We all get suckered in by popular trends. When everybody’s doing it, when we hear about it wherever we go, we start to feel left out if we don’t join in.
Don’t cave! When it comes to what you put in your body, science is always the ultimate authority.
Fortunately, we live at a time and in a place where we have great foods available. The key to taking advantage of Sarasota-Bradenton’s nutritional bounty is simply making informed decisions.
What are Fad Diets?
A “fad” diet indicates any plan, regimen, schedule, or rule(s) that tell you how, when, and what to eat. The vast majority of American fad diets center on losing weight.
Fad diets deviate from long-term, scientifically studied and medically accepted information about how the body processes nutrition. They instead often center on “new information” or “discoveries” about the human body. (These dietary discoveries are often misleading or downright false.)
Fad diets often (but not always) include a time limit for being followed. The implication there is that, if you follow a plan for a limited amount of time, you can look forward to returning to your old habits, while still reaping long-term benefits.
Fad diets rarely address the importance of physical activity and almost always disregard our widespread differences in body type, hormones, health background, lifestyle and more.
Fad diets may tell you to totally avoid certain types of food (fats or sugars or even foods of a certain color)
only eat foods in a certain form or prepared a certain way (raw or liquid)
only eat at certain times of day (not after 9 p.m., not between X and Y times of day).
Why are Fad Diets Bad?
Obviously, anything that ignores medical science is, at best, a waste of time.
But fad diets are especially insidious and overwhelmingly dangerous. By feeding off our societal pressure to put weight loss above all else—including our own health—fad diets often lead to short-term discomfort and long-term physical changes that can lead to even more weight gain, lethargy and a slew of serious, long-term health issues.
Here are some of the many ways fad diets damage your body:
Slow metabolism. Depriving your body of fuel puts it in starvation mode, where it hangs on to as much fat as possible.
Muscle damage. Your muscles are awesome, but your body will use them for fuel if you’re not using and nourishing them.
Malnourishment/malnutrition. Some nutrients can only be acquired through certain foods. Eliminate a food group and you eliminate nutrients, which can cause everything from lethargy to scurvy to liver and kidney damage.
Psychological damage. Fad diets feed off psychological vulnerability above all else. And rather than bolstering our mental health, they reinforce unhealthy mindsets (so you’ll be more likely to fall for a fad diet again and again).
So What Diets Are Good?
First of all, be wary of the term “diet.” A diet of any kind suggests a short-term solution for what should be a manageable—and even enjoyable—lifestyle.
Your body is an almost unendingly complicated system. It can be overwhelming and frustrating when you try to control it. So here are some simple things to start with:
- Everything in moderation. Yes, you hear it a lot. We tend to be seduced by the new ideas, when the things we hear over and over again are repeated because they’re actually true.
- Rather than factory-assembled foods, the closer your ingredients are to their original state—ie you can easily identify the plant or animal they came from—the better.
- Educate yourself with good sources. Pay attention to where your dietary information comes from. Better yet, talk to an expert who can develop a healthy and sustainable series of lifestyle adjustments that work for you.
- Listen to your body AND your brain. You deserve to feel good. If you’re uncomfortable and/or unhappy for long periods of time, then something’s wrong.
Yes, what you eat is very important! But there’s no need to turn to fad diets We have all the resources you need right here. Southwest Florida is a health mecca. Bradenton alone enjoys readily available medical expertise, locally grown nutritional bounty, incredible healthy eateries, and (of course) professional exercise experts.
Your health and wellbeing are not a short-term “trend.” It’s a lifelong pursuit.
We’re here to help.