How many times do you look at yourself in the mirror in a single day? Around 4-8 times? Maybe a little more, maybe a little less. Have you ever looked at your reflection and poked at your “food baby” or pushed your chin into your neck and sighed whined about your double chin? If yes, you’re not alone! Most of us have sighed at our bodies, and vowed to only eat salad or workout at least five times a week. People also adopting fad diets, which promise significant weight loss in very little time. However, this promise of weight loss comes at a high, hidden cost: your wellbeing.
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) defines fad diets as: “a diet that promises quick weight loss through what is usually an unhealthy and unbalanced diet. Fad diets are targeted at people who want to lose weight quickly without exercise.” While fad diets sound like an easy path to weight loss, there are numerous risk factors associated with them, and their general effectiveness is dubious at best.
To begin with, it is important to note that fad diets reduce water weight, instead of fat. Losing water weight is highly problematic because our bodies rely on it to protect us from dehydration. As a result, not only do fad diets provide an extremely temporary solution to weight loss, the resulting dehydration can lead to significant drops in blood pressure, seizures, and urinary and kidney problems (Mayo Clinic Staff, n.d.).
Most fad diets limit consumption to specific types of food. Popular examples include: the grapefruit diet, which recommends eating only grapefruit; liquid diets, which is based solely on liquids; and the “crazy for cabbage” diet, which, like the grapefruit diet, recommends eating only cabbage (“Fad Diets,” n.d.).
Due to the very restrictive nature of fad diets, they deprive individuals of numerous essential nutrients that make up a well-balanced meal. Consequently, they place a significant strain on the body, cause fatigue, and increase the chances of developing cardiovascular diseases (Boyington, n.d.).
While weight gain and dieting are common issues around the world, fad diets have gained a large audience in South Korea. According to Tessa Domzalski of the University of Canberra, a K-Pop girl group called Nine Muses recently shared their experience with the “paper cup diet.” The diet requires participants to consume all of their meals (mainly grains, fruits, and vegetables ) in three-ounce paper cups, for a total of nine cups per day. The paper cup diet has become popular among fans as well as individuals who belong to pro-anorexia groups (Domzalski, n.d.). As with nearly all fad diets, the paper cup diet strictly monitors calories. Consequently, those who follow it are vulnerable to numerous risks, including the development of eating disorders as well as the aforementioned health conditions.
Beauty has become a top priority for men and women in today’s society. Advertisements trumpeting body modifications and high beauty standards are plastered everywhere, on trains, buses, radio stations, T.V. channels, magazines, and billboards. Sometimes it is difficult to not get caught up in the obsession with having the “perfect” body. While it is important to stay fit, it is also equally–if not more–important to maintain a proper diet and a healthy routine, as our actions often have the potential to lead to severe risks of harm to our bodies.
Boyington, A. (n.d.) 7 Reasons You’ll Never Lose Weight on a Fad Diet. Reader’s Digest. Retrieved April 22, 2018, from https://www.rd.com/health/diet-weight-loss/fad-diets/.
Domzalski, T. (2017, January 25). The Paper Cup Diet Is a Dangerous Fad in Korea That Needs to Be Addressed. Spoon University. Retrieved April 22, 2018, from https://spoonuniversity.com/healthier/the-paper-cup-diet-is-a-dangerous-fad-in-korea.
“Fad Diets,” (n.d.). UPMC. Retrieved April 22, 2018, from http://www.upmc.com/patients-visitors/education/nutrition/pages/fad-diets.aspx.
Mayo Clinic Staff. (n.d.) Dehydration. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved April 22, 2018, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/symptoms-causes/syc-20354086.