FAD Diets: Reloaded

FAD diets come and go. But some of these diets have simply refused to fade. They have captured our attention for a long time.

What are fad diets and why are they called so? A fad is any form of behavior that develops among a large population and is collectively followed with enthusiasm for some period, generally as a result of the behavior’s being perceived as novel in some way. The behavior will normally fade quickly once the perception of novelty is gone. (Kornblum, William, 2007). Simply put, a fad diet is a diet which becomes popular quickly or in networking language goes viral and gains acceptance. But the diet fades away as quickly as it became popular.

Few FAD Diets which refuse to die….

Atkins Diet: is based on the observation that at equal calorie intake, low carbohydrate diets result in more rapid weight loss compared to high carbohydrate diets. The diet is divided into four phases; the first phase starts with abnormally low carbohydrate content (around 20g/day). Slowly and gradually you progress through phases: 2 (25-45 g carbs a day), 3 (50-70 g) and 4 (more than 75 g) where you add more and more carbohydrate foods. Phase 4 is also called the maintenance phase which you need to follow for the lifetime. Atkins diet is a high protein (animal protein) diet  with no fat restriction. The main aim is to restrict carbohydrate in all forms.

Author’s Take on Atkins diet: A high protein diet for a long time leads to altered lipid (cholesterol) profile and high uric acid. The weight loss observed during low carbohydrate intake is entirely due to changes in water balance. Resumption of carbohydrate intake reverses this process and results in weight gain and water retention. The diet being unbalanced is unsuitable for long term weight loss. A recent study reviewed in The New England Journal of Medicine found that an Atkins-type diet promotes atherosclerosis (blockage in arteries).

South Beach Diet: was designed by cardiologist Arthur Agatston and dietician Marie Almon to prevent heart disease among his patients. The South Beach Diet replaces bad carbs and bad fats with good carbs and good fats i.e. replace high glycemic index foods with low glycemic index foods and trans and saturated fats with unsaturated fats. Like Atkins, this diet is also divided into phases. Three phases: Phase 1 lasts for two weeks. No sugars, processed carbohydrates, fruits, and high glycemic vegetables are allowed during this phase. Phase 2: till you do not reach the desired weight. It re-introduces most fruits and vegetables and some whole grains as well. Phase 3: maintenance phase lasts for life.

Author’s Take on South Beach Diet: The diet meets criteria for a healthy diet as it emphasizes the intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean protein while not omitting any major food group.

Cabbage Soup Dietis a low-fat, high-fibre diet which is recommended to be followed for a week’s time with a gap of two weeks in between. Basis of this diet is the inclusion of a good amount of cabbage soup daily along with specific foods.
Day One: fruit day (except banana); other allowed drinks include tea (without sugar) and cranberry juice. Day Two: vegetables. Day Three: Fruits (except banana) and vegetables. Day Four: Bananas (not more than eight) and Skim Milk. Day Five: Beef / lean chicken / fish and Tomatoes (not more than six). Day Six: Beef / lean chicken / fish and Vegetables. Day Seven: Brown rice, fresh fruit juices and vegetables.

Author’s Take on Cabbage Soup Diet: The diet being strict with abstinence from carbohydrates / proteins / fats (energy providers) on specific days might make people weak and dizzy. There are very high chances of gain in weight after reverting back to a regular diet.

For more on FAD diets

Recommended read http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-dean-ornish/an-atkins-diet-increases-_b_707005.html

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