Fast Weight Loss and Crash Diets That Work Plus A Few That Don't
The Trouble is Crash Diets Work
We all know(some of us from bitter experience) that crash diets produce fast weight loss and work in the short run, but that beyond about two weeks they are hell to stick with and in the long run, good health is best achieved by a well balanced diet and lots of daily activity.
We all have been told numerous times that there is no short cut to good health, but we still keep looking for a magic bullet-- high carb, low carb, liquid, grapefruit, whatever the gimmick du jour is, we want to try it because we have an odd notion that two weeks on the latest fad diet will result in permanent loss even though it never happens. We also know that weight that comes off quickly is apt to be put back on just as quickly and years of " yo yo dieting" can lead to very bad things including loss of muscle mass and a lowered metabolism which in turn makes us fatter. But that doesn't stop us.
A Tour of Dietville
That said, people still continue to try losing weight via specific diets so here is a realistic look at some of the better known weight loss regimes out there. Each has its own philosophy or " gimmick" and each can produce results, at least in the short term. A few offer the potential for permanent lifestyle and eating habit changes. Others can be downright dangerous. Here's the skinny on them ( to coin a phrase)
The Atkins Diet, Grandaddy of Low Carb-High Fat Diets
The Atkins Diet a low carbohydrate diet invented by Dr. Robert Atkins in the '70's is the grandaddy of low carb dieting. Based on a research paper Dr. Atkins read and adapted, the diet tricks the body into using stored energy (i.e. fat) instead of burning glucose produced by carbohydrates. By severely restricting carbohydrate intake, the Atkins diet induces a state called ketosis which is what makes the pounds come off. the jury is still out on whether or not this is harmful in the long run. You don't count calories on this diet and you can eat many high fat foods forbidden on other plans, but you must count carbs very carefully and success depends on strict adherence to the diet through three phases. Even with shrimp, steak and butter being on the menu, it can be hard in the long run to live without bread, cereals and fruits and I've heard of people binging on them when they have been on Atkins too long.
There has been considerable debate in the medical community about the safety of inducing ketosis and its long term effects on various organs,but the diet has worked for a number of people. Men, particularly, seem to be attracted to it ( all that red meat dontchaknow), Atkins has become an international multi-billion dollar business with its own lines of food and supplements as well as books and equipment and endorsements. While Atkins is the most famous, there are other low carb diets that rely on the same principles, The Zone Diet, The Drinking Man's Diet, The Stillman Diet, and The South Beach Diet to name just a few. Today's version is the popular Paleo Diet . The gimmick here is that if a caveman didn't eat it, you shouldn't either. Like everything else, it works in the short term, but is pretty hard to stick to as a forever food planl.
These were all the rage in the '80's and often administered by hospitals under a Doctor's supervision. The best known of these was Opti-Fast, a program which still exists and operates clinics where the program is overseen by physicians and services truly morbidly obese individuals who have tried everything else and are making a last ditch effort. They also offer bariatric surgery.
Slim-fast is quite a different animal. Sold in pharmacies and grocery stores, it is a liquid "shake:" which you substitute for two meals a day, eating normally for your third meal AND it is designed for short term dieting when you want to get into a certain outfit or lose a few pounds for a special occasion. It does not promise long term weight loss and it won't deliver it either, but it's not a bad deal for a Saturday night date.
There are a number of other liquid diets on the market, but since it became clear in the lte '80's that there were problems with them and long term success rates were dismal, they have become less popular and with good reason. Liquid diets can be dangerous and none is suitable as a long term food plan as lack of fiber and essential nutrients will kick in after a couple of weeks and can produce unpleasant side effects including, constipation,fatigue, dizziness, hair loss, gallstones, cold intolerance, electrolyte imbalance, and heart damage. In addition, too many people could not successfully make the transition from liquid diet to normal food and regained all their weight plus more. Not a good solution for obesity.
The Grapefruit Diet
This one has been around since the 1930s and is also known as the Hollywood diet and is designed as a two week crash diet when you want to lose ten pounds. The idea behind the diet is that you eat a half grapefruit a half hour before every meal and that magical fat burning enzymes in grapefruit will burn up fat. The science on this one is a bit shaky, but the diet itself can be found online and it probably can't hurt you so if you want to lose some water weight for a specific occasion and gain it back a few days later, knock yourself out. Here's the diet.
NutriSystem and Jenny Craig
Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig are the top dogs in the turnkey food plan diet industry and they both do a very good job. Neither one can really be called a crash diet, but what both have in common with crash diet plans is the promise of a magic short cut to slimness. All the thinking is done for you as with both plans you eat only the food prepared by them for you and as long as you don't cheat, you don't have to count anything and you can reliably lose one to two pounds a week. Both programs use a similar approach, but each has its own menu, its own cuisine and it's own level of online or in person support.. The problem with both is making the transition from their prepared meals to real world eating. This is where they have a certain similarity to crash diets and this is where most people who use them stumble. It is quite hard to make the transition even though both programs help with counseling and tips but if you live alone and want to have somebody else prepare your meals for the next umpty ump years, and you don't get tired of the food, you are in good shape with either one of these programs. Both provide adequate balanced nutrition and will result in weight loss.
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