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The Perils of Fad Dieting

Posted by Anthony Zanetello on

It’s time to admit the truth… we’ve all been suckered at one time or another by a “too good to be true” diet plan that promises swift and vast weight loss with little to no effort. It generally starts with that friend who seems to shrink several sizes overnight, and they’re just raving about how easy it is and that they’re never hungry! Or maybe it’s the latest diet pill or no-carb craze to hit the talk-shows that got you. Wait, don’t tell me, perhaps it’s an All Juice/ALL DAY cleanse. Sounds familiar, right?!

Whatever fad diet you’ve fallen prey to, I know your pain. Sure, you probably lost weight quickly… but answer this: were you successful in keeping it off? Be honest. You wouldn’t be reading this article if it worked and you’re completely happy with your current situation when it comes to physical fitness.

My rule of thumb for fad diets: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. As a long-time personal trainer, I’ve heard about every form of fad dieting that’s out there and I always tell my clients the same thing when they’re gushing about all the benefits – avoid fad diets at all cost! This is especially important if you’re trying to build muscle, burn fat and improve your physical fitness or sports performance.

 The Truth About Fad Diets

The problem is that many of these diets do not provide adequate macronutrients, and therefore are not meant for individuals that are on a fitness or training program. Fad weight loss diets can be too low in protein or carbohydrates, and some of them are too high in fat. This lack of proper nutrition can leave the dieter in a poor state of health with a damaged metabolism. You see, the weight loss from fad dieting typically consists of losing water weight, fat and muscle mass. Loss of muscle mass is where the problem exists because it reduces the body’s ability to burn calories. Not good my friends!

Healthy weight loss or weight gain always comes down to energy balance: i.e. your calorie intake vs. the calories you burn. That's no fad and it’s backed by science. Your calories are made up of macronutrients and the balance, or what’s left over at the end of the day, is what's important. Each macro plays an important role, and you should never delete any of them out of your diet (with the exception of certain short-term strategic techniques to attain sports-related goals).

 Healthy Weight Loss & Gain is Attainable

Your daily diet should consist of all macronutrients: fats, protein, and carbohydrates. Each is vital to the functionality of the body. Fats insulate and protect your bones and organs, act as a backup fuel for energy, and help in brain development. Proteins help to build and repair your muscles, organs, skin, blood, and different chemicals, like hormones. Carbohydrates (which have a bad rep, but are essential) are super important as the primary source of fuel for your body – basically, the energy that runs your body and brain. 

 There are thousands of diets out there with all kinds of names and different types of foods eliminated. Just to name a few: Keto, Atkins, low fat, low carb, high protein, vegan, vegetarian, and the list goes on and on. The truth of the matter is that anyone can be successful at losing weight as long as you’re in a calorie deficit. This means eating fewer calories than your body is burning. 

However, the question remains, are you able to sustain the results? Not likely with a fad diet. On the other hand, with a healthy diet geared toward your individual needs and goals, it is possible – not easy – but definitely possible to maintain results. All it takes is hard work, dedication, and close attention to your macronutrients, and you can have and maintain the physical fitness results you’ve always desired.

To assist in getting the macronutrients I need on a daily basis, I supplement my food intake with products from Betancourt Nutrition. I stand by this brand and use their supplements to ensure that I am fueling my body properly to meet all my fitness goals and to feel my very best. If you have any questions about nutrition or need help in attaining your fitness goals, please reach out to me directly: josh[at]gohardlife[dot]com.