A weight loss 'fad diet' usually refers to unusual eating patterns that promote rapid weight loss over a short period. Unfortunately, they usually neglect healthy nutrition and long-term weight maintenance. These diets often enjoy temporary popularity, especially when celebrities use them. Take a look at the magazine stand occasionally, magazines are obsessed with celebrities and their (mostly non-existent) weight issues. You will frequently see headlines like 'Jennifer Lopez loses 10 lbs with the potato diet' or some other weird headline.
There are four types of fad diets. Some fad diets incorporate all four elements.
Specific foods are claimed to cause weight loss and dieters are advised to consume these foods primarily. Certain foods are excluded from the diet. Sometimes even healthy foods are excluded. Emphasis being placed on eating specific foods to express a particular lifestyle. Diets that last a specific time frame (eg. three days or one week)
People should keep in mind that extreme fad diets frequently lack the energy (calories), protein, vitamins and minerals required for a balanced diet. As such, prolonged use of these diets can result in health issues and even death.
Example of fad diets include: The cabbage soup diet, the grapefruit diet, fruitarianism (a diet of fruit, nuts and seeds excluding animal products, vegetables and grains), the Israeli army diet, South Beach Diet, Atkins, even the three day hospital diet.
NOTE: The new Atkins diet is much better than the original since they increased carbohydrate consumption to 100 grams per day over the original 20 grams. The new version also encourages consumption of vegetables and some fruit which was excluded in the original due to carbohydrate content.
While these diets may cause rapid weight loss, in almost all cases, that weight will quickly be regained plus extra.
In fact, almost all 'diets' simply lead to yo-yo dieting, i.e. You gain weight, you diet to lose weight, you stop dieting and you regain weight starting the cycle over. The reason for this is because most people return to the exact same habits that led to them becoming overweight once they have reached their goal weight.
The path to successful, PERMANENT weight loss is not to go on a diet, but to change habits. And it can be surprising how small those changes need to be. It might involve;
Walking to the corner store instead of driving. Reaching for fruit or a couple of savory crackers rather than candy/sweets when a snack attack hits Drinking or alternating water instead of soda Taking the stairs at the office instead of the elevator
Did you know that a can of non-diet soda contains around 160 calories? Four per day adds 640 calories to your intake which is around one third of your daily calorie requirement, all of which are empty calories that do nothing to satisfy hunger. If you drink water instead (or even alternate between water and soda), the water will also help detoxify your body.
So remember, changing activity and eating habits long term leads to successful, permanent weight loss, weight loss fad diets generally only lead to temporary weight loss.