Real health isn’t a fad
Like the virtual incarnation of the “snake oil” salesman, fad diets are on every corner of the internet claiming to be the key to shedding pounds and shredding muscle in no time at all.
Now, let’s be honest with ourselves — we’ve all been charmed at least once by the too-good-to-be-true claims promoted by these trend diets. It’s hard not to, especially when they come with promises of attaining a body like a Greek god in mere weeks, simply by adhering to some simple, albeit obscure and restrictive food regimen.
The truth is, most of these fad diets are, at best, highly particular and only work for a handful of people. At their worst (and most commonly), they are nothing more than a sneaky marketing ploy designed to sell products and make money.
It’s important to remain cautious before jumping on to a diet bandwagon, regardless of how easy, interesting, or popular it may seem. Instead, take some time to conduct thorough research into your would-be diet, like reading studies, investigating claims, reviewing non-endorsed testimonials, and researching the nutritional science behind the diet in question.
During your research phase, keep an eye out for the following fad diet red flags:
- Claims of rapid weight loss: A common sales pitch made by illegitimate fad diets is the length of time it takes for it to melt your stubborn pounds away. Claims like these should always raise alarm bells for anyone seeking a healthy, science-based diet. The truth of the matter is, when your body loses weight quickly, those disappearing pounds are usually lost water, muscle mass, and bone density. As you can imagine, losing weight this way can be dangerous, and can leave you feeling drained of energy and lacking in proper nutrients. A healthy diet, however, should keep your body feeling nourished and energized while losing weight at a healthy rate.
- Highly restrictive or “mono-diets”: A common dietary fad, known as a monotrophic diet, is the adherence to a plan that consists of a highly limited number of “allowed” foods, like potatoes, for example. People seem to like the idea of mono-diets because they seem relatively easy to follow. Not having to learn about an entirely new set of healthy foods to include in your daily diet, or needing to be vigilant about counting calories, sugar, or trans fats levels seems like a pretty good deal on the surface. What people don’t realize is just how dangerous it is to deprive your body of essential nutrients when you’re eating the same food every day. Not to mention, the monotony of a mono-diet can make it much more difficult to adhere to than one might realize.
- Diets that are “no exercise required”: Another common claim made by fad diets is the ability to lose weight and get healthy — without exercise. Any diet promoting weight loss without exercise should be immediately disregarded by anyone who prioritizes their health. Sure, the notion of not having to drag yourself to the gym or slip on those tennis shoes for a jog around the neighborhood is appealing, but the fact of the matter is, getting regular exercise is essential to staying healthy. A healthy diet cannot deliver optimal benefits without proper physical exercise and vice versa. Aiming for 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day is an ideal way to complement a nutrient-rich diet for weight loss.
Choosing nutrition over trend
With the advent of the internet and social media — fad diets come and go at a rapid pace, oftentimes to the detriment of well-intentioned people looking for a new and exciting way to lose weight, build muscle, or just be healthy. But, because there’s so much false information being disseminated by disingenuous “health” companies — it’s important to stay informed about proper nutrition and wholesome dieting.
The most critical component of any healthy and successful diet is the inclusion of a large number of vitamins and nutrients. Food is fuel for the body, and our bodies require a diverse mix of nutrients to keep us operating at our fullest potential. Find a good balance of proteins, vitamins, and probiotics that work for your specific health goal, and research what to avoid and what to include into your daily meals.
Keep the above information in mind when choosing a diet and remember that not every diet will work for you. Every person is different, and even a diet that seems to work great for thousands of people simply may not jive well with your body’s disposition. But don’t get discouraged, there’s an endless array of diet possibilities out there. The important thing is that you choose a dietary lifestyle that is based on nutritional facts, instead of trending popularity.
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