Woman Holding Bag of VegetablesA famous movie line says you should live fast, die young, and leave a good-looking corpse. However, many of us might prefer to live long, be successful, and still look good well into our golden years. The way you manage your weight and overall health can help determine all of these outcomes.

In what has seemingly become a worldwide obsession with weight, it is easy to find yourself on an endless treadmill of gaining and losing pounds and inches. Weight management can be difficult, so the next big fad diets may possibly sound very promising but they can also be risky. Therefore, if you are thinking of trying them, you may want to know if fad diets are dangerous for your health.

What exactly is a fad diet?

There are many reasons why you may wish to lose weight. It could be to look better in your clothes, to have more energy for an active lifestyle, or to get healthier by lowering fat and cholesterol.

All the reputable diet books, and even your physician, say that the best way to lose weight is to consume fewer calories and exercise more. A good mealtime regimen should help you eat less but it is important to distinguish between a good diet and a fad diet.

A fad diet is one that requires you to drastically cut your caloric intake or one that strictly limits and controls the types of food you are allowed to eat while following the plan. Most fad diet schemes make grand guarantees of rapid, dramatic weight loss without having to do any strenuous exercises. They are especially attractive to folks who want to lose weight fast and see immediate results.

Some fad diets become popular through word of mouth or media coverage. Others are designed to sell books, expensive meal programs, or elaborate vitamin and supplement treatments.

What are the dangers of fad diets?

Although you may notice a significant change when you step on the bathroom scale while following a fad diet, this is usually short-lived and that number will increase as soon as you are off the program. You might also discover that you are obsessively craving the foods you have been omitting from your diet.

Because of this, you may have a tendency to go on and off the program or to keep finding other fad diets that will work. Each time you gain weight, you probably pack on a few extra pounds, which can ultimately lead to more weight than you started with.

For example, let’s say you weigh 200 pounds. You might lose 20 pounds on a fad diet, but then gain it back, plus another five pounds, when you are off the diet. Now, you need to lose 25 pounds, and this cycle just continues. Studies have shown that this yo-yo dieting―the term used to describe the phenomenon of repeatedly gaining and losing weight―can actually be more harmful to your body in the long run than a minor weight gain.

Additionally, some fad diets actually cause you to lose muscle and fluids instead of fat. Many have plans that reduce the amount of calories you eat to dangerous levels. Others require you to cut out key sources of proteins or nutrients, which can damage organs and cause digestive problems.

One of the biggest problems with fad diets is that they do not change your poor eating habits, which are most likely the cause of the extra weight you are carrying.

What are some examples of popular fad diets?

In your desperation to lose weight, you may be feeling like you are willing to try anything at all. Moreover, there is no shortage of plans and programs that pledge to help you on your weight loss mission.

There are the Hollywood diet and the cabbage soup diet. You may have heard of the grapefruit diet, which requires you to eat a grapefruit before or during each meal. Perhaps you have even tried the raw food diet or the apple cider vinegar diet.

Fad diets can range from simple to downright bizarre. Some people swear by the liquid or broth diets, which exclude any solid food. More radical types of dieting include fads such as the baby food diet, feeding tube diet, and the tapeworm diet. Even trendy programs such as the Atkins and South Beach diets qualify as fad diets because they sometimes prohibit whole categories of foods and nutrient groups.

Can fad diets really help you lose weight?

Before trying any type of diet, it is best to consult your physician to discuss any potential dangers. It is also wise to do your research and check the legitimacy of any claims made by the creators of the diet. In other words, find out if it is really possible to achieve the results they are promising.

Overall, fad diets are considered to be an unhealthy, interim solution. The greatest way to achieve permanent weight loss is to pay attention to portion sizes and servings, and increase your activity level.