The Fallacies of Fad Diets The people will live on. The learning and blundering people will live on. They will be tricked and sold and again sold. And go back to the nourishing earth for rootholds. – Carl Sandburg, The People Speak “How did Jennifer Lopez lose 40 pounds after having twin babies? The Dukan Diet is the answer! ” or “Jennifer Hudson lost 80 Lbs! Thanks to Weight Watchers! ” – thumb through any supermarket tabloid or spend only an hour in front of TV and you’ll catch a glimpse of the latest post-baby bikini-clad celebrity, promoting the next fad diet.
The praise of rapid weight loss, premoted by famous people, sends the message to the public that this is a safe and achievable goal. However, nowadays many studies proved the fact that fad diets are too dangerous and ineffective to deal with excess weight. Dieting has become one of the most popular activities in the U. S. Almost all my female friends tried at least one fancy diet in their lives. The global scale of this epidemic tendency can be proved by impressive numbers of statistics.
It is ridiculous that over 50 million Americans go on a diet each year, and only five ppercent manage o keep their weight off over the long run (University of Arkansas website). This failure can be explained by fact that most people who attempt to lose weight do not follow the recommended combination of reducing caloric intake and increasing physical aactivity. Fooled by bogus and promising claims, the U. S. consumers spend more than $30 billion a year on “magic” diet products and “revolutionary’ weight loss programs (FTC data).
Yet results from the 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey indicate that an estimated 33. 0% of U. S. adults aged 20 and over are overweight, 35. % are obese, and 6. 3% are extremely obese (Fryar). This data clearly shows that diets don’t work for the vast majority of the US population. A fad diet is the one that makes unrealistic promises: “Lose 30 pounds permanently in 30 days! No exercise needed! Never diet again! ” If the advertisement promises speedy results, it’s guaranteed to be a fad diet that is likely to be untrue and not safe.
Losing weight at the rate of a pound or less per week is the safest and most realistic way to get rid of extra pounds. Weight loss is never permanent if patient regress back to his unhealthy eating habits. Any diet product that promises miraculous results without any physical aactivity must be considered as Just another gimmick of pumping money from pockets of naive consumers. In a ten-year-study published in 1995 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by Dr.
Leibel and his colleagues at Rockefeller University overweight people were controlled on a metabolic ward on calories consumed (622). The subjects were on diets with widely different nutrients, but it made no difference. The only factor that mattered to their weight was number of calories consumed. In the absence of physical aactivity, the ptimal diet for weight loss contains 1400 to 1 500 kcal/d, regardless of macronutrient composition (Freedman). That proves the truism of the one main rule in maintaining normal welg nt: Do not overeat! r In Mlcnael Pollan’s ramous words: “Eat T too much. Mostly plants” (1). Moreover, new study published in 2012 shows that overweight and moderately obese patients with certain chronic diseases often live longer and happier lives than normal-weight patients with the same ailments (Bertoni et al. 582). Scientists from Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University discovered found an “obesity paradox”: diabetes patients of normal weight re twice as likely to die as those who are overweight or obese.
Another research conducted by Steven Blair at the Cooper Institute in Dallas ” suggests that being fat and fit is better than being thin and unfit. * Low Carbohydrate Diets I have a friend who is so skinny, so when you look at her it seems that the slightest blow of the wind would knock her off her feet. She used to be a plump girl, but three years ago something happened in her perception of beauty and she stopped eating rice, spaghetti, bread, and other food that contains carbs. She has not become happier though – she looks tired and depresses almost all the time.
I believe that all what happens to her is a consequence of malnutrition because carbohydrates are the main source of energy for human beings. When diet gains popularity, the specifics often get boiled down to simplistic statements or sound bites, such as “Carbohydrates make you fat,” or “All fat is bad. ” As a result, these diets turn into nothing more than an exaggeration of one facet of nutrition at the expense of another. The period of late 1990s and early 2000s was marked as a “low carb craze”: low-carbohydrate diets became some of the most popular diets in the U. S.
The term low-carbohydrate diet” is generally applied to diets that restrict carbohydrates to less than 20% of caloric intake (according to USDA 2010 Dietary Guideline 40% of calories should come from carbohydrates. ) Low carbohydrate diets such as, for example, Dr. Atkin’s or Paleolithic diets gained overwhelming popularity around the world. These diets are based on the idea that all carbohydrates are bad and people gain weight when they eat them. In fact, success of low-carb diets translates into a significant daily calorie reduction ” the basis of any weight loss diet.
Any reduction f calories”whether from protein, carbohydrate or fat ” will result in weight loss. Usually, low-carbohydrate diets tend to be low in calcium, fiber, and vitamins. These diets result in ketosis, and may cause a significant increase in blood uric acid concentrations (Freedman, 4S). For these reasons more and more food scientists denounce low-carbohydrate diets as being dangerous to health: “The most frequent complaints with low-carbohydrate diets are constipation and headache, which is readily explained by the reduced intake of fruit, vegetables, and whole-grain bread and cereals.
Restricted intake of these foods is not commensurable with long-term nutritional adequacy, and might pose a second-line increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer” (Astrup et al. ). The idea that food that contains carbohydrates is responsible for obesity must be viewed with skepticism. In contrast, in Asian countries carbohydrates (rice and vegetables) compose the vast majority of daily caloric intake. Yet according to World Health Organization data Japan has one of the lowest rates of obesity, heart disease, cancer and diabetes among developed countries (2012 World Health Statistics).
Carbohydrates are major energy source in the human diet and should not be considered an “evil-nutrient”. In order to maintain normal BMI (Body Mass Index) it is always a good idea not to avoid the whole range of caros out slmply swltcn Trom rennea grains to wnole gralns ana restrlct consumptlon of sugar and sugary drinks (“Is Sugar Toxic? ” CBS News film). * Low-fat Diets Over the last 30 years the public have been advised to reduce total fat intake, and reported total fat intake has fallen. The low-fat diet was reflected by the USDA food guide pyramid (http://www. nal. usda. gov/).
However, over the same period of time a dramatic rise in the prevalence of obesity has been seen in the US. Still, fat is considered a “dietary devil” and the low-fat diet has a reputation of preventing heart disease, some cancers, and the epidemic of obesity. Nowadays dietary fat is being reconsidered. Scientists found that it is vital for good health, as fats supply energy and fatty acids, in addition to supplying fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K. Some common problems associated with a diet that is too low in fat include fatigue and weakness, depression, poor concentration, hormonal imbalances and metabolic isorders.
A study published in 1998 in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that low-fat diets may also cause hormonal swings that can disrupt the balance of serotonin in the brain. Improper serotonin production can lead to suicide or depression (Wells 24). Several clinical and intervention trials examining the effect of low-fat diets on weight indicate that diets lower in fat can result in modest reductions in body weight in the short-term, but in the long run energy intake from fat has a negligible effect on body weight (Harvard Women’s Health Watch). The
Harvard study, of nearly 50,000 women, found that eating low-fat diets for eight years offered no health benefits ” no lowered risk for heart disease, stroke, colon cancer or breast cancer. At the same time all above mentioned doesn’t mean that we can consume enormous amounts of fat and stay fit and healthy as some researchers believe. For instance, Michael Pollan in his book “In Defense of Food” was so delighted by “French paradox”, the diet rich in saturated fat, while forgetting to mention the fact that 42% of France’s population is overweight (Sciolino).
Eating too much trans fat nd saturated fat, for example, are proven risks for heart disease, while eating more omega-3 fats and monounsaturated fats can reduce those risks. Some studies suggest that the type of fat you eat can affect your cancer risk as well (Freedman). Even though I saw many people dieting, unfortunately, it helped to none of them. When people go “on” a diet that mearns that one day they will go “off’ the diet and regain all weight that was lost during the days of self-imposed starvation. I believe that fad diets became so popular in the U. S. ue to declining quality of food epresented in the supermarkets that makes Americans to become fatter and unhealthier. It is hard to stay healthy and fit even if you do not overeat because our stomachs are getting filled out with GMOs, hormones, corn, and soy ingredients that can be found in almost every food product. This fact can be proved by notion from the “Food, Inc. ” movie which states that the “way we eat has changed more in the last 50 years than in the previous 10,000”, and there is no surprise that those last 50 years have been marked by skyrocketing of weight gain and diabetes not only among adults but kids as well.
We should challenge the food industry itself in order to avoid obesity and all related health issues within society. Famous dietitian Freedman once said, “The American public needs to be told that diets are not followed for 8 days, 8 weeks, or 8 months, but rather form the basis of everyday food choices tthroughout their life” (34S). There is wisdom in his words: short dieting would never help to get rlo 0T extra welgnt Tor ever. only Dy aaoptlng nealtny eatlng ano pnyslcal actlvlty habits, there is a chance to become slimmer, lower risk for developing type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Many studies suggest that losing maximum 1 pound a week by making healthy food choices, eating moderate portions, and being active is the best way to lose weight and keep it off (National Institute of Diabetes). Moreover, there is no such diet that can fit all, but nowadays the most recognized and healthy one is Mediterranean diet which is recommended by many dietitians and food scientists. Even though this diet emphasizes moderate consumption of fat, it has been shown to improve cardiovascular disease risk factors and to reduce the risk of chronic diseases because it provides the right balance of rotein, carbohydrates, and fat.
Mediterranean diet that full of vegetables, nuts, seafood, and dairy products allows you to stay in good shape while enjoying the food. All above mentioned data proves that we should eat foods from each of the food groups at every meal in order to stay healthy. Plus, simply reduce, or even better eliminate, the amount of hyper-processed carbohydrates such as white flour, white rice, and sugar, and you are guaranteed to start losing weight (so forget about nutritionists). If Americans would not stop trusting fake claims of popular diets, eight loss industry would continue to get richer and the U.
S. population would grow fatter. Luckily, as a rule the life span of majority “revolutionary’ diets or products is brief: Just like fashion trends, diets slip in and out of vogue. Nutritional swings in America are so dramatic that “any scientific study, a new government guideline, a lone crackpot with a medical degree can alter this nation’s diet overnight” (Pollan 63). Good dietary guide is the one that was time-tested, so for our own sake let’s forget about scientific or faddish approach and Just start enjoying the food that was onsidered as a food centuries ago.