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Should You Use a Fad Diet to Lose Weight?

Should You Use a Fad Diet to Lose Weight?

The aging process is rough on your skin. And it can be rough on your mid-section too. Most guys tend to add about 1-2 pounds of bodyweight annually. That’s assuming your habits stay the same from year to year. If something in your routine changes and you become less active or start eating less healthy, you may pack on even more weight.

Let’s say you’ve gained a few pounds. Or a few dozen. And now you’re ready to start losing the weight and getting healthy. Congratulations on setting one of the best goals related to your health! But it’s going to be easier said than done.

Most people who start a diet don’t stick to it for long. And research shows that most people who start a diet will eventually yo-yo back and gain more weight than they ever lost. Scary to think about!

Many guys turn to fad diets when they’re feeling frustrated and looking for an easy and effective way to lose weight. These are the self-help, gimmicky eating plans that get popular every few years. Some have the potential to be effective, but others end up forcing followers into unhealthy habits.

What about you? Should you use a fad diet to lose weight? Consider these pros and cons.

What Is a Fad Diet?

There’s not a hard and fast definition of what makes a diet a “fad diet.” But, in general, fad diets feature these attributes:

Gimmicky. Fad diets promise a lot in exchange for minimal effort. Promotions like “lose X-number of pounds in 2 weeks” and similar time-sensitive claims don’t take into consideration the extremely personal process of weight loss.

Focus on Specific Foods. Fad diets often focus on one food or food group and require that you cut out other foods entirely. A totally made-up example would be an “all cabbage soup diet” that lets you eat as much cabbage soup as you want but won't allow you to eat any bread. (Again, just an example. Not a real thing.)

Big Promises. The people supporting fad diets are not modest in their promoting. Fad diets promise major weight loss, the ability to keep that weight off, and that the entire process will be easy. None of which are true.

Rigidity. Most eating plans allow for plenty of flexibility in your meals. But fad diets do the opposite, applying strict and rigid meal plans that don’t allow for any exchanging or adjusting. This puts you at a higher risk of developing dietary imbalances. 

The Pros

Fad diets can expose you to new foods and a new approach to weight loss. That can offer you fresh ideas about how to eat healthier and to enjoy less processed foods.

Fad diets frequently focus on portion sizes too. This can be positive, since understanding how your portions affect your health and weight is critical to maintaining a healthy weight.

The Cons

If you want to keep your weight off and live a healthier lifestyle, it has to be just that… a lifestyle. You can’t go on a two, four, or six week diet and assume that the results will be permanent. Fad diets promote this myth and contribute to long term weight gain, not weight loss.

Some fad diets eschew the balanced diet for a strict or limited approach to meals. This is not good in the long run since you need variety in your diet to stay healthy. And variety also makes it more enjoyable to eat healthy.

Another major con is that fad diets make it seem like adjusting your meals is all you have to do to lose weight. They frequently breeze past the fact that exercise also plays a key role in maintaining a healthy weight.

Stay Healthy Without the Fads

Fad diets come and go. But you want to stay healthy for life. So take the good advice from some fad diets and apply them to your own balanced eating plan that includes plenty of fresh foods.

Make sure you’re getting in exercise too. That way you’ll feel your best and - slowly, in a safe and maintainable way - you’ll lose weight as well.

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