What is a fad diet? Fad diets can be best described as a quick means of weight loss that are often only popular for a brief period of time. Fad diets can range from methodologies as deeply entrenched as Atkins and the Zone diet or as unsustainable as the cabbage soup diet or the Special K Challenge diet.
First, it needs to be understood that the weight-loss claims made by advocates of these diets are not only fleeting but unhealthy as well. Diets like the cabbage soup diet and the grapefruit diet are going to, in the case of the cabbage soup diet, make you flatulent and, in both cases, have you only regain the weight immediately afterward.
Fad diets will often overemphasize a single kind of food or type of food. For example, one diet that strikes me as being absurd is the Special K Challenge that advocates replacing two out of your three meals with any flavor of Special K cereal with 2/3 a cup of skim milk, thus typically resulting in a 5-pound weight loss after two weeks. The diet even advocates snacks consisting of Special K snack bars or fruits and vegetables. Astoundingly, there is virtually no decent source of protein included in this diet. While scanning the Special K website, the research used to make such rash assertions as being healthful are vague. They claim that Kellogg’s nutrition team worked closely with leading universities in order to arrive at their far fetched conclusion. To me, this means little more than a clever marketing ploy led by the Kellogg Corporation. Diets like these don’t take into account that people that are truly committed to weight loss are also working out several days a week, so, there would be a lack of calories needed to properly refuel the body. Basically, nutritional problems arise when a so-called superfood becomes the focal point of a diet.
Another diet that falls into the superfood category is the cabbage soup diet. This one along with some other unadorned diets has originated supposedly from hospitals. Diets such as the cabbage soup diet have been allegedly used by patients the week before undergoing heart surgery. By the end of the week, after having only eaten cabbage soup and fruits and vegetables, one is supposed to lose anywhere between 10-17 pounds. Unfortunately, one cannot maintain such a restricted diet for any prolonged period without feeling the ill effects of such a poor diet, such as vitamin deficiencies and the toxic repercussions of cannibalized muscle tissue.
Furthermore, this tremendous weight loss cannot be maintained once normal eating patterns are resumed since water constitutes a large percentage of the weight being lost, and, to make matters worse, these diets provide no plan on how to gradually and safely reduce calories without compromising your own health. No matter how great the food is, none should be treated as a panacea. All diets need to be balanced as best as possible so that no ill effects arise.