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What are Fad Diets?

A fad diet is a diet that is popular for a period of time without being a standard dietary recommendation. Fad diets may promise unreasonably fast weight loss and nonsensical health improvements. Usually the diet consists of highly restrictive or unusual food choices, which can lead to serious health problems down the line. Typically these diets are extremely unhealthy and are not sustainable. 

 Since fad diets may promote rapid weight-loss, it can slow down your metabolism causing future weight gain, or difficulty maintaining weight loss. Some risks of these diets are deficiencies of essential nutrients, a weakened immune system, dehydration, heart palpitations and cardiac stress. 

 Below are 3 examples of fad diets that are common today:

It is important to understand that although these diets may cause initial weight loss, it is not sustainable long-term and can actually lead to disordered eating patterns or more severe health complications. Since fad diets often cut out essential foods, individuals who go on these diets may be deficient in vitamins and minerals, and experience low energy due to the low carbohydrate intake from healthy, whole food sources. Additional symptoms individuals may experience include dehydration, weakness and fatigue, nausea, headaches and constipation. 

Instead of a fad diet, try moving toward a time-tested eating pattern that supports health, such as the Mediterranean Diet. 

The Mediteaneon diet is based on adopting the eating style of those who live in the Mediterraneon region of the world. This diet is made so people can enjoy longer lifespans and have less of a risk of developing chronic diseases. Foods that are encouraged on this diet include vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, yogurt, olive oil, cheese, moderate amounts of poultry, eggs, fish and small amounts of red wine. Foods that are restricted include refined sugars and carbohydrates, processed oils and animal protein, especially red meat. While it is beneficial to develop a balance of healthy food and lifestyle factors, restriction of any food can lead to detrimental eating habits later on. 

If you are interested in changing your lifestyle and the way you eat, we recommend you speak to a registered dietitian before making the decision to try a fad diet. Rather than taking extreme measures to change your body weight, a dietitian can help you find an eating pattern that is balanced, includes foods you love, and helps your body thrive. 

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