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Why Fad Diets Don't Work

Oct 20, 2019


First off, we should understand what “fad” is defined as. A fad is defined as “ an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short-lived and without basis in the object's qualities.” The nature of fads is that they are quick to be obsessed over and yet just as quickly forgotten. With that in might it should be pretty obvious as to why fad diets don't work. The key term that surrounds the majority of fad diets is quick. They will work quickly, you will lose weight quickly, and that the results will quickly be lost if you don't keep up with the diet.

The Law of Thermodynamics states: Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. If you eat less, you'll lose weight (calorie deficit), if you eat more, you'll gain weight (calorie surplus.) Joesph Agu summarized this perfectly in the Total Daily Energy Expenditure image below&


Many of the diets give you one thing to give up or to eat in place of another each day. Rarely do any of these diets actually teach you what healthy eating is. The reality of each fad diet is that what you are doing, is consuming LESS calories than you were before. This is an idea that is not innovative or new, its just being told to you in a different way.

The overall message of consuming fewer calories is being woven into the messages of fad diet slogans by saying “trade in bread for lettuce and add more fiber to your diet,” or “don't eat breakfast, have a huge lunch and a small dinner.” Sometimes, it even comes to you in the form of adding butter to your coffee!

Whatever it may be, the overall message is clear: by consuming less calories, you will lose weight.

Here's an example:

Average american consumes 2,700 calories of which 50% come from carbs. If 1,350 calories come from carbs, that's 337.5g (1g of carbs = 4cal, 1g of pro = 4cal, 1g of fat = 9cal.) If you hop on the Keto diet train (eating less than 40g of carbs per day), let's say 37.5g to make things easy – I know y'all's arithmetic suck. Keto would now have you eating 300g OR 1,200 calories less. If you ate more protein and fat (two of the more satiating macronutrients), you'd feel full AND be in a deficit.

This isn't a new message to any of us, rather it seems we are trying to pretend we don't know about this wonderful fact and prove that fad diets do indeed work! News flash, they do not!

So let's save ourselves some time and money and just remember that if we cut calories, we cut pounds. Also, if we continuously do this and make it into a habit, along with a side of designated time in the gym, we will see better results that last longer than the fad diets do!

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