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Is There Any Benefit to a Fad Diet?

Fitday Editor

Fad diets, like the Grapefruit Diet and the Liquid Diet, have been going around for a long time. But as much as these weight-loss methods often gain temporary popularity, others always remain skeptical. If your goal is to shred pounds and keep them off, could a fad diet get you there? The answer is both yes and no.

What exactly is a fad diet?

Fad diets are extreme, short-lived diets that focus on certain types of methods for losing weight in a quick amount of time. Those who construct the philosophies of fad diets often market them in ways that defy any type of scientific evidence.

Fad diets as portrayed by the media

Just by its name, it's easy to infer whether or not fad diets are beneficial or detrimental. However, it doesn't help that tabloids often use celebrity fad diets as content for editorial features, such as supermodel Adriana Lima's famous use of the all-liquid diet a few years ago. When tabloids so aggressively expose us to things that famous people are doing, it can seem like those activities are actually legitimate.

So can fad diets really inspire healthy living?

Some argue that fad diets inspire healthy living, but it's important to keep in mind that it's usually fad-diet marketers who are saying this. Though it might be somewhat true that fad diets promote exercise and dieting, they don't promote the kind of exercise and dieting that can produce long-term results and promote self-acceptance.

To further understand whether or not fad diets inspire healthy living, we must ask ourselves: what exactly is healthy living? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), healthy living is "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being." If we ask ourselves if fad diets help us attain those three states, it might be difficult to come up with a straight answer.

Fad diets: a set-up for failure?

Fad diets are like fashion trends. One minute color-block clothing is in and the next day they're considered tacky. Likewise, fad diets are trendy, and that means they only produce short-term results, which in turn compromises long-term progress.

Losing so much weight in a short amount of time--without getting enough vitamins and nutrients--is a mentally dangerous way to think about weight loss. With this method, it's no longer about health but, rather, about how we look. And when we are so focused on that instead of how we feel, we become powerless and give in to the forces that motivate us to look a certain way. We lose control of our own desires, motivations and goals.

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Kristine Hoang is a freelance writer and graphic artist based in Orange County, Calif. She graduated from UC Irvine with a degree in history and currently writes about food, education, career and lifestyle for various alternative weekly newspapers and online publications. Besides writing, Kristine has former experience in fashion, non-profits, and graphic design. To learn more about Kristine and her work, visit her About.Me page.

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