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Fad Diets - What Are They?

Fad n.- A fashion that is taken up with great enthusiasm for a brief period of time; a craze.

Pick up any major women's magazine, and the chances are, the word "diet" or "lose weight" will appear somewhere on the cover. The context is usually how a celebrity lost weight whilst on "diet x". And there begins "Fad Diet X"...

What is a Fad Diet?

This is a matter of personal opinion. Some diet plans can gain popularity very quickly fueled by extensive media coverage. For example, the South Beach Diet by Dr. Agatston was very heavily marketed by publisher Rodale.

The diet becomes a fad. Many people will latch onto this "new" diet thinking that this will work, where other weight loss programs have failed. Often the issues run deeper than that, but that doesn't stop us trying!

Typically a fad diet has only one or two main foods permitted (each supposedly having magical properties).

Do any Fad Diets work?

To state that all fad diets are gimmicks or tricks would be foolish and presumptuous. To call something a fad diet is to imply that it is a passing fancy and will not last. However everybody is different, and what works for one does not work for another. How many times do you see that little text "*Results Not Typical" in small print on the latest diet fad?

It's also important to note that some fad diets can actually be dangerous such as the very low calorie Mayo Clinic Diet and the Tapeworm Diet. People are actually risking their health in the quest to lose some pounds.

Extensive media coverage can lend a diet plan credibility that is out of proportion and sometimes undeserved.

Have people successfully lost weight with Atkins or the Zone, or the Cabbage Soup diet? The answer is yes they have. However the true test of a diet is whether people can keep the weight off (check back after 2 years). The trouble with many fad diets is that they become popular so quickly that it is difficult to assess whether long-term weight loss has occurred.

Some fad diets are also associated with rapid or fast weight loss. This is not recommended as it will set you up to regain the weight later on, or put your metabolism into "slow-burn".

So what do I do?

While it is possible to lose 30 pounds in 30 days - this kind of weight loss may not necessarily be healthy (consider that we are made up of 70% water!).

A sustained regular diet and exercise that aims for small but regular fat loss is best.

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