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5 Dangers of Fad Diets5 Dangers of Fad Diets


Dangers of Fad Diets

Marketers of fad diets know how to target your weaknesses and play on your desires to lose weight. Despite the pressure, it is important to remember that these fad diets are not the answer to achieve health. In some cases, they can be downright dangerous. When you feel the lure of the next fad diet, keep yourself on the right track by remembering these key points:

A new fad diet is like an addiction.

For chronic dieters, starting a new diet provides a euphoric high that encompasses the hopes, motivation, and drive to get your life back on track and lose the weight for good. When the program fails, dieters look for hope, and will often find promise in the next diet. Thus, the downward spiral of diet addiction continues.

False hope and certain failure.

Many diet claims are so convincing that your sense of reason is blinded by the false hope that this is the magic bullet you need. When you find that you can barely function on cabbage soup, or by completely cutting out a food group, the first thought is that you failed. You blame yourself and your self-esteem plummets. Constant feelings of deflated self-worth lead you straight back to the core of your weight issues - emotional eating.

Quick fixes become the only answer.

Losing more than a couple pounds a week can be unhealthy. Slow and steady is the best approach. Weight loss is never completely effortless; it takes time to plan healthy meals, grocery shop, exercise, and focus on internal cues. The most effective and healthy path to long-term weight loss and maintenance is through lifestyle changes. While your co-workers may temporarily surpass your weight loss by going on a fad diet, three months down the line you'll be 12 pounds lighter, and they'll be looking for the next new diet.

Harmful to your emotional and physical health.

The process of cycling through diets eventually leads to decreased metabolism, weight gain, frustration, negative body image, cravings and binges, and distrust in your innate ability to monitor food intake. These consequences increase the likelihood of developing an eating disorder.

You lose sight of hunger cues.

Contrary to what the claims may say, most fad diets are too low in calories and you will be hungry. Ultimately you will have to return to regular eating. Chances are you will overcompensate with extra calories to satisfy feelings of intense hunger combined with the stress of feeling like you failed. When you are stuck in a pattern of ignoring hunger pains followed by binge eating, you eventually lose your ability to recognize true hunger and fullness.

Lori Rice, M.S., is a nutritional scientist and author with a passion for healthy cooking, exercise physiology, and food photography.
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