Breakthrough Patient Recruitment

: “That Diet is a Fad Idea”…And Other Important Information about Diet Trends

“That Diet is a Fad Idea”…And Other Important Information about Diet Trends

Recruitment Specialist

Happy New Year! Or should I say "Happy New Diet?" Every year around this time, people adopt new diets as a part of their New Year's resolutions. However, by February, many of these people will have failed.

But when we talk about a failed diet, we should consider more than just "why did I gain back the weight?" Some aspects of fad diets can be dangerous, and the health care industry (including providers and communicators) must remain diligent in ensuring that their patients have all the information they need to make informed decisions about their diet. With that in mind, here's a brief overview of three diets that seem to be sticking out this year. 

Master Cleanse

What it is:Also known as the "lemonade diet," the Master Cleanse diet is a 10-day juice fast wherein the dieter consumes up to 12 glasses of lemonade (with cayenne pepper and maple syrup) per day. It is accompanied by herbal laxatives at night and a "Salt Water Flush" in the morning.

Why it's good: Juice fasting is said to detoxify your system and improve your digestive function.

Why it fails: Master Cleansers forego most vitamins, minerals, and essential nutrients. They are also consuming a dangerously low amount of calories. Particularly for people with kidney disease and blood sugar irregularities, attempting this diet can be very dangerous.

Consuming almost no calories for several days practically guarantees that you will lose weight. However, after depriving your body of nutrients, you are likely to consume more calories than you did before the fast after the 10 days are over.

But can it work?: Juice fasting can be good for you when done correctly. It has been proven to cause short-term weight loss, but fasting is not beneficial for long-term weight loss.

Paleo Diet

What it is: Paleo is a shortened form of the word "Paleolithic," which refers to the prehistoric hunter-gatherer era of the Stone Age. The premise of the diet is easy: you eat what the cavemen ate and if they didn't eat it, you don't either.

Why it's good: The main transition into the Paleo diet is cutting out ALL processed foods, which is great because they're terrible for you.

Why it fails: Most critics of the Paleo diet note that the fruits and vegetables we have today are pretty different than the ones around 2.6 million years ago and that adherence to the actual Paleolithic diet is virtually impossible. Paleo-dieters also miss out on key nutrients like carbohydrates, fiber, and other vitamins and minerals. Because the Paleo diet is calls for so much protein (38 percent of your daily calories), it is very easy to consume more calories than anticipated. Anything your body cannot use is kept and turned into fat. So, unless you up your exercise routine, it's likely that that rump roast is going to stick around on your rump for quite some time.

But can it work?: The only way to achieve success through the Paleo diet is to integrate a strict workout plan and make sure that you are operating on a calorie deficit. Even then, the effects are short-lived and do not promote a lifetime of healthy body weight.

The Gluten-free Diet

What it is: People with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance or sensitivity often adopt gluten-free diets. But recently, it has become a trend for weight loss.

Why it's good: If you have Celiac disease, cutting out gluten can have an array of health benefits, and yes, weight loss can be one of them. But certainly not everyone loses weight when adopting this type of diet, and in fact, some may actually gain weight.

Why it fails: Because those who must follow a gluten-free diet often still want pizza, pasta, bagels, and cookies, companies are churning out gluten-free versions to reach this market. A lot of these versions have additives and can be very high in sodium and cholesterol, and don't have many of the nutritional benefits that other carbs (including those with gluten) contain.

But can it work?: A gluten-free diet can prompt weight loss. And if you are gluten-intolerant, it will be a wise choice for your health, although not necessarily your waistline. If you are not, it is most likely a waste of time (and money; gluten-free foods are expensive!).

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