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Fad Diets This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


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With all the publicity around extreme celebrity slenderness, many teens and adults have turned to fad diets to lose weight rapidly. The Cabbage Soup Diet, the Grapefruit Diet, the Master Cleanse Diet, the Zone Diet, the Chicken Soup diet, and many others promise dramatic results in a short time. However, although they may be tempting, they fail to provide the balanced nutrition that a healthy body needs.

Fad diets can lead to malnutrition, but sadly, not everyone seems to care. Some are willing to do anything to lose weight quickly, and founders of these diets take advantage of that.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), fad diets violate the first rule of good nutrition: eat a variety of foods. Fad diets recommend exactly the opposite, promoting low protein/low calorie foods or liquids. However, your body needs more than that. The American Dietetic ­Association, the U.S. Surgeon General, and the American Medical Association all recommend using the Food Guide Pyramid to plan a healthy balance of nutrition, according to ­Dietitian.com.

The lack of protein and nutrients in fad diets often shocks the body. Even though the diet appears to be working, no fat is initially lost. Instead, up to 10 pounds of necessary fluids may be flushed from the body. This can leave you malnourished and dehydrated.

Fad diets will also make your cravings for real food stronger, so when you choose to end the diet you will eat more and gain weight faster than you lost it. Going on and off these diets can also raise your cholesterol.

A balanced diet should contain 55 percent of total calories from carbohydrates, 30 percent from fat, and 15 percent from protein, according to Dietitian.com. Too much of any one can be harmful, but so can too little.

A study done by Ryerson University states that fad diets are “out of balance” and have “high health risks.” Not only can they be bad for your health, they have many side effects. The Wheat Foods Council has found that many fad diets cause diarrhea. Likewise, Fairview Hospital claims side ­effects include heart irregularities, headaches, dehydration, dizziness, fatigue, constipation, nausea, and vomiting.

The AHA recommends “adopting healthy eating habits permanently, rather than impatiently pursuing crash diets in hopes of losing unwanted pounds in a few days.” It goes on to suggest, “Unlike an incomplete liquid protein diet or other fad diets, a good diet can be eaten for years to maintain desirable body weight and good health. Fad diets fail to ­provide ways to keep weight off.”

While losing weight quickly may sound appealing, teens must know the risks of these diets. There are better and healthier ways to lose weight and keep it off.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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This article has 3 comments. Post your own!

reenay_95 said...
Dec. 24, 2010 at 11:29 pm:
Overall, I like this piece and what you had to say, Fad diets are scary! However, the sources weren't cited quite right, but hey, minor detail.
 
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This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 20, 2009 at 11:14 am:
Fantastic. Sadly, I don't think many teens will listen to your advice, but they should.
 
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sweetmariegirl14 said...
Oct. 2, 2009 at 4:20 pm:
Good article Mollie love you!
 
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