Fad diets are diets that involve rapid weight loss, but are only to be followed for a short period of time. Fad diets are also diets that swiftly become wildly popular, last for a little while, then become a footnote in popular culture. Some of these fad diets include the cabbage soup diet, the Atkins diet, and the cookie diet.
Fad diets are a subcategory of food fads. A food fad is a phenomenon wherein some food or type of food suddenly becomes very popular. These generally have some common elements, including:
- One type of food is credited with miraculous powers.
- Other foods are taken off the diet because they have negative properties that should be avoided.
For an example of these elements of fad diets, take the Atkins diet. In the Atkins Nutritional Approach, carbohydrates must be avoided due to their negative characteristics. Carbohydrates take on both of the common elements - removing carbohydrates from your diet creates a near miraculous metabolic state in which fat is burned at an incredible rate. Although it's a long-term diet, it does include a short phase, the Atkins Diet Induction Phase, in which carbohydrate cutting is taken to the extreme. However, lots of people can continue the Atkins diet for years.
The Atkins diet was one of these types of fad diets, as its huge popularity was fairly short-lived. For quite a few years anyone who thought of dieting was using the Atkins diet. All kinds of people, from Hollywood actors to politicians, were using the Atkins diet. But, after the death of Dr. Atkins, the diet became much less of a household word.
A lot of fad diets can be quite dangerous. Even an apparently healthy diet like the Subway diet could be dangerous. It revolves around the extraordinary weight loss case of Jared, who ate Subway sandwiches and baked potato chips to lose over 250 pounds in the span of a single year. Jared’s diet was severe - going down to 900 calories a day, from more than 10,000. Such an severe cut in caloric intake and rapid weight loss is unhealthy. Even so, the Subway diet, when observed in moderation, can work. Particularly because the diet incorporated exercise - Jared walked 6 miles a day while he was losing the weight.
Beware of fad diets. A long-term diet plan along with moderate exercise is most often the better bet.