If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, there’s a 99% chance you know about fad diets. But how much do you really know? All fad diets share common characteristics, with one common goal: to help practitioners lose weight. Yet the goal remains elusive, centuries after the first fad diet.
Banner Urgent Care’s nutritional experts know a thing or two about fad diets – the good, the bad and the ugly. Our medical weight loss program avoids the extreme ups and downs of most fad diets and instead uses clear-cut science, common sense and practical methods and measurements to help anyone shed unwanted pounds.
The Inside Story on Fad Diets and Their Effects
Fad diets have been around a long time. Way before the Victorians created the first “modern” fad diets in the mid-19th century, William the Conqueror gained notoriety around the turn of the millennium – the first millennium. William started his ill-fated diet because he was having trouble mounting his horse. His solution was no solid food, and to drink nothing but alcohol. Predictably, he met his end not long afterward.
With such an inglorious start, it’s no wonder the fad diet has become a punchline in nutritional circles. People are always searching for a “lose weight quick” method, so fad diets aren’t fading into oblivion; if anything, they’re more popular than ever!
Fad Diets That Don’t Work (and Some That Do)
And now, we present some of the more bizarre, unbelievable and doomed-from-the-start fad diets:
The Cabbage Diet
This diet stresses copious amounts of cabbage, but not much else. Some of this fad diet’s effects include gastrointestinal issues and dizziness. Oh, and also the smell of cabbage cooking throughout the house, day and night.
The Atkins Diet
Some call this more permanent diet than fad diet, but given the amount of people who eventually quit, we’re sticking with fad diet. The program’s results are hard to argue – millions of people have lost weight while on the Atkins Diet – yet sustainability is a problem. Most people just can’t go without some type of carbohydrate for too long. High cholesterol is just one side effect of the Atkins Diet.
The Fletcher Diet
Some fad diets focus on what to do with your food, not necessarily the food itself. One such diet was the Fletcher Plan, devised by Horace Fletcher in the late 19th century. Fletcher’s idea was to chew food until it was liquid, to promote better digestion and nutrient absorption.
The Bananas and Skim Milk Diet
In 1934, the United Fruit Co. promoted heavy consumption of bananas to be washed down with skim milk. Supposedly nutrient-dense and not difficult to follow, this fad diet proved to be neither. Some reported side effects included stomach pain and constipation.
The Paleo Diet
It’s becoming so commonplace (and sustainable), it’s hard to call the Paleo Diet a fad anymore. Mimicking the dietary habits of our Paleolithic ancestors, this eating plan stresses fruits, veggies, meat, fish, nuts, natural oils and other foods that were around up to 10,000 years ago. Based on solid evidence, this diet is one “fad” diet that’s becoming more “fixture.” Side effects are still being studied, but the general consensus on the Paleo Diet is “so far, so good.” And with thousands of years of evolution to back up the plan, the Paleo Diet is here to stay…again!
Fad Diets: The Rare Success Story
Strangely enough, some so-called fad diets can actually work. What is the key to success? In most instances, fad diets are too rigid and inflexible. That’s why it’s easy to identify fad diets that don’t work. But once in a while, a fad diet comes along that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Take the Sardine Diet, for example. First introduced by Keri Glassman in 2006, the Sardine Diet checks most of the fad diet boxes: a loyal following, fairly limited shelf life, and documented success stories. But unlike most fad diets, the Sardine Diet was all about introducing more of one particular food to the diet, as opposed to restricting a large variety of foods. Ms. Glassman’s basic premise olive-oiled down to a simple idea: sardines are extremely healthy, and people should try to get more in their diets. Whether eaten right out of the can, spread on salads or served as an appetizer with other foods, sardines offer tremendous health benefits – and because they have a distinct taste, it’s very difficult to binge on them. More than a few people had success with the Sardine Diet, and it remains one of the most “anti-fad” fad diets, even a decade removed from initial fanfare.
Beyond Fad Diets – Using Healthy Nutritional Habits as Positive, Permanent Lifestyle Changes
A few things are clear about every type of fad diet we’ve reviewed. For one, they’re all “fads,” in every sense of the word. Most fads start as an “outsider” habit or behavior, gain momentum as the word spreads and are followed enthusiastically for a certain period of time. That sounds like all the fad diets throughout history.
To make meaningful, long-term change with your nutritional habits, stop thinking about your food intake as something to obsessively monitor for a week, month or year. Start looking at food from a different perspective: something to actually nourish your body to become healthier and more robust. Most fad diets come with the promise of easy weight loss, but real-life experience tells us otherwise.
Unless you’re one of the lucky ones with the “1% genes” that allow you to eat whatever you want and remain lean, it’s recommended to take a long-term approach to changing your dietary habits. And by “long-term,” we mean years and decades. To supplement your weight loss efforts, a medical weight loss program is recommended.
Banner Urgent Care’s Medical Weight Loss Program: Proven Methods, Positive Results
Our medical weight loss initiatives are designed to offer each patient a comprehensive analysis of key health markers, including physical exams, vital signs and specific weight loss efforts, including vitamin B12 injections.
For more information about how we can help, please call our main office at (480) 988-9108 or visit our contact page, where you’ll find other ways to get in touch, plus a list of all of our greater Arizona walk-in healthcare clinics. Thanks for reading our blog!