Flavor-of-the-Week Fads and The Dangers of Dieting

Diet fads come and go. They all seem to promise quick, lasting results with minimal effort. Many are accompanied by taglines and clickbait phrases like “This one simple trick” or “Lose weight in your sleep”.

Sound too good to be true? That’s probably because they are.

Whether the next big diet fad has you cutting out carbs, meticulously counting calories, or drinking nothing but cayenne pepper water, they all have a few things in common: They’re hard to stick to, they don’t produce the results they promise, and they often go away as fast as they arrive. Some diet fads can even be downright dangerous.

Identifying the Signs of a Bad Diet

Look for Buzzwords
Many diets make fabulous claims using flashy, attention-grabbing words or phrases, and these should be a red flag. Some of the dieting buzzwords to look out for include:

  • Superfood
  • Clean Eating
  • Inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Detox or Cleanse
  • Fast or Time-restriction

Remember that a healthy body will clean, detox, and take care of itself through regular functions of the liver, kidney, colon, and other organs. If your body does not seem to be performing at its best, ask your doctor before starting a drastic new diet. Many nutritional buzzwords are marketing tools, not weight loss tools.

The ‘Good’ and the ‘Bad’

You may have seen articles claiming one food group, mineral, vitamin, etc. is “good”, while others are “bad”. The problem with this is the polarization. Labeling something a bad food makes us want it more and trying to cut it out of our lives completely is unrealistic. On the flip side, saying something is a “good” food makes us feel accomplished, which is a good thing, but eating one healthy meal doesn’t cancel out an unhealthy meal.

Everything you put in your body matters. Labeling things as good or bad has less to do with the impact it has on your body and more with how you feel about your weight loss journey. Yo-yoing your emotions about eating is definitely bad, no matter what you’re eating.

Starvation Isn’t Weight Loss

Too many dieters mistake starvation for healthy weight loss. For one, your body is under extreme stress. Putting your body into starvation-mode might have you shredding the pounds quickly, but it definitely won’t be permanent. These diets are sometimes labeled ‘fasting’ or ‘time-restricted’ diets, but it comes down to the same thing: you’re uncomfortable and your body isn’t getting enough fuel. Think about diets that restrict certain types of foods as well. Your body needs all kinds of nutrients to be healthy (yes, carbs, too!) and you shouldn’t realistically plan to eliminate a type of food forever.

Think of it this way: lifestyle changes might be helpful if you start every day with a cup of coffee and heavy cream or end the day with a bowl of ice cream, but that isn’t restricting time or fasting. It’s choosing a healthier option.

Dieting comes down to one simple fact: nutrition is individual. What works for one may not work for another – or even be safe for another to attempt. If you have health problems related to your weight or have tried living a healthy lifestyle but still struggle, talk to your doctor.

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