Johnson: Nutrition and Fad Diets Essay

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The Skinny on Fad Diets
Jessica Johnson
DeVry University
FAD DIETS You had to stay over at work, pick up the kids, taking them to their various activities, running through the drive through for a quick meal, and begin to unwind on the couch. You could have gone for a walk on your lunch break, hit the gym after work, and made a well-balanced meal for all to eat at the dinner table but with deadlines, a demanding job, and a family to raise with an even crazier schedule; by the end of the day you are beat. However, those extra thirty pounds are just sitting there, waiting to be shed. One day, a thought occurs to seek out a solution, naturally this leads to the internet. A quick Google search and you are now being overloaded with a list of diets, pills, and drinks that will completely change your life around. All without having to rearrange your daily planner to make the life style changes needed for healthy weight loss. Sites with stories of “I lost 20 pounds in the first 2 weeks on diet ABC.” or “Diet XYZ gave me energy to accomplish everything I wanted in the day, while becoming and looking like the person that I want to be.” In other words, the search has brought up results on fad diets. As the schedules of Americans become more and more jam packed, the rate of becoming an unhealthy adult is rising. Currently 69% of Americans are overweight or obese (Jadhav, 2010). Stress from family life, a job, and a tight schedule has a way of causing one to gain weight and having a lower activity level than needed. The effects of one weighing more than ideal causes concern in most Americans, and because of this they want a diet that will fit into their crammed schedules. People want to see quick results and know that what they are doing is working. This leads to searches trying to find ‘solutions’ in everyday life–from TV commercials, magazine ads, top selling books, and word of mouth. With the ultimate goal being able to find a way to accomplish dreams in a very short amount of time. The list that is found is numerous and attractive to those who want the quick fix to the problem. To see the number on the scales fall, one person will try diet after diet. Their dedication to the diet fails as they starve nutrients from the body. Fad diets attract people every day due to the ease at which they promote a fast and effective weight loss, despite the low success rate.
A fad diet is defined as “Any of a number of weight-reduction diets that either eliminate one or more of the essential food groups, or recommend consumption of one type of food in excess at the expense of other foods; FDs rarely follow modern principles for losing weight” (McGraw-Hill , 2002). What this translates out to be is weight loss obtained at the expense of health. People seek out these diets because they feel like losing weight correctly; with proper eating habits and exercise, will take too much time and work. Doctors and nutritionist agree that implementing a healthier lifestyle isn’t the easiest thing for most people, but with small changes over a period of time, one would be able to accomplish the desired results and become healthy instead of just skinny.
How do you know something is a fad diet, and what is it about human nature that makes shortcuts so appealing, no matter how often the path strays from the original goal? Well generally speaking a fad diet will meet most of these criteria. Promising a quick fix, promote “magic” foods or a combination of food, implies that food can change body chemistry, exclude or severely restrict food groups; such as carbohydrates, has rigid rules, or makes claims based on a single study or testimonials only (State Government of Victoria, 2014). "It takes about 12 weeks for you to see progress, and that is about the time you should incorporate a few more changes so you keep pushing the bar," says Dawn Jackson-Blatner, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (ADA). Therefore, looing 20 pounds in…