Fad Diets

Fad diets are diets designed to be followed for only a short period of time.  Another popular culture meaning for the term is a diet that becomes wildly popular for a period of a few months to a few years, and then fades into obscurity. Some of these fad diets include the cabbage soup diet, the Atkins diet, and the cookie diet.

Another name for the fad diet is food fadism. This refers to any form of food that becomes popular for a short period of time such as the fad diet. These generally have some common elements, including:

–    Some elements of the food are said to have miraculous properties.
–    Many other foods are completely eliminated from the diet, because they are thought to have negative properties.

As example of these elements of fad diets in the diet, take the Atkins diet. In this diet carbohydrates are the Keystone element that is negative and therefore to be avoided. Carbohydrates take on both of the common elements in that removing carbohydrates from the diet creates a near magical metabolic state in which fat is burned at an incredible rate.  This diet had a number of short periods of extreme carbohydrate avoidance, followed by long periods of sustainable low carbohydrate eating. Unlike many fad diets the Atkins diet was designed to be something a person could stick to for a long period of time.

The Atkins diet was also one of these fad diets in that huge popularity was fairly short-lived. For a number of years the Atkins diet was everywhere, and everyone seemed to be following it.  Entertainment magazines were full of movie stars and music stars and sports stars who claimed amazing weight loss and fitness all due to the Atkins diet. But after the death of Dr. Atkins, the diet became much less of a household word.

Many fad diets can be quite dangerous.  Even a diet like the Subway diet, as first presented in the commercials, could have problems. It was based on the legend of Jared, a young man who’d lost nearly 250 pounds in only a year by eating Subway sandwiches, baked chips, and diet soda. In reality Jared cut his caloric intake from over 10,000 calories a day to only 900.  Such an extreme level of caloric intake cuts and rapid weight loss is unhealthy. Even so, the Subway diet when followed in moderation can work.  Particularly because the diet included exercise — Jared walked 6 miles a day while losing the weight.

Beware of fad diets. A healthy combination of reasonable diet and exercise in the long-term can help you lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.