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Do Fad Diets Really Work?

Many of us are always looking for the easiest way to lose a few extra pounds. Whether you are trying to slim down for beach season, or trying to fit into a “slightly too tight” wedding dress, dieting seems like the best option. Although healthy eating and exercise are the best ways to lose weight, fad diets sound appealing with their promises of overnight success, but which ones really work and which ones will leave you disappointed?

What is a Fad Diet?

A fad diet can be defined as any diet that promises quick weight loss through a diet that is considered unhealthy or unbalanced. Fad diets are usually targeted at those who want a “quick fix” to weight loss and don’t really like to exercise. While some dieters claim to lose weight overnight with a fad diet, it isn’t always fat that they are losing, but water weight instead.

So why are fad diets so appealing if there are many claims showing that they are not that effective? This is because some fad diets do work. The ones that restrict certain foods or the amount of calories one consumes will cause the body to burn fat but the diet must include exercise. That, and the sometimes-bland food choices, make fad diets difficult to follow for more than a month or so. Factor in the fact that fad diets could be harmful to your health and you have to question why eating right and exercising frequently aren’t chosen.

Determining if Your Diet is a Fad Diet

To determine if a diet you are considering is a fad diet, you should ask yourself these questions:

Does it promise quick weight loss?

Does it sound too good to be true?

Does it help sell a company’s product?

Does it lack valid scientific research to support its claims?

If you answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, the diet is probably a fad diet. There are many fad diets to choose from and when most people choose one, they look for the diet that sounds easiest or that offers the foods they like best. This is one reason that many people fail when dieting. They want to still eat the same way that they are used to and lose weight.

Some Common Examples of Fad Diets

There are many different fad diets to choose from and some are better than others at effectively helping you to lose weight. Here are some of the more popular fad diets in the UK.

High-Protein Diets

High protein diets require that you eat large amounts of protein and little else. This may sound like a good idea since protein is good for you after all, but in fact, it could be dangerous to your health.

Eating too much protein can actually harm your kidneys and liver and protein alone doesn’t build muscle. Proper diet and working out with weights does.

Liquid Diets

A liquid diet cuts out everything that is a solid food and could mean that you are missing vital nutrients and fibre in your diet. These nutrients are what keeps you healthy and helps to prevent disease.

Grapefruit Diet

Restrictive diets such as this one requires that you eat one type of food and one type of food only. As with the liquid diet, you could be missing out on nutrients and some much-needed calories that grapefruit doesn’t offer.


Fasting is a very dangerous diet that should be avoided. Even though the scientific research is there, losing weight this way could cause you to become dizzy, fatigued or very sick. Plus, when you fast, your body goes into starvation mode and slows down your metabolism. This, in turn, reduces the number of calories you will burn.

Problems Associated with Fad Diets

Fad diets may help you lose weight quickly, but the weight loss is usually short lived. Are the risks worth the reward for some people? Before you answer that, let’s take a look at some of the risks and problems that are associated with fad diets:

  • Poor long-term weight control.
  • Increased risk of chronic disease, like heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis.
  • Reduced athletic performance.
  • Kidney stones and gout.
  • Ketosis.

Keeping all of this in mind, do fad diets have any positive attributes? We can clearly see that they work at helping people lose weight quickly but often that weight comes back just as quickly. One factor that we can see as a positive for fad diets is that they can be used to educate people as to how poorly they are eating and to give them some food choices and diet plans that may work for them. We can also say that the initial weight loss can be a good motivator for someone just starting a diet and exercise plan.

So, what is the best way to lose weight and keep it off? A healthy diet and regular exercise are proven effective and have already helped people across the UK lose weight successfully. Don’t like to work out? Make your workout fun by using a mini trampoline designed especially for those who want to work out but don’t have the time to go to the gym.

Don’t like to eat healthy? Try it just a couple of days per week at first and slowly incorporate it into your diet routine. Studies show that those who choose to eat healthy all at once, often fail at sticking to their diets. By adding in healthy choices whenever possible and slowly, you will have greater success and you will begin to see a difference in your weight.

If you are considering a fad diet, consult your physician beforehand to ensure that you are healthy enough to take on such a drastic lifestyle change.

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