Debunking ‘Fad’ Diets

What is a ‘fad’ diet?

First, let’s define a ‘fad’ diet. They are diets that typically require eliminating one or more essential food groups and claim to deliver faster results than your regular diets. Results usually come fast and furious, but can be potentially unsustainable and unhealthy.

Avoid the ‘fad’ diet – here’s why

The primary reason is that eliminating essential food groups results in you losing our on important nutrients and minerals. Let’s look at two essential food groups typically eliminated in ‘fad’ diets and find out why you have to be cautious about the claimed successes of ‘fad’ diets.

Foods high in carbohydrate

Grains

A key source of carbohydrates, grains are commonly eliminated in ‘fad’ diets. Yet, grains – specifically whole grains, contain fiber, provide energy and are important sources of Vitamin B, Iron, Magnesium and Selenium. Fiber and the fact that whole grains are complex carbohydrates mean that they take longer to digest, and give you a sense of fullness for a longer time.

Grains are always spoken of as the ‘bad guys’ and the cause of humans becoming fat and unhealthy is because we often confuse whole grains with refined grains. Refined grains are found in white rice, pasta or a cake. They are extremely calorie-dense, but does not contain as much nutrients as whole grains.

whole-vs-refined

Study the graph for a bit. You’d see that as grains become more refined (nearing the left axis of the graph), they have lower content of vitamins and minerals.

dairy

Diary

That’s another victim of ‘fad’ diets! Diary products such as milk are said to be fatty and cause gut inflammation. However, what is less understood is that the fat portion of the milk, for example, contains fat soluble vitamins – Vitamins D, E, A and K. Diary products are also a rich source of proteins, carbohydrates, water soluble vitamins, and minerals.
The current dietary recommendation for calcium intake in Singapore is 800 mg/day, based on the assumption that Asians require less calcium than Caucasians.

Bearing that into considering, notice how with 1 cup of skim milk you can already meet 50% of your recommended calcium intake!

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Source: WebMD

Why Calcium is a Must-Have!

Calcium is extremely important to pregnant women, young children and in the prevention of osteoporosis. While certain groups of people are at a higher risks of contracting osteoporosis – such as post-menopausal women, seniors above aged 65, smokers and heavy drinkers, working to protect bone health is relevant and important to everyone. (Read more here)
Foods that contain more than 17.5g of fat per 100g are considered high in fat.

Admittedly, cheese and butter can content a lot of fat. Foods that contain more than 17.5g of fat per 100g are considered high in fat. If you’re really worried about the fat content of food, you may also opt for low-fat or skimmed milk; reduced-fat hard cheeses; and low-fat yoghurt.

Losing out on these nutrients could also result in:
  • Increased risk of cramping
  • Fatigue, poor recovery and increased risk of injury
  • Reduced focus and worsened cognitive function

Just as eating is a very integral part, lack of nutrition is definitely going to affect your daily living.

References: NSCA, NHS

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