Fad Diets – Good or Bad?

Andrew Flinders Taylor, a Melbourne resident, declared to go on a “potato only” diet from the 1st of January. His motives are simple. He wants to change the relationship he has with food. That is, he wants to change his thought process about food. He says he has had problems with controlling his food intake, and as a result of which he is overweight and unhappy.

Taylor’s reasoning for choosing a fad diet is very interesting. He points out that when we are addicted to alcohol or drugs and we want to quit, we completely stop taking them. In the case of food, it is not possible. You have got to eat. So, on looking at his various options, he says he decided on eating only one kind of food and sticking to it.



The result of Taylor’s experiment will be known only when he completes it. But, there have been other stories of fad diets. Chris Voigt, executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission, went on a two-month potato only diet in 2010. He chose to do so to debunk the perception that potatoes are unhealthy. He wanted to highlight the fact that potatoes, apart from being rich in carbohydrates, also are a good source of Vitamin C, potassium and fiber (if eaten with the skin). The potato only diet had a positive impact on Voigt’s health. He lost 18 pounds in two months and his cholesterol levels dropped to acceptable limits. He also said he felt great with lots or energy and did not experience any side-effects.

A successful children’s book author, Ann Cameron was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2012. She had to be operated and had to undergo chemotherapy healing. At the same time, she came across a story of a man diagnosed with skin cancer who cured himself by consuming two and half kilograms of carrot juice every day. She decided to give it a try. Long story short, in eight months her cancer was completely cured.

Fad Diet

With many more positive stories like this, fad diet is still not for everyone. There is mixed opinion about fad diet. Dr Joanna McMillan says that fad diets are not a good idea. For starters, no particular food can provide all nutrients that are needed by our body. Nutritionist Fiona Hunter also agrees with the fact that no food provides all the nutrients needed for good health. Some foods are rich in carbohydrates while others are rich in fats and proteins, and our body needs the right amount of all these nutrients. For example, potato is rich in carbohydrates but lack the necessary proteins, fats, calcium, iodine, iron and many more essential nutrients. Dr. Joanna McMillan also says that consuming only one kind of food, such as the potato, can lead to health problems such as bowel cancer.

On the other hand, nutritionist Sue Todd says fad diets have a lot going for them. Even though she wouldn’t recommend it, she says it would not be a bad idea if the person is in reasonably good health when beginning and does not continue on the diet for more than two months. But, she also emphasizes on the fact that our body needs over 40 nutrients to operate efficiently and no single food provides all.

Fad Diet

Therefore, anybody considering such a diet must opt for a professional opinion before doing so. Good diet is not just about what kind of food you consume, but it’s about nourishing your body. This means, consuming food that is healthy and provides you with all the necessary nutrients. Hence, it is advisable to take the help of a qualified dietician, if you chose to embark on such a journey. It is also important to measure your daily intake of nutrients and keep a close watch on your vital organs. It is in your best interest to focus on the nutrient intake rather than the kind of food you eat.

H/T: Simple Organic Life, BBC, 9News

Photo Credit: Stand Strong Health, BBC, Petal Mist, Metro News, news, studiovidainc

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