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Fad Diets & Unhealthy Weight Loss Tactics Explained

Instead of buying into the appeal of fad diets, it is time to dim such false tactics and accusations and shine the light on unhealthy ways to lose weight.

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Fad diets and gimmicks became (and continue to become) popularized related to their quick and easy contribution to weight loss. What individuals need to know, though, is these claims are not only misleading, but can be extremely harmful to health.

Glamorized eating pattern and diet supplements not only promote weight loss, but quick weight loss. Weight loss should be a gradual process, an opposing claim from fads and gimmicks. Instead of buying into the appeal, it is time to dim such accusations and shine the light on unhealthy ways to lose weight.

Quick Weight Loss = Unhealthy Weight Loss

Unless recommended and monitored by a healthcare provider, most health experts commonly agree that a weight loss of one to two pounds a week is the most healthful way to lose weight.

But most importantly, gradual weight loss helps to keep the weight off. Although that may seem like a slow and undesirable pace, it is actually more beneficial in the long run. Quick weight loss is more than likely attributed to losing water weight or even lean muscle tissue, as it hard to burn high numbers of fat in a short period of time (unless practicing extreme, unhealthy weight loss methods).

To briefly explain weight loss, one pound of fat contains 3,500 calories. So to lose one pound a week, you need to burn 500 more calories than you eat each day (500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories). And if desiring a two pound drop each week, that translates to a reduction of 7,000 calories or 1,000 calories per day.

Unhealthy Ways to Lose Weight Fast

With weight loss diets and fads accessible right at your fingertips, the search engine has more than likely led you to these unhealthy ways to lose weight fast:

Starvation Diets

Diets that offer no substantial nutrients should be avoided, as they are mostly calorically restrictive and lead to feelings of hunger and starvation. These sort of diets can ultimately disrupt metabolism and result to muscle wasting.

One proven method of a starvation diet is the very low-calorie diet (VLCD), in which calories can fall at 800 calories per day, though is only recommended if medically needed and under the complete supervision of a healthcare professional.

Another socially popularized form of a starvation diet includes the Sleeping-Beauty Diet, where the individual takes sedative medication to sleep (and starve) through days at a time.

Diet Supplements

Diet supplements tend to promise quick weight loss and come in variable formulas, including tablets, extracts, drinks, and herbs. While certain supplements do show to lend some sort of healthy benefits, you are generally paying for the claim rather than a valuable product or result.

These sorts of products should not replace nutritious foods, and as their name suggests should be used to supplement a well-balanced diet. And since most pills and supplements are not regulated by an accredited foundation, they should be purchased and used with extreme caution.

Cleanses, Detoxes & Crash Diets

Also marketed as detox diets, cleanses range from pills to juices and include the infamous Lemonade diet. Regardless of the method, the thought of a cleanse and detox is to remove toxins from the body and increase its effectiveness.

In reality, though, the body already works hard to filter and excrete products consumed, especially by the kidneys and liver. Detox drinks are low in calorie and could lead to weight loss because of its calorie deficit, not because of its cleansing effects. The implementation of these types of diets deprive the body of essential nutrients and fiber found in whole, real foods.

Following this sort of diet often leads to a loss of water weight over fat mass and places significance risk of losing precious lean body mass. And not to mention, the irritability you experience when deprived of energy from foods.

Unconventional Diets

Experimenting with diets has become far too common in hopes to find that perfect concoction. Wanting and desiring quick loss, individuals seem to be taking extreme routes to drop serious poundage. Unconventional diets include the Baby Food and Tube Feeding Diets, practiced exactly how the name suggests...

But the Tongue Patch Diet gives the statement "No pain, no gain" a run for its money! The extreme weight loss method consists of a surgical procedure, particularly getting a hard plastic mesh surgically sewn onto the tongue in aims to inflict pain if trying to eat solid food…

Unhealthy Ways to Lose Weight Fast Slowly

There is no denying reaching a healthy weight is beneficial, as even just modest weight loss lowers the risk of chronic diseases and improves overall health. But the focus is not necessarily on the end result, but rather the steps taken to get there.

So instead of becoming enticed with such unhealthy ways to lose weight, make sustainable lifestyle changes to foster a whole health approach. 

And though it is important to stay mindful of calories, they should not be the superior focus, as natural weight loss will likely follow if consistently making healthy eating choices, exercising regularly, sleeping seven to nine hours each night, managing stress, and considering a weight loss meal delivery program.

Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on May 21, 2013. Updated on March 11, 2019.

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