one way to successfully diet and that is the slow, steady and unspectacular way. Crash diets will not allow you to lose weight permanently and if taken one after another can damage your health.

So, instead of wanting to look good for a week in a few months time, why not take the long term view and decide to look good all the time by starting a proper mainstream diet and an associated exercise program. This will let you lose weight slowly, firm and beautify your body as you go and leave you looking and feeling great all the time.

Now, when it comes to holidays, Christmas and that New Year Cruise, you will always look your best and you can put the money you would have spent on the diet as a downpayment on a new outfit!

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About Article Author

Mike Taperell
Mike Taperell

Mike Taperell is a nutritionist, researcher and prolific author who writes with great understanding and clearness about health and holistic matters. He is Chief Writer and a founder of a site containing a wealth of articles, information and advice on anti-aging, fitness, food and eating, reflexology, stress avoidance and weight loss.

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