Why do we go nuts over diet fads?

By now we should know, right Melon September 4th Week Top100 Download? The cabbage soup diet. Three days of water only. Take this pill and lose the belly. From pill-popping to extreme exercising, we’ve been inundated with folklore around quick (miraculous, even!) fixes for health issues. The problem is, rarely do they work. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Of course there are shortcuts, but they are neither healthy, nor long-lasting. Why are we always lured in, though? Probably in large part because we are used to instant gratification. It’s our default setting. We order items online and receive them within a day. We’re send text messages and receive instant replies. Our minds are primed to expect everything to happen fast.

We can blame advertising too. With marketers couching products in “health-toned” buzzwords, it’s difficult not to get swept up in the flurry of excitement and believe that this time, this diet, this pill will be different.

Quick fix, long term repercussions
Registered dietician Dr Ingrid van Heerden says that the human body isn’t geared towards losing real weight derived from fat in a short time. Human metabolism has its “own clock” and any diet that promises more than a loss of a kilogram in seven days is not accurate. “What’s more, one also tends to regain all the weight you’ve lost in record time and often shoot up to a new high. This type of diet can easily trap you in the snare of yo-yo dieting, paving the way to perpetual dieting as well as problems with your metabolism.”

Throw in the various side-effects like nausea, constipation, gallstones and putting your organs in jeopardy, and you’re left with quite a minefield to navigate.

One of the reasons we get so excited about these health fads though is that they do work – for a little while. Some of the weight loss however is only fluid loss (also called the diuretic effect). Other factors include loss of weight due to using body fat and protein as sources of fuel because carbs have been removed from such diets.

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With these “quick wins”, however, it’s easy to start believing in fake fads. The truth however is that while you lose fat, you also lose muscle protein. Then there’s the inevitable aftermath when the weight loss slows down or simply sputters to a halt – or worse, ends up harming your body irreparably.

It’s important to also know that the market for health-related products isn’t properly regulated, so you’ll easily find these products in any health shop. These substances are dangerous and can lead to a number of health problems, for example heart, liver and kidney disease, as well as infertility. Very few people actually read the fine print on the supplements that says you also have to exercise and follow a calorie or kilojoule-restricted diet.

Unfortunately, there are no supplements that have been shown to melt your fat away. Those supplements that do lead to weight loss invariably contain stimulants, like ephedrine and amphetamines, which can be dangerous for many (especially those with high blood pressure or on certain medication).

Furthermore, as soon as you stop taking these substances, you’ll gain everything you lost, and probably even add a few extra kilos. This is NOT a long-term or healthy solution.

To move away from the reliance on the newest, quickest fix, you are actually going to have to put in some time and effort to live healthy in sustainable way.