Why Most People Who Lose Weight on Fad Diets Don’t Maintain the Weight Loss
You don’t have to look far to find some celebrity who has lost a large amount of weight on some fad diet, whether it’s keto, low-carb, no-carb, paleo, or all smoothies and raw food. While diets are big business (with an estimated $33 billion spent every year by Americans on weight loss products), studies show that almost half of all people who have lost any significant weight have regained that weight (and often more) within three to five years.
Why Fad Diets Typically Fail
Let’s look at some of the basic reasons that fad diets don’t lead to long-term weight loss and management:
- Fad diets may produce weight loss, but it’s the wrong kind of weight that you’re losing—The best weight to lose is excess body fat. With most fad diets, what you are actually losing may be muscle, fiber or nothing more than water. Typically, a fad diet will target one type of food and seek to remove it from your table. But your body needs balance. Depriving it of essential nutrients can have detrimental health effects.
- Fad diets are not practical—Most fad diets require a lot of work…that’s not a bad thing, but it can be difficult to stay motivated when you spend most of your time counting calories or matching proteins with carbohydrates, or only eating at certain times. Following a strict routine, especially one that’s contrary to what you’ve spent most of your life doing, may not be possible or practical.
- Fad diets typically lead to weight gain—Denying your body the food it craves can increase “cortisol” levels. Cortisol is the stress hormone in your body. When you increase these levels, your body responds with stress-related cravings. Increasing your cortisol levels can also inhibit insulin processing, which can lead to Type 2 diabetes. Increased cortisol typically leads to increased eating, often followed by more fad dieting and then more crave-type eating.
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