Food faddism is gaining lot of importance in today’s culture, influenced more from western culture. What do you mean by food faddism or in other words ‘Crash Dieting’? It means, temporary way to lose weight in a quick manner for a short duration!
As a nutritionist, I have come across many people longing for such diets, and when asked the reason why do they want to go in for such diets, they don’t have any specific reasoning. Like one individual who I was consulting came to me saying she just finds these crash diets quiet interesting and so out of curiosity, she just wants to give it a try! Another said, she has to surprise her hubby on his birthday by slimming down. Likewise, another said, she has to shed five kilos in a span of ten days and get in shape, as her wedding is due soon.
I personally got intrigued to find out more about these crash diets and why do people indulge in them. In the yester years doctors recommended these diets to their patients from a therapeutic point of view to lose weight People are also influenced by the fact that some well-known celebrities have tried such diets and have succeeded and thus today these diets have become a trend.
Research indicates that these diets are very traditional by origin and dates back to eighteenth century. But, lately has gained lot of attention as people are getting worried about their so called ‘health’.
So what are these fad diets? There are plenty of them and one new one comes up every day such as cabbage soup diet, blood group diet, grape fruit diet, acai berry diet, Mediterranean diet and so on. I would like to take you through few of the popular ones
General Motor diet: It is commonly known as GM diet. One always thought GM diet was a diet where you ate genetically modified fruits and vegetables. But, no GM diet is a weight loss management plan developed by the General Motors Corporation to help keep their employees stay in shape. It is supposed to be followed for seven days. The pattern of the diet (Indianized version) is listed below:
- Day 1. All fruits. All kinds of fruit may be consumed except for bananas. 10-12 glasses of water should be consumed throughout the day.
- Day 2. All vegetables. All sorts of vegetables may be consumed during the second day. Potatoes may be served during breakfast to boost energy levels
- Day 3. Mixture of fruits and vegetables. A mix of fruits and vegetables may be consumed on Day 3, together with 10-12 glasses of water. Bananas are still not allowed in this day.
- Day 4. Banana and milk. Skim milk and banana, together with the GM wonder soup or any type of vegetable soup may be served on this day.
- Day 5. Brown rice, curd and tomatoes. Soybean curd or 1 cup of brown rice may be used as a substitute for beef, or a cup of cottage cheese
- Day 6. Brown rice and vegetables. On Day 6, brown rice or other beef substitute will be matched with vegetables, but potatoes are still restricted. It is best to consume cottage cheese and soybean curd in vegetable bowls.
- Day 7. Brown rice, vegetables and fruits. Two cups of brown rice may be consumed together with unlimited servings of vegetables and fruits. Fruit juice may also be taken along with 8-10 glasses of water.
- 1. Atkin’s Diet: This diet was discovered by Robert Atkins to resolve his own issue of being overweight. It is a very low carbohydrate diet and high protein diet. the first phase ‘induction’ which includes only 20gms of carbohydrates followed by other phase ‘on going weight loss’ wherein you can incorporate slowly add more vegetables, and you can include seeds, nuts, legumes, berries and other fruit, wine and other low-carb alcohol, and whole grains.
- 2. South beach diet: The South Beach Diet is a diet plan designed by cardiologist Arthur Agatston and dietician Marie Almon. Although the original purpose of the diet was to prevent heart disease in Dr. Agatston’s own patients in the early 2000s, this diet focuses on eating right amount of carbohydrate and fats. It has three phases, you eat normal portion sizes in Phase 1, but all carbohydrate is restricted. This is the strictest phase in the diet and will last for two weeks. It emphasizes lean meats, such as chicken, turkey, fish, and shellfish. Low-Glycemic-index vegetables are allowed as well as low-fat cheese, nuts, eggs. In Phase 2, some of the banned foods are slowly introduced. You should remain on it until you lost your desired amount of weight. Phase 3 is for maintenance and should be followed for life.
- 3. Weight watchers diet: Weight Watchers International is an international company based in the United States that offers various products and services to assist weight loss and maintenance. It was founded by Jean Nidetch. The core philosophy behind Weight Watchers programs is to use a science-driven approach to help participants lose weight by forming helpful habits, eating smarter, getting more exercise and providing support.
I quiet fail to understand why people follow such diets blindly and believe in the figures that pop up on weighing scale? I have never understood this obsession to lose weight especially losing two to three kilos in short duration. They get happy seeing their weight reducing. But, what about gaining those back? When you are dieting, you are almost starving your body; also it does not get enough nutrients which the body requires. The first thing that the body loses while dieting is muscles and water (which are two most crucial elements for maintaining body metabolism). Muscles and water are easy to lose and that’s the reason why you lose weight.
The fat in the body which is the culprit stays behind and is very difficult to lose! The moment they come back to the normal routine (stop dieting) they gain extra fat than what they already had which can be dangerous in the long term. Most really don’t care about the after effects that these crash diets can cause so long as they see their see their weight going down!
Being a professional nutritionist, I would never recommend such fad diets. I recommend that one should balance their lifestyle with proper nutrition and physical activity.