Student thoughts: Think before you swallow another fad diet

Gabrielle Garcia / Contributing Writer


The city of Miami Beach, one of the most celebrated coastlines in the country, welcomes local and tourist beach-goers year-round. With yet another Miami Swim Week in the books, beach goers simply can’t get enough of the “perfect beach body” and that trendy bikini to pair it with. With so many exercise and diet fads, beach-goers are swindled into the “beach lifestyle,” yet are unaware of its potentially dangerous reality

Given Miami’s subtropical location, many people here spend time engaging in aquatic activities. Our society prefers slim, fit bodies to appear in the swimsuits inherent in those hobbies, therefore making diet and exercise fads popular among the public.

Slim Teas, herbal concoctions, weight loss supplements, diet programs and exercise regimens have increased in popularity, with more and more weight loss enthusiasts cropping up. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that “approximately 15 percent of U.S. adults have used a weight-loss dietary supplement at some point in their lives, with more women reporting use (20.6 percent) than men (9.7 percent).”

Weight loss enthusiasts crave a quick-and-easy turnover, which turns them to fad diets to lose weight. Enthusiasts presume that by losing weight they are improving their health, but in reality they could be compromising it.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center explains “a fad diet is a diet that promises quick weight loss through what is usually an unhealthy and unbalanced diet.” In addition the UPMC states “fad diets are targeted at people who want to lose weight quickly without exercise.” Although some diets induce weight loss, they do so unhealthily by eliminating key nutrients, so in essence the “healthy” initiative to lose weight is made pointless. Because most fad diets incorporate meal plans that are unappealing, the UPMC adds that they can be hard to stick to for long periods of time, and that the most common problems with fad diets include poor long term weight control, decreased athletic performance and ketosis.

Dietary supplements, another of the preferred methods of quick-and-easy weight loss, come in a variety of forms. Among the most common are powdered shakes, solid pills, gel capsules or herbal teas. The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements explains “manufacturers market these products with various claims, including that these products reduce macronutrient absorption, appetite, body fat and weight and increase metabolism and thermogenesis.” In addition, the NIH reports that “the average product contains 10 different ingredients, but some contain as many as 96.”

With so many different methods claiming to contribute to weight loss on the market, it is no wonder that some  turn to the wrong direction. With social media and Internet access, many people do not have to leave the comforts of their own home to access their means of weight loss. With the click on a computer screen, weight loss supplements and dieting programs can be shipped to one’s doorstep, making a visit to the doctor or healthcare professional feel deceptively unnecessary. As a result, many supplement users and diet fad enthusiasts are not fully aware of the content in their products of choice and are extremely mislead.

The United States Food and Drug Association stated that they have “found weight-loss products marketed as supplements that contain dangerous concoctions of hidden ingredients including active ingredients contained in approved seizure medications, blood pressure medications, and antidepressants.” It is too often that weight loss programs are phony, promising unrealistic results and potentially causing severe health issues, or even death.

Maintaining a healthy weight is an important component to one’s health, but does not require a person to compromise their well being in the process. Following a reasonable and balanced diet coupled with exercise, as well as the consultation of medical professionals, can help those who wish to improve their health set realistic and attainable goals. With patience, persistence and knowledge weight loss and health enthusiasts can achieve their healthful goals safely and effectively without turning to more drastic measures as means of attaining their health goals.


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2 Comments on "Student thoughts: Think before you swallow another fad diet"

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  2. My journey for weight-loss and a healthier lifestyle was very difficult. I tried different fad diets such as Atkins and vegan. The process was slow and I would lose weight but just gain it back in the end. I found out about the Paleo diet about 8 months ago and it has helped me shed over 50 lbs in 7 months. Not only that, but it’s helping me to keep from gaining the weight back and I feel great! You can check out my website if you want to read more about my story and how the Paleo diet can help you.

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