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28 Dec

Understanding Different Diet Fads: What Works and What Doesn’t

healthy food

We’re nearing the end of the year, which means one thing aside from the holidays — New Year’s resolutions. A common area of focus in these annual resolutions often revolves around weight loss, weight management, and overall well-being. According to data from BCC Research, the global weight loss products and services market is predicted to reach $377.3 billion by 2026. Over the past years, people have gone in and out of different diet trends in the hopes of finding something that sticks and works. We all have different bodies and different responses to food and dietary changes, however, so it’s never going to be easy to narrow down specific diets that are 100% effective.

What we can agree on, however, is that some diet trends are healthier and more effective than others. While diets not working may be a natural occurrence, it’s important to be cautious of the impact they may have on your body. Today, we’ll be looking at the diet fads that work, and those that don’t:

vegetable salad on plate

Diet fads that work

Many diet trends today have been around for years — some as early as the 2000s — and maybe for a reason. While they may not be the one-size-fits-all solution to proper weight loss and weight management, they may have shown results and effectiveness for their followers. Some of these include:

WeightWatchers diet

WeightWatchers’ impact on health and weight loss dates all the way back to the 60s in the form of weight loss support groups and cookbooks. Their official website launched in 2001 and has since established WeightWatchers as a tech leader in weight loss, with figures such as Oprah Winfrey becoming their spokesperson in previous years. WeightWatchers’ weight loss programs have simplified healthy eating with their Points System and customized plans. They have had a track record of success and a large following, including celebrities such as Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Hudson, both of whom, like Oprah, became spokespersons for the brand.

Atkins diet

Heavily research-backed, the Atkins diet is a low-carbohydrate eating plan known for short-term weight loss results, as well as improving health markers such as cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Now a company, Atkins takes a hybrid approach to dieting, focusing on education and pre-made food options. The Atkins diet takes place in four phases: induction, ongoing weight loss, pre-maintenance, and lifetime maintenance, to keep the lost weight off for good through lifelong healthy choices. Some celebrities who saw results from the Atkins diet include Jennifer Aniston, Rob Lowe, and Kim Kardashian.

Veganism

Finally, another well-loved diet fad is veganism — the plant-based diet that forbids animal products such as meat, eggs, and dairy. We’ve previously written a post on Understanding Veganism and why many Americans swear by it. Plant-based foods are known to be rich in important nutrients that help lower the chances of cancer. Antioxidants also help fight free radicals that cause inflammation and other diseases. Today, people live by veganism for various reasons, including weight loss, health, and even religious beliefs. Some of these people include Stevie Wonder and actor Joaquin Phoenix.

food picture

Diet fads that don’t

Moving on, some diet fads are based on highly restrictive dietary habits that may be harmful to your mind and body in the long term. While these may help with short-term weight loss success, they may deprive your body of the necessary nutrients to maintain a healthy immune system.

Carnivore diet

Rapidly gaining popularity on social media platforms this year, the carnivore diet is a modified and extreme version of the paleo and Atkins diet. As implied by its name, the carnivore diet is focused on consuming only meat and animal products — the total opposite of veganism. Some low-lactose dairy can be fit into the diet, such as yogurt and cheese, but no fruits and vegetables are allowed. The reason this diet fad isn’t recommended by health experts is that it cuts off your body from accessing important nutrients contained in fruits and vegetables.

Juice cleanse diets

Lastly, juice cleanse diets used to be a popularly endorsed weight loss method by celebrities and health experts. It champions the “cleansing” and detoxing of our bodies through a squeezed juice-only diet. Studies have linked the juice-only diet with the development of eating disorders, as well as low blood sugar and decreased cognitive function. The juice-only way may lose you some weight in the short term, but it is ultimately harmful to your body and may even lead to malnourishment.

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