Temporary “fad” diets rarely work and are a serious disservice to your body. Instead of flaunting juice cleanses and paleo diets, students need to practice healthy, balanced lifestyles with long-term goals.
A 2011 survey by the National Eating Disorder Association discovered that 91 percent of women on a college campus have attempted to lose weight through a diet, and 22 percent of those women diet “often” or “always.”
These statistics are unnerving because, according to the Council on Size and Weight Discrimination, 95 percent of those diets fail and all that lost weight will come back with reinforcements within 1-5 years.
“Fad” diets don’t work because they promote “miracle foods” or focus on cutting carbs, fats and/or sugars completely out of your diet. These methods promise rapid weight loss, and while during those few weeks of intense dieting you may notice pounds dropping like “magic,” you are causing intense damage to your body.
According to an article by LiveStrong, diets that severely restrict carbohydrate intake promote water weight loss, leading to a quick loss of several pounds. Since a dieter is only losing water weight, they are putting their body through extreme dehydration.
Dieting can also ruin your metabolism. By depriving your body of calories and nutrition that it needs, your body goes into “starvation mode.” An article by the Aesthetic and Wellness Center (AWC) explains that the body’s natural response to sudden dietary changes is to slow down its metabolism to conserve energy and store fat for further use, making it harder for a person to lose weight in the future. AWC states that fad diets are a temporary and unhealthy solution.
Despite the consequences, “fad” diets make a disturbingly high profit off desperate consumers. According to an ABC article, the weight loss industry makes an annual revenue of $20 billion. Consumers of “fad” diets are tricked with “magic products” that cure their craving to be skinny, and students need to stop allowing companies to profit on our insecurities with fake promises and expensive diets.
Instead, students should focus on maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle. This includes eating all food groups — yes, even carbs and sugars — and exercising regularly. A healthy body functions on this balance, not rapid weight loss.
If you are looking for a serious change in your diet to promote good health, consider going vegetarian or vegan. According to Dr. Edward Group of The Global Healing Center, the benefits of vegetarianism may include lower risks of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol — it may even improve your overall mood.
The Commons has a regular selection of vegetarian and vegan foods — including desserts — to help students get started. Also, students should visit the Recreation Center as a free, vital tool for diet and exercise guidance.
By practicing a lifestyle of healthy foods, your body will maintain a regular metabolism and remain hydrated. “Fad” diets won’t help with that.