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Fad Diets Do More Harm Than Good

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Written by Rebecca Gleeson

February 21, 2011

In today's fast paced society, it is easy to get caught up in the latest craze. With more and more fast food restaurants opening up across the globe and our obesity level rising, can something that helps you lose weight really be that bad? The answer is yes. This essay will discuss why fad diets are so dangerous in today's society, while looking at how they work and some common examples that we all know of.

When you go to the local newsagents and pick up the latest teen magazine, what do you see on the cover? Nine times out of ten it is a tall, slender, fashion model wearing revealing clothes. As you flip through the magazine you notice how much smaller all the girls in the pictures are compared to you. As you travel home on the local bus you are bombarded with advertisements for the latest food crave. You finally arrive home to sit on the couch and watch some television when you are attacked by even more advertising indirectly telling you how you should look. This is the source of the problem that leads to people embarking on a fad diet, without knowing the dangers.

A fad diet is a short term meal plan that focuses on 'special' foods or avoiding foods. Fad diets offer an unrealistically, unhealthy weight loss goal of around five kilos in one week. Sure it might seem like a good way to fit into that new dress or get ready for swimsuit season, but is it really worth all the damage it is doing to your body? By only eating certain foods or cutting out an entire food group, you are depriving your body of valuable nutrients that are needed for proper brain and muscle function. A well known fad diet, Aitkin's is a diet that is based around cutting down ones consumption of carbohydrates. Carbs are an extremely important part of a healthy diet as they provide the body with long lasting energy, while adding significant amounts of fibre, vitamins and minerals. By depriving yourself of this energy giving food, you are essentially breaking down your muscles and organs.

The Atkins diet works in the same way as most fad diets. When the participant begins, a sudden change in diet means a lower intake of calories. When less gets put in, the body burns up more of what is stored. This is why dieters will see drastic results in the first week or so. Interestingly enough, almost all of the weight lost during this beginning period is either water weight or lean muscle mass. While the participant is not allowed to eat certain foods, natural cravings begin, which often lead to binging on unhealthy foods. Once the dieter has completed the course, they often return to their regular diet and regain any weight that was lost. Taking part in fad diets does not teach the participant about a healthy diet, therefore their understanding of what healthy becomes warped. This can lead to serious eating disorders.



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