Losing weight with fad diets has been consistently popular amongst many people wanting to drop weight, especially when the New Year rolls around. Among these are low-calorie diets, juice fasts, soup-only diets, and who knows what else. Do you really like doing this? Hell no you don’t.
I am sure many of you will be familiar with diets being promoted for promising to lose “x” amount of weight in “x” amount of days. However, aside from their “money-back guaranteed” offer if weight loss isn’t achieved, these fad diets all have something else in common: they are deprivation diets.
They all focus on taking something away. You don’t need to take food away you need to make smarter choices and structure your plan to suit your lifestyle.
Whether it’s “No fats or carbs for a month” or “1,000 calories a day,” these diets are designed such that a person can sustain this type of eating for a short time, but afterwards, their bodies will rebound hard with weight gain and even compromise various Metabolic Adaptations. Have you done this before? I know I have it would have had to have been the worst feeling after my first bodybuilding show; I gained 12kg in 2 weeks. Going from looking your absolute best to looking like a marshmallow doesn’t sit well and people notice.
Fad Diets are Making You Fatter…
One of the more common things we see, people that weight cycle aka yo-yo dieting and this usually stems from fad diets. This is common in boxers, bodybuilders, bikini competitors and those that need to make weight in a certain amount of time.
But, we see a lot of people doing this for the wrong reasons such as:
- Trying to fit in a bikini for a last minute holiday
- Wanting to look better for Christmas holidays
- Slipping into a wedding dress
- Naughty nurse and school girl outfits for Halloween
The problem with this is…
Research has shown that multiple weight cycling occurrences lead to body fat overshooting. A phenomenon where an individual may increase body fat beyond baseline levels; yet retain a metabolic rate that has yet to fully recover.
There is evidence that suggest that enlarging and multiplicity of fat cells, may occur early in the weight regain process, and that repeated cycles of weight loss and regain by athletes in sports with weight classes are associated with long-term weight gain.
There are even more studies that reported weight cycling is highly correlated with an increased waist/hip ratio and is consistent with an increased upper body fat distribution (arms, neck, chest, hip, upper back, upper abdomen) in obese women.
Yo-Yo dieting is not the most optimal or smartest thing to do if you are trying to lose weight. The research shows the slower you lose it, the longer you can keep it off, and lessons the chance to accumulate new and larger fat cells. Slow and steady always wins the race. Have a think about longer terms you want to feel good and be leaner for longer while eating more than your cat.
Rapid weight loss is dangerous and needs to be made aware, another danger of losing weight too quickly is that you are probably not losing just fat. A normal, healthy rate of weight loss roughly half a kilo per week. Because it's difficult for your body to burn large numbers of fat calories in a short amount of time, the weight you lose could be made up of water or muscle (lean tissue).
There is evidence that many of these practices can be unsafe and damaging to your health. Weight loss techniques are hazardous and should not be pursued. These rapid weight loss techniques are unsafe and damaging to health. Instead, look for a proper nutrition program that will allow you to be eating healthy, maintain consistent hydration.
Fad Diets are like trick birthday candles
Year after year, “new and improved” diets appear on bookstore shelves and circulate among friends. People of all sizes eagerly try ‘the best diet ever’ on the market, hoping that this one will really work. Sometimes these diets seem to work for a while, but more often than not, their success is short lived.
Fad diets are like “trick birthday cake candles,” they keep lighting up and we have to keep blowing them out. Realizing that fad diets do not offer a safe and effective long-term plan for weight loss, dieticians, clinicians, and nutritionists speak out, but they never get the candle blown out permanently.
Weight loss occurs because of the low energy intake (low-calorie deficit). Any diet can produce weight loss, at least temporarily, if intake is restricted. The real value of a diet is determined by its ability to maintain weight loss and support good health over the long term.
The goal is not simply weight loss, but health gains. Most of these fad diets cannot support optimal health over time. In fact, these fad diets can create or worsen health problems such as eating disorders, etc.
Time to Ditch the Fad Diets
These findings may paint a gloomy picture for people struggling to lose weight, but weight loss still is possible through other means.
It is important to note that these fad diets all are aimed for intentional weight losses (only to lose weight not promote health).
It is the intentional weight loss aspect of these diets that are causing the weight regain along with other physiological and metabolic detriments.
The key is to not deprive ourselves of foods that our bodies need but to focus more on a nutrient dense diet with some room for non-traditional foods in moderation. This includes adding more healthy varieties of food that our bodies actually need and foods that we will look forward to eating on a daily basis. Not eat take away all day, one healthy meal won’t make you lean just like one unhealthy meal won’t make you fat.
This is where a proper nutrition program and having qualified nutrition coaches come into play.
Everyone needs to find a diet that they will adhere to, that is based off their lifestyle, goals, and one that can turn into a lifestyle.
This is the truth behind fad diets: in general, you will lose weight in a short period of time, but chances are that you will gain back more weight than you had originally lost. So ditch the fad diets this year and get yourself a nutrition plan to promote health and long-term weight loss. You have nothing but weight to lose and muscle to gain.
1 Dulloo et al. Poststarvation hyperphagia and body fat overshooting in humans: a role for feedback signals from lean and fattissues. 1997
2 Jackman et al. Weight regain after a sustained weight reduction is accompanied by suppressed oxidation of dietary fat and adipocyte hyperplasia. 2008
3 Wallner et al. Body fat distribution of overweight females with a history of weight cycling. 2004
4 Fletcher et al. The potential dangers of using rapid weight loss techniques. 2014
5 Whitney, E, Rolfes, S. Understanding Nutrition. 2013
Ty Lucas is a certified strength coach, bio-signature practitioner and is currently studying naturopathy. He is a strong believer is having healthy body function and hormonal profile, then getting the body to optimal body composition and performance levels. Ty the owner of Myathletes coaching which is one of the leading contest prep and body composition businesses in Australia.