Fad Diets

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NO FAD DIETS
Americans are obsessed with dieting. They willingly try the latest diet appearing in popular magazines, discussed on talk shows, and displayed on the shelves of a local bookstore. The basic premises to a healthy life seem simple, and Americans are even given specific guidelines- outlined in the food pyramid- as to how much of each food group to eat. If this is so, why then, is obesity one of the leading health risks confronting Americans? It may be because the simple and healthy road to weight loss is actually a long-term process. Therefore, it is tempting for Americans to substitute diets and exercise regimens with what are known as “fad diets”—diets that promise quick and easy results. Long term weight loss does not come from extreme diets and quick fix decisions; losing weight and keeping it off comes from choosing a healthy lifestyle and making it a habit. Despite research, fad diets have achieved popularity proving their dangers and inefficiency. Just as a car needs the proper gasoline, the human body needs a healthy diet; a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat to properly develop. Although fad diets may share very different “truths”, most have many common characteristics: most claim to provide insight and new results, but they are simply replicas of older fad diets (Hobbs 2007, 42). They also claim that specific foods or group of foods are the “enemy” and should be banned from the diet. This is a myth—there is not a single food which is capable of causing weight gain or loss (Hobbs 2007, 42). Another characteristic of a fad diet is that they usually promise fast results. These diets are usually not supported by scientific evidence, and the information they provide are usually derived from a single study or analysis (Hobbs 2007, 42).

An example of a popular fad diet is called “The Zone.” This plan was created by Barry Sears, PhD in 1995 (Greene 2003, 23). Sear’s principle argument is that human beings are programmed to function...
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