Fad Diets – Why Are There SO Many Extreme Diets?

Posted by Skip Stein

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Every day there seem to be some new ‘fad diets’ that will helps you become healthier. Most of these popular fad diets are variations on an old theme, just refurbished or updated to make it seem new and fresh. Most are just retreads of the old, and often dietary or nutritional trials that have failed in the past. Some of these might be a quick fix, but are the health outcomes really positive? And most importantly are these fad diets sustainable?

Are fad diets healthy?

The latest among fad diets is the KETO diet; hardly a nutritional approach at all but still sold as a healthy dietary tool to lose weight. It is high in fat, high in animal ‘foods’ and derivatives and ultimately just a refurbished version of the disastrous Atkins Diet of the past years. Post the death of Dr. Atkins, his medical report revealed that he had a history of heart attack, congestive heart failure and hypertension. No doubt, it was brought on (at least in part) by his own recommended diet. I often explain to people that the popular fad diets such as Keto diet may help you lose weight today, but will contribute to your death via heart disease, diabetes or some sort of cancer tomorrow.

A high-fat diet, not only promotes heart disease but also is a key contributor to type 2 diabetes that is plaguing the Americans. Did you say Fat? Yes, it is FAT that contributes to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, NOT excess amounts of sugar; although that doesn’t help and isn’t healthy either.

Why are Keto diets so popular? Because it makes bold promises, just like Atkins, to provide short term weight loss, but Not health. Americans love ‘quick fixes’ and new diet trends but seldom consider the long-term impact of their choices for nutrition.  Too many believe that there will be a ‘pill’ to save them from lifestyle diseases; but those ‘magic pills’, more often than not, have side effects that may hasten death.

So, if not a diet plan…what’s the solution?

Lifestyle change is the only long-term solution that works more than any of the popular fad diets. We promote a Whole Food Plant Based Nutritional Lifestyle; or diet if you will, but it is way more than just eating (that is just the best part). This lifestyle consists of not only Nutritionally Delicious Meals but also moderate exercise and some form of meditation (combining yoga and meditation is great). This Lifestyle has been shown for centuries to promote health, wellness and longevity. It is Not one that is a ‘quick temporary fix’ for health issues or weight loss. It is a LIFESTYLE change and that means for life, not just next month or until the next fad diet hits the bookstores. 

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Changing your Lifestyle takes time, not a lot, but more than the quick results promised by the popular fad diets.  There ARE great books on lifestyle and nutritional approaches that should be considered but if they promise ‘quick fixes’ or ‘fast weight loss’ run in the opposite direction.

We suggest a 30-day migration to a healthier lifestyle nutritional approach. Your body needs TIME to adjust to the changes in nutrition that will be coming its way.  Your taste buds need about 14 days to regenerate (normal cycle), so you begin to actually taste your food and are able to truly appreciate the flavour, texture and the delicious nature of  Whole Food Plant Based Cuisine.

You may well lose some weight in those 30 days as well but don’t expect miracles. Popular fad diets that promise fast weight loss often leads to a form of yo-yo dieting that is harmful. Our approach is to help you migrate to a Lifestyle that will help keep you fit and sound for the rest of your life!

The long-term effects of changing to a Whole Food Plant Based lifestyle are long and complex, but can be summed up into this short list:

  • Increased Energy
  • Better Mental Acuity and Focus
  • Healthier Skin, Decreased Body Odour (save a bundle on deodorants!)
  • Gradual Weight Loss (but only if your body needs it)
  • Better Blood Test Results
    • Lower Total Cholesterol (increase in HDL, lower LDL)
    • Lower Triglyceride scores
    • Better overall results

Now, let’s look at The Oil Thing

Let’s now discuss, debate and argue about the controversial ‘Oil thing’!

There are a lot of ‘EXTREME’ dietary guidelines out there, all over the place, and we try to avoid those approaches. While they may be appropriate for an extreme lifestyle or disease situation for some, it doesn’t necessarily work for others.  The ‘No OIL’ mantra is just overkill in 90% of the cases.

different-oils

‘NO OIL’ is the approach that Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Cleveland Clinic, takes for serious heart disease patients and that is great for his treatment modality. But for most people eating a Whole Food Plant Based diet, a dab of oil for selected use should be fine. After all, eating an avocado (23 grams of fat) will give you way more oil than a teaspoon (about 4.5 grams of fat) of olive or grapeseed oil for browning the food (not all is consumed, most is left in the pan).

Chef Nancy does NOT promote the use of oil at all; as a matter of fact, we discourage the use of it. But some recipes requiring browning, searing or other high heat cooking applications just don’t work without just a dab of oil. Try browning a tofu steak or seitan steak in a dry pan; the results will not be tasty, just burnt. We encourage very limited use of oil and when oil is in a recipe, we recommend a ‘healthier’ organic grape seed, avocado or olive oil.

A sudden shift to complete Plant-Based Diet may not be required…

Our company Whole Foods 4 Healthy Living has a wide-ranging audience and more than 50% are NOT Plant Based. These are the folks we try to help guide towards a healthier Whole Food Plant-Based Diet and Lifestyle. Telling them ‘no oil’ or other extreme approaches, will just turn them off and they run for the hills. Heck, it’s hard enough getting them to dump the dairy!

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This is why we take a ’30-day approach’ to gradually achieve as much of a Whole Food Plant Based diet as possible and work to achieve a total ‘clean’ nutritional approach eventually. Giving up ALL Meat, Fish, Dairy Eggs, GMO and derivatives is a bit of work. Processed food makers manage to sneak in crap wherever they can; so AVOID it!

There are millions of people on the Planet who may never be fully Whole Food Plant Based but if we get a little closer to it, will benefit tremendously. Just look at the new companies popping up, new Plant-Based products are everywhere (some are better than others) and they are making money! This bodes extremely well for the Health of Humanity and we continue to try to do our part. Informing folks of new products (we try to sample and evaluate them as they pop up) and guiding our friends and followers towards our goal of a Whole Food Plant Based Lifestyle.

Authors – Skip Stein & Nancy Stein (Plant-Based Chef, Author, Speaker and Instructor)

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