What’s The Harm In Fad Diets? A Lot.

As December wraps up, no pun intended, and January rolls around, we are all ready to hail in the new year, but often with the new year comes the new me crowd, and this crowd far too often has one very harmful goal: fast, easy and drastic weight loss. 

Of course weight loss is healthy, in moderation, but moderation isn’t what they want. Oh no, they want instantaneous results, and they don’t care about the health risks. They jump onto fad diets and disordered eating and act like it’s the answer to all their prayers, but here’s what they don’t realize. The fads are flawed, and CFHS teens are among the main targets. 

Weight loss is defined as a decrease in body weight resulting from either voluntary (diet, exercise) or involuntary (illness) circumstances.” Now weight loss is not always negative or positive, but certain types of weight loss are negative. For example, sudden and drastic weight loss especially when you are not actively trying to lose weight is negative no matter what size or shape you are. 

Even if you are obese, suddenly losing a large amount of weight can be a sign of illness and should be spoken about with a profesional. Weight loss is dangerous when you try to cut corners, and it is even more dangerous when you stupidly assign to fad diets and diets that were originaly made for severly ill people. Diets like Keto, low sodium, clear liquid, full liquid and the soft diet were made for people with specific illnesses and can do severe damage to healthy systems. 

Keto requires the patient to reduce or cut out carbs to induce the body’s fasting systems, making the body use fat for the main fuel source instead of glucose. This was designed for epileptics in the 1920s as a therapy meant to reduce risk of seizures, but with modern antiepileptic medications, it has mostly fallen out of practice, so it is a diet that literally forces your body to fast no matter how much you eat. If you don’t have epilepsy, this will wreck your body and can cause nausea, vomiting, headache, fatigue, dizziness, insomnia, difficulty in exercise tolerance and constipation, AKA the “keto flu,” so it’s really not worth it just to lose a few pounds considering that on top of all this you will gain it all back once you get off the diet, so just don’t. 

Next, low sodium. Yes, cutting out salt to a percent is fantastic, but you CANNOT cut it out completely. The body needs to intake about 2,300 mg per day for people aged 14 or older according to some sources, but that number can range up or down by about 1,000 mg depending on the source, so we will go with the middle range of 2,300 mg. Unless you have been advised by a medical professional, you shouldn’t ever aim to take less than that dose. Hyponatremia, or a sodium deficiency, is no joke. A normal case can result in altered personality, lethargy, and confusion and severe hyponatremia can result in seizures, coma and in some cases even death, so get those fries next time. It could save your life. 

Third, clear/full liquid diet. OK, two for one liquids like juice, tea, soup and water do not carry enough nutrients to satisfy a human body’s needs. These diets are only for people who need to clear their digestive system and should only be done over a short period of time. People who go on these diets need to clear their colon for colonoscopies or after certain surgeries to make sure recovery goes smoothly. They are not designed for prolonged exposure to healthy bodies. 

When you refuse your body essential nutrients from solid food, you can experience fatigue, dizziness, hair loss, gallstones, cold intolerance, electrolyte imbalance and heart damage. 

And, of course, if you push your body through these symptoms and continue the diet, you can die from this. 

The point is that extreme diets are not safe. Quick weight loss is not safe, and killing yourself for a thinner waist is the dumbest thing you can do. Eating disorders are defined as abnormal eating habits that can threaten your health or even your life; therefore, when you commit to these diets as a physically healthy individual, no matter what you have developed an eating disorder and should get in contact with a professional. 

The statistics are that disordered eating affects nine percent or 28.8 million Americans in their lifetimes, 26 percent of the affected population attempt and or commit suicide, and 10,200 deaths each year are the direct result of an eating disorder. That’s one death every 52 minutes on average. Overall these statistics are pretty dark and so many more can be found at https://anad.org/eating-disorders-statistics/

My point: it’s not worth it. Becoming a statistic just to be pretty in the eyes of some bull society who uses an outdated BMI chart that doesn’t account for muscle weight is not just stupid but insane. The amount of people who are called “clinically obese” is far too high, and that’s because muscle is heavier than fat, so people who are completly healthy weights for their height and build are being bullied into ED’s. 

All because current medical science is based on a sexist system from the 1830s made by a Belgian statistician, sociologist, astronomer and mathematician by the name of Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet; none of which have anything to do with medical science. 

But I digress. In the end I can’t tell you what to do with your body, but I can present to you science, statistics and reason. It’s not worth it. 

I promise, take it from somebody in counseling for disordered eating. The sickness, the pain, the migraines, the cravings, the depression: none of it is worth it. Killing yourself to appease a system that doesn’t care, all so you can achieve the body of Photoshopped pictures of living corpses isn’t worth it. 

So save yourself the despair. If you feel the need to change your diet for whatever reason, do it with the help of someone who understands nutrition. Speak to a dietitian or nutritionist before you make any big decisions. Go vegan if you want to. Follow Kosher or Halal law. These are safe, but anything beyond small changes need to be spoken about with a doctor. 

So, in the end, stay safe, do your research, be educated from non-biased pro-diet sources and don’t hurt yourself. Don’t kick off 2022 in the hospital. 

Happy holidays and remember you don’t need to appease anyone but your stomach.

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