North Texas Daily

Why fad diets are a bad idea

Why fad diets are a bad idea

Why fad diets are a bad idea
September 23
13:00 2021

Going on a diet is like getting married: it seems like a good idea at the time but a lot of people regret it after the first week.

I’m not married but I did attempt to go on a diet. I wasn’t trying to lose weight or build muscle, I just wanted to try out the plant-based craze that’s been praised by a lot of athletes, hippies and celebrities.

The thing about going on a plant-based diet, which is something I overlooked, is that being able to cook is pretty important. I struggle to operate anything outside of a microwave, stovetop or cereal box, so the only thing I ate was canned beans and spinach with the occasional piece of fruit. I also decided to fast which meant I ate once in the evening. Basically, my “plant-based diet” looked like a prisoner of war’s meal plan.

Fast forward six months and a POW was how I felt. I shuffled around when I walked, felt weak and groaned every time I moved. Ironically, my quest to be healthy resulted in me feeling like a zombie from “The Walking Dead,” a zombie that stops eating brains and instead chooses to eat the bushes.

Following my failed attempt, I was so tired of plants that I considered doing the carnivore diet, which requires you to eat nothing outside of meat and salt. Given that my family has a history of heart issues, stuffing my arteries with Walmart beef didn’t seem like a smart move. That would be like a diabetic going on a Little Debbie cleanse.

I searched the internet for some kind of meal plan to follow. The more research I did, the more skeptical I felt. There are dozens of diets to choose from, all claiming to be the best one. Many of them have books, YouTube channels and cherry-picked science to back up their claims.

One of the more interesting diets I came across was the air diet. It’s based on a concept called “breatharianism” and says everyone can survive on sunlight and air alone. The man who invented the air diet claimed to be Jesus Christ and said he was from another planet. He also said McDonald’s is the only food that is not “radioactive.” My guess is his followers busted him eating a Big Mac and he had to improvise.

Obviously, not every diet is as insane as the air diet, but a lot of them share common characteristics. Popular diets today typically involve taking drastic measures like eliminating entire food groups or nutrients in order to get rapid results. The plant-based diet requires you to not eat animals, whereas the carnivore diet requires you to not eat plants and the air diet requires you to not eat food – unless it’s a Big Mac.

This is not to say everyone should avoid going on a diet. There are plenty of diets that worked well for the people who have tried them. Plus, anything that teaches you about nutrition, health and your body is a positive. Even though I royally screwed up the plant-based diet I was on, it showed me a lot about my eating patterns.

That being said, instead of driving yourself crazy trying to find the “right” diet, a more effective solution is to stay mindful of what you eat throughout the day. We all have a tendency to overcomplicate things and nutrition should not be complicated.

You don’t have to deprive yourself of entire food groups to feel better. Instead, pay attention to what you eat and start by making small changes like ordering water instead of soda with your meals. Also, try not to overdo it on fast food.

If diets are like marriage, fast food is like a one-night stand: It’s quick, easy and a lot of people regret it immediately after.

Featured Illustration by Miranda Thomas

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Jake Reynolds

Jake Reynolds

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