Saturday, May 31, 2014

Fad Diets

A fad can be defined as “an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short-lived and without basis in the object's qualities; a craze.” In our culture, people are obsessed with fads in fashion, music, technology, and even food. Most don’t even ask questions and simply jump on the band wagon because it is “the thing to do”. When looking at health fads, it is important for people to research first and make sure they are educated on the effects it might have on your body.  Although diets are nothing new, and many people are looking to lose weight fast, there are always new ideas popping up. Let’s take a look at some of these diets.
The Flexitarian Diet. The idea behind this is that you eat a mostly vegetarian diet, but occasionally allow yourself a meaty meal of your choice. In general this diet has been seen in a positive light and a good choice for those wanting the benefits of a vegetarian diet but sill wanting to indulge in their favorite foods on occasion. The good thing about this diet is that it does not advocate any extreme diet change.
The Gluten-Free Diet. People are choosing this diet for other reasons than just allergies; they are actually taking it on as a way to lose weight. The positive side of this diet is that there are plenty of healthy choices to choose from; however a downside is that because of the wide variety of gluten-free packaged foods available now, there are many that are loaded with more sugar and fat than other gluten filled products. It is also important to keep in mind that large amounts of any food can still cause weight gain, even if it is gluten-free. Lastly, avoiding gluten-containing whole grains can decrease the variety of nutrients that are taken in. 
The South Beach Diet. This was designed by a cardiologist in Florida, Arthur Agatston, MD. He wanted to come up with a healthy diet that could protect his patients from medical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. This plan stresses the importance of controlling hunger by eating before its onset. By focusing on lean protein, low-fat dairy, and good carbs, as well as whole grains, vegetables, and fruit, the cycle of overeating when hungry and then gaining weight is broken. This diet can be a hard one to start since the first stage is fairly strict. However, the last phase focuses on maintenance and is meant to be a lifestyle change rather than simply a diet. This allows for occasional treats while still being able to maintain a healthy weight.
Volumetrics Diet. Losing weight by eating few calories but still feeling full is the focus of this diet. It suggests that foods that contain more water such as fruits and vegetables are healthier because they have a lower energy density than sugary and fatty foods. This is more of an approach to eating and is actually backed by research. The main goal of this diet is simply eating to feel full. Something that some people may find hard with this diet is the need to create meals at home. Fast food and eating out is a hard habit to break in our culture today.
This is just a handful of diets that are spread across the internet and book stores for people who are trying to find the perfect fit for them. Unfortunately it is hard for most people to decide on a truly effective and safe diet to lose weight and maintain it. Again, it is important to research the methods used in each diet and pay attention to the ingredients and nutrients in the food we eat. Also, check with your doctor before starting any drastic diet changes if you are unsure.  While extreme diets and quick fixes may be tempting to get the results we want, keep in mind that healthy eating and exercise are the most effective means of losing weight.



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