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  • Conventional wisdom about diets,

  • including government health recommendations,

  • seems to change all the time.

  • And yet, ads routinely come about

  • claiming to have the answer about what we should eat.

  • So how do we distinguish what's actually healthy

  • from what advertisers just want us to believe is good for us?

  • Marketing takes advantage of the desire to drop weight fast,

  • and be stronger,

  • slimmer,

  • and brighter.

  • And in the big picture, diet plans promising dramatic results,

  • known as fad diets,

  • are just what they seem: too good to be true.

  • So where do diet fads even come from?

  • While the Ancient Greeks and Romans

  • rallied behind large-scale health regimens centuries earlier,

  • this phenomenon began in earnest in the Victorian Era

  • with crazes like the vinegar diet

  • and the Banting Diet.

  • Since then, diets have advised us all sorts of things:

  • to excessively chew,

  • to not chew at all,

  • to swallow a grapefruit per meal,

  • non-stop cabbage soup,

  • even consumption of arsenic,

  • or tapeworms.

  • If the idea of diet crazes has withstood history,

  • could this mean that they work?

  • In the short term, the answer is often yes.

  • Low-carbohydrate plans,

  • like the popular Atkins or South Beach Diets,

  • have an initial diuretic effect.

  • Sodium is lost until the body can balance itself out,

  • and temporary fluid weight loss may occur.

  • With other high-protein diets, you might lose weight at first

  • since by restricting your food choices,

  • you are dropping your overall calorie intake.

  • But your body then lowers its metabolic rate to adjust to the shift,

  • lessening the diet's effect over time

  • and resulting in a quick reversal if the diet is abandoned.

  • So while these diets may be alluring early on,

  • they don't guarantee long-term benefits for your health and weight.

  • A few simple guidelines, though, can help differentiate between

  • a diet that is beneficial in maintaining long-term health,

  • and one that only offers temporary weight changes.

  • Here's the first tipoff:

  • If a diet focuses on intensely cutting back calories

  • or on cutting out entire food groups,

  • like fat, sugar, or carbohydrates,

  • chances are it's a fad diet.

  • And another red flag is ritual,

  • when the diet in question instructs you to only eat specific foods,

  • prescribed combinations,

  • or to opt for particular food substitutes,

  • like drinks, bars, or powders.

  • The truth is shedding pounds in the long run

  • simply doesn't have a quick-fix solution.

  • Not all diet crazes tout weight loss.

  • What about claims of superfoods, cleanses, and other body-boosting solutions?

  • Marketing emphasizes the allure

  • of products associated with ancient and remote cultures

  • to create a sense of mysticism for consumers.

  • While so-called superfoods, like blueberries or açaí,

  • do add a powerful punch of nutrients,

  • their super transformative qualities are largely exaggeration.

  • They are healthy additions to a balanced diet,

  • yet often, they're marketed as part of sugary drinks or cereals,

  • in which case the negative properties outweigh the benefits.

  • Cleanses, too, may be great in moderation

  • since they can assist with jumpstarting weight loss

  • and can increase the number of fresh fruits and vegetables consumed daily.

  • Scientifically speaking, though,

  • they've not yet been shown to have either a long-term benefit

  • or to detox the body any better than the natural mechanisms already in place.

  • Everywhere we look,

  • we're offered solutions to how we can look better,

  • feel fitter,

  • and generally get ahead.

  • Food is no exception,

  • but advice on what we should eat is best left to the doctors and nutritionists

  • who are aware of our individual circumstances.

  • Diets and food fads aren't inherently wrong.

  • Circumstantially, they might even be right,

  • just not for everyone all of the time.

Conventional wisdom about diets,

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B2 US TED-Ed diet weight fad weight loss health

【TED-Ed】How to spot a fad diet - Mia Nacamulli

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    Chia-Chen Wang posted on 2016/04/19
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