Trend Diets: Fad or Fiction?

Are fad diets a good way to lose weight and gain health?

<p>The Atkins diet focuses on eating fruits, vegetables, animal protein, fats, and fresh grocery items.</p>

The Atkins diet focuses on eating fruits, vegetables, animal protein, fats, and fresh grocery items.

In a society often preoccupied with physical appearance, Psychology Today found that 38 percent of women and 34 percent of men are not satisfied with their body image.

“The media portrays—particularly women, and even men—as very fit and much smaller than what most regular people can actually be,” said Amber Haroldson, assistant professor of human nutrition at Ball State. “It makes people want to look like that and be like that, so people try to diet in order to get that way.”

The Boston Medical Center says that 45 million Americans go on a diet each year. Annually, $33 billion is spent on weight loss products in the United States.

The Atkins diet, South Beach diet, Weight Watchers and going gluten-free are just a few fad diets people try in hopes of achieving their ideal body weight.

“[A fad diet is] any diet that doesn’t adhere to good conventional wisdom for eating,” said Christy Tunnell, Ball State’s program director of nutrition and dietetics. “A lot of times a fad diet will cut out certain food groups altogether.”

Rather than sticking to a healthy lifestyle with moderation of healthy foods, exercise and enough rest, fad diets usually don’t require one to change his or her lifestyle dramatically. Those that emphasize eliminating certain food groups cause dieters to lose the nutrients that were in that group.

“I think that we are a society of instant gratification,” Tunnell said. “We look for kind of a way to cheat the system. How do I diet and not really have to watch what I eat all the time, or not have to exercise all the time and still keep the weight off?”

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