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Diet Fads: When to Trust or Avoid Them

Diets go in and out of fashion faster than the latest style of jeans. You will see ads pop up or commercials running for these “amazing” diet plans that are “better than anything ever before.” All you have to do is spend a couple tens or hundreds of dollars and not ask too many questions. Maybe you have been burned before by laying down some money on a diet plan that never panned out as you hoped. Maybe you are just a skeptic about these plans seeming a little too good to be true. Your skepticism is not a flaw in this case. Some diets are not only ineffective but sometimes even dangerous! Below is a list of some of the most common diet plans. Learn which ones are more trustworthy, and which ones to beware of.


Point Systems

Trustworthy. Point system diets, such as the Weight Watchers system, are more of a teaching method than a diet. The points reveal health levels of specific foods: higher points are less healthy food, lower points are healthier. The diet does not necessarily have an end date. Rather, the diet participant learns how to eat healthier and how much and what kinds of food their specific body type requires.


Calorie Restrictions

Use Caution. Some popular diets advise participants to only eat a restricted amount of calories each day. Usually an injected hormone is also a part of the diet, but some dieters choose to skip it because eating a very low amount of calories makes sense for losing weight. Adult women and men need about 1,700 to 2,500 calories every day to maintain their body weight. So eating less than that will make you lose weight, right? Correct. However, that does not mean that they will make you healthier. Adult bodies also require around at least 1,200 to 1,500 calories everyday in order to have enough energy to get through daily motions: walking, standing, moving around. If you do not provide your body with the least amount of calories it needs to get through an average day, it will weaken and start pulling energy from any source it can find. You body can start deteriorating.

In addition, calorie restrictive diets must come to an end, or you will always feel weak from the lack of necessary calories. Your body will be used to the lower amount of calories due to the diet. When you start eating a normal amount of calories again, your body will immediately start turning as much of the extra calories as it can into fat as a defense mechanism to put energy into storage in case you decide to deprive it from energy (calories) again. Your body might just end up in a worse condition after the diet than it was before.


Weight Loss Drops

Use Caution. These diets are ones that involve purchasing a drop bottle of some sort that is meant to be added to liquid and drunk before meals. While these are not usually necessarily unhealthy, they are also not the best of investments. The purpose of these drops is to make you less hungry during meals in hopes that you will eat less. The same exact method can be accomplished for free with water and no accompanying drops. Drinking a cup of water ten to thirty minutes prior to a meal will leave you less hungry and less willing to down four pieces of pizza like you assumed you would thirty minutes before eating.

These weight loss drops make you pay for the idea of drinking water before meals, something you can easily do on your own free of charge. Unless you cannot stand the plain taste of water, this method is better done the free and natural way. Even then, try testing out a lemon in the water first.


Delivered Meals

Use Caution. While delivered diet meals may seem simple, brainless, and easy, they are also one of those diets that must come to an end unless you are willing to pay for these delivered meals for the rest of your life. Since correctly portioned healthy meals are delivered straight to your door without a thought, this method is a good way to get healthy. Unfortunately, since you are required to do nothing more than eat only what is given to you, you may be getting healthy, but you are not learning how to do it. The moment this diet ends and the perfectly prepared meals stop showing up, you will not have the knowledge of how to continue your healthy streak on your own. Most likely, you will revert back to whatever eating habits you had before the diet. I’m not calling the diet a waste of money, but since your body will go back to whatever shape it was in before, I’m not sure what else you would call it.


Health Schedules

Trustworthy. Healthy meal schedules, mainly ones that accompany workout videos and programs, give participants a plan of how to eat for a certain amount of time. The participant then prepares the meals his or herself and learns what types of foods are healthy and how often to eat them. If participants take this knowledge and apply it to their daily, permanent eating habits, then the diet will have succeeded to bring them a healthier life. If participants put away the schedule and go back to their previous eating habits, then the schedule will have done little good.


Artificial Sweeteners

Use Caution. Some sugar lovers are more willing to use alternative forms of sweetener and drink diet drinks thinking that the different forms of sugar will not adversely affect them like the original form would. Even though these artificial sweeteners do not contain the simple carbohydrates that sugar does (the ones that turn into fat if they go unused), they contain other altered molecules known as sucralose that your body actually has a more difficult time digesting over the natural molecule of sugar. It is generally better to eat more natural products rather than artificial.


Elimination Diets

Use Caution. There is no doubt that some types of food are not very good for you. However, a natural occurrence within the human mind is that once something is taken away from it, it wants it more than ever before. A popular diet is one that involves a complete elimination of sugar (usually just sugar within processed and baked foods because fruit contains sugar and eliminating that would be unwise). These diets more often than not quickly fail. This could be due to the participant’s new craving toward the eliminated food or can cause them to binge on other unhealthy foods in order to make up for the lack of the eliminated.

Limiting unhealthy foods is usually a safer plan. Your body will not have the same constant cravings since the food is still occasionally allowed, and the diet will have a greater chance of success without the dramatic change.



Use Caution. I have seen an innumerable amount of ads and commercials for miracle weight loss pills or supplements. How great would it be if we could all lose weight and get healthy super fast just by swallowing a pill a day? Too great to even imagine? That’s my point. It’s not really possible. But if these pill producers can catch a few gullible passersby, then they will have themselves a profit.

One of these popular “weight loss” supplements is one that contains chemicals from raspberries that are commonly used in weight loss. However, “there is no reliable scientific evidence that it improves weight loss when taken by people.” (WedMD) Taking a supplement to magically lose weight is typically an idea that is too good to be true, so it should be considered just that.


Here are some tips to keep in mind when considering diet plans:

1)      Always strive for health over weight loss.

2)      Stay away from diets with an end date. Once the diet ends, your results will, too.

3)      Veer toward diets that TEACH you healthy habits rather than CHANGE your standard methods of eating.

4)      Stick to natural substances over artificial.

5)      If a diet seems too good to be true, it probably is. Getting healthy takes hard work, but luckily, you are up for the challenge.


Diets tend to be a hit or miss. While they may look fabulous in their commercials, it is always best to use caution around them. When in doubt, consult a doctor or nutritionist before beginning a diet program. Your health is the most important thing. If a diet promotes weight loss over health, then it is not the way to go.


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