We all have friends, or follow people on Instagram, who started a fad diet and saw amazing results. Maybe they went vegan or gluten-free, or they decided to do keto or give intermittent fasting a try. Whatever the diet may be, it’s undeniable that they lost a lot of weight or gained more lean muscle.
Aren’t fad diets bad though? How are all these people seeing such amazing results, when you hear all the time that they don’t work? In this episode, I’m going to discuss four reasons why people are seeing amazing results and hopefully help you decide whether or not you should be doing these fad diets as well.
1. Fad Diets Encourage You to Eat More Whole Foods
Generally, people who start fad diets are those who have no nutritional foundation. Before starting the fad diet, these people probably weren’t eating healthy. Their diets were made up of processed, packaged foods, and likely some fast food too. They weren’t aware of what foods are truly healthy for them.
When people start fad diets, they begin to educate themselves on what foods they should be eating. They are on a health kick, and with that comes buying healthier foods. These diets typically have meal plans or shopping lists they recommend as well, usually made up of whole foods.
2. Fad Diets Help Control Your Portion Sizes
Not only are these fad diets encouraging people to become more aware of what they are eating, they are also encouraging them to become more aware of how much they are eating. Prior to starting a fad diet, most people were mindlessly eating. They were either not paying attention to how much they were eating, or they were underestimating how much they were eating. Just how fad diets will provide you with a meal plan or food guide, they typically will include restrictions or guidelines on how much you should eat. While we know monitoring our caloric intake isn’t the only solution to weight loss or gaining lean muscle, it still remains important.
3. Fad Diets Help You Lose Weight Fast–From Water, Not Fat
Another reason people see quick results from these fads diets is because it causes them to lose ample amounts of water weight. Yes, that’s right. The quick weight they are losing is not from losing body fat, it’s from losing water weight.
We all have seen or heard of people who have lost 12 pounds in two weeks. Did they really lose six pounds of body fat a week? Typically, one pound per week is said to be a healthy amount of weight to lose, not six. So how are they a losing all this weight so fast?
Most processed foods are high in sugar and carbohydrates. When you cut them out of your diet and replace them with whole foods, your carbohydrate intake will drastically drop. Eating 1 gram of carbs causes you to retain 3 to 4 grams of water. This means, reducing your intake of carbohydrates leads you to retain much less water, making you will weigh less. It’s not actually weight loss they are experiencing. If they don’t stick to the fad diet, they will quickly gain their weight, or water weight, back.
4. Fad Diets Eliminates Unknown Food Sensitivities
Many people have food intolerances they are completely unaware of. Going on these fad diets may encourage them to eliminate foods that their body isn’t tolerating. If you are regularly consuming foods that you are intolerant to, it will cause your body to become chronically inflamed. Chronic inflammation leads to weight gain. Food intolerances are a hidden cause of weight gain and coincidentally the least talked about cause of weight gain. When people eliminate the foods their bodies are sensitive to, they will not only reduce their inflammation but lose more weight.
A lot of people are intolerant to gluten or grains. Going paleo requires them to cut out all grains which includes gluten. This helps calm their inflammation, helping them lose more weight.
It’s also very common for people to be intolerant to dairy or eggs. Going vegan will eliminate all animal products from their diet, therefor ridding themselves of dairy and eggs and experiencing decreased inflammation and more weight loss.
If you are interested in learning more about inflammation, I have had the pleasure to record episodes with two of the leading experts in the health industry. Check out episode 97: The Hidden Cause of Weight Gain with JJ Virgin where JJ talks us through the six most common foods people are intolerant too and how you can figure out if you are one of those people who are intolerant to them.
What does this mean for you?
You don’t need to follow these fad diets to see the results.
Instead, just focus on these four theses to see amazing, lasting results:
- Focus on consuming a whole food diet
- Become more mindful of your portion sizes
- Monitor the amount of processed carbs you are consuming
- Become aware of any food sensitivities you may have (Learn more about common food sensitivities here.)
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