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Fad Diets and Their Long Term Effects on the Health

Fad diets comprise of a single regimen or product; this implies that there is no variation and the user relies on limited source of energy. Fad diets have become a common option for people who want to manage their weights and for some diabetic patients willing to control their insulin levels. To control weight, the diets are mainly based on restriction or complete elimination of carbohydrates and fats.

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Despite the increases use of the diets, the promoters and users do not care about the health implications the foods could have on their health. According to Ruden, Rasouli and Lu (2007), fad diets can lead to long term negative health implications and thus, there is need for investigations to determine the consequences of using the diets to lose weight. Based on the findings, my point is that fad diets prevent people from taking balanced diet and thus, lead to nutritional complications related to deficiency or overuse of certain nutrients.

In the developed countries, there are many commercial adverts promoting the fast solution to weight loss by advocating for fad diets. This has been occasioned by the increased prevalence of obesity among the young adults and the adults. The need to maintain good body shape in the fasted way possible has led to the increased use of the fad diets. The users are not concerned about the calorie requirements of their bodies a situation which leads to neglecting the principles of balanced diet.

Better Health (n.d) stressed that the use of fad diets does not take into consideration healthy weight management which encompasses exercise and intake of balanced diets as per personal requirements.

It is worth noting that many people switch to fad diets without knowledge of the effects they have on their health. The diets are normally designed and marketed using clever plans which do not point to any possible side effects. This coupled by the tendency of many dieters not consult their family physicians and nutritionists. Ruden et al. (2007) pointed out that in the short run, the users realize their desired results which are short lived. Ruden et al. (2007) added that most of the people do not know the consequences associated with the overuse or lack of some essential nutrients.

Lagiou et al. (2012) emphasized that energy requirements should be from the three major body nutrients, i.e. the carbohydrates, fats and proteins and should be in ranges of 45-65%, 20-35% and 10-35% respectively. To lose weight, nutritionists and physicians advise that the ration should not be altered, what should change are ratios which are determined by the sex, occupation, age, level of physical exercise and pathological status. Failure to take these factors into consideration, the body is deprived of essential nutrients which results in malfunction of some body organs.

In relation to the implications of fad diets, Nouvenne et al. (2014) pointed out that they lead to weight loss in the short term, but sets the stage for development of other health complications. A case example relates to the organ failure and development of urinary stones, a kidney related problem. This is normally in cases where the fad diets are based on increased consumption of proteins.

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According to Nouvenne et al. (2014), dietary proteins especially from animal origins have high chances of increasing renal acid load, and reduction in the urinary pH which bring in the state of chronic acidosis, a factor driving the risk for kidney stones. Nouvenne et al. (2014), established that increased intake of proteins is a common treatment for obesity in which carbohydrates and lipids are decreased; hence, the restriction of main sources of energy leading to weight loss. In most cases, the protein intake is increased to approximately 1.6g/kg of the ideal body instead of the recommended intake of 0.8g/kg (Nouvenne et al., 2014).

The implication for increased proteins intake can lead to urinary calcium excretion, which is responsible for the kidney stones. Also, the use of low carbohydrate and high protein diet on regular basis without taking into account the source of the proteins and the nature of the carbohydrates are associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases (Lagiou et al., 2012).

Due to the negative health implications of the fad diets, various health professionals have maintained that healthy weight should be lifestyle and not a diet. Hence, with the increased cases of overweight and obesity in many countries, there is the need for health care providers to provide sensitization about the use of fad diets; this should be based on the need to lead a good eating culture which is not based on episodic weight loss (Better Health, n.d.). It is the responsibility of family doctors and nutritionists to have clear knowledge of the harmful effects of the fad diets and hence, advise their clients about safety measures in relation to dietary intake.

In conclusion, it is evident that fad diets have become common in the modern society. They have been placed as remedies to the various challenges of weight management. Even though there are still ongoing studies on effects of the fad diets, it is important for people to adopt lifestyles based on tenets of good health of continuous balanced diets and physical exercise as per individual requirements.


Better Health. (n.d.). Weight loss and fad diets. Web.

Lagiou, P., Sandin, S., Lof, M., Trichopoulos, D., Adami, H. O., & Weiderpass, E. (2012). Low carbohydrate-high protein diet and incidence of cardiovascular diseases in Swedish women: prospective cohort study. BMJ, 344(1), 1-8.

Nouvenne, A., Ticinesi, A., Morelli, I., Guida, L., Borghi, L., & Meschi, T. (2014). Fad diets and their effect on urinary stone formation. Translational Andrology and Urology, 3(3), 303-312.

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Ruden, D. M., Rasouli, P., & Lu, X. (2007). Potential long-term consequences of fad diets on health, cancer, and longevity: lessons learned from model organism studies. Technology in Cancer Research & Treatment, 6(3), 247-254.

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