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FAD DIETS University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service Obesity Approximately 127 million adults in the United States are overweight. 60 million are obese. 9 million are severely obese. Obesity is a disease that has been rapidly on the rise in America since 1960!

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fad diets

University of Kentucky

Cooperative Extension Service

  • Approximately 127 million adults in the United States are overweight.
  • 60 million are obese.
  • 9 million are severely obese.
  • Obesity is a disease that has been rapidly on the rise in America since 1960!
why are so many americans obese
Why are so many Americans obese?
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Poor food choices, namely high-calorie, low cost foods
  • Obsession with the wrong kinds of diets
  • Lack of time
  • Lack of quality relationships
how to recognize a fad diet
How to recognize a fad diet…
  • Advocates magic or miracle foods that burn fat.
  • Recommends bizarre quantities of only one food or type of food.
  • Forces one to adhere to a rigid menu.
  • Touts benefits of specific food combinations.
  • Promises rapid weight loss (>2 lbs. per week)
  • Does not include a health warning for those with chronic diseases.
  • Requires NO increased physical activity.
  • Sounds too good to be true.
popular fad diets
Popular Fad Diets
  • South Beach Diet
  • Atkins Diet Revolution
  • Scarsdale Medical Diet
  • Grapefruit Diet
  • Enter the Zone Diet
  • 3-Day Diet
south beach diet
South Beach Diet
  • Eat as much as you want, BUT avoid sugars and refined-foods carbohydrates.
  • Phase One- 2 weeks of strict dieting; avoid nearly all carbs. Most people lose between 8-13 lbs.
  • Phase Two- “Good” carbs slowly introduced into diet.
  • Phase Three- Return to Phase One if weight gain begins again.
dr atkins diet revolution
Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution
  • Eat NO MORE THAN 20 grams of carbohydrates per day.
  • Avoid ALL breads, cereals, grains, sugars, pasta, rice, flour, soda, juice, fruit, alcohol…
  • Some vegetables are allowed if consumed in small quantities. The dieter is advised to stick with “free” meats, eggs, and cheeses.
  • Advocates LOW carbs and HIGH fat.
scarsdale medical diet plan
Scarsdale Medical Diet Plan
  • Requires dieter to follow a strict diet regimen for 7 days.
  • Must consume at least 4 glasses of water or diet soda per day.
  • Coffee, lean meat, vegetables, and melons or grapefruit make up the majority of the diet’s food guidelines.
grapefruit diet
Grapefruit Diet
  • Promises that the dieter will lose 52 lbs. in 2½ months!
  • Must drink 64 oz. water daily. Must adhere to a strict list of “haves” and “have nots”. Cannot eliminate ANYTHING from the diet and must consume the minimum amount required at each meal.
  • Advises the dieter to, “Eat until you are stuffed. The more you eat, the more weight you will lose.”
  • Includes grapefruits or juice, any meat (especially bacon), and salad with dressing.
enter the zone diet
Enter the Zone Diet
  • Strict “40-30-30” eating plan. 40% carbohydrates, 30% fat and 30% protein.
  • Claims to use the biochemical effects of food on hormone production and metabolic activity. “The Zone” refers to a supposed state of optimal health, peak performance, and weight control.
3 day diet
3-Day Diet
  • Similar to the Scarsdale diet, but offers a wide variety of food and necessitates a VERY detailed eating plan.
  • Dieters are instructed to measure each food (usually ½ or 1 cup per serving) and are told to eat toast, peanut butter, veggies, apples, crackers, vanilla ice cream, and beef franks. Again, the diet stresses the importance of eating these foods in a certain specific order.
high carbohydrate diets
High-Carbohydrate Diets
  • Diets like the Pritikin Diet Plan or the Save-Your-Life Diet recommend high fiber and high carbs.
  • These diets are as unhealthy as their low-carb counterparts. They can lead to lowered immunity and poor wound healing because of lower fat and protein intake.
science of low carbohydrate diets
Science of Low-Carbohydrate Diets
  • Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. Excess carbohydrates are converted to fat and stored as fat tissue.
  • When on a low carbohydrate diet, the body uses fats from foods and fats stored in the body for energy.
science of low carbohydrate diets14
Science of Low Carbohydrate Diets
  • When carbohydrates are in short supply, the body cannot completely break down fat. As a result, ketone bodies are formed. Large amounts of water is excreted. This water loss can cause dehydration.
  • Ketones accumulate in the blood, causing ketosis. This state forces the body to burn calories similar to a state of starvation. This is DANGEROUS, especially over a long period of time.
other dangerous plans
Other Dangerous Plans
  • Many people try total fasting or self-imposed starvation to lose weight. This is perhaps the most problematic method of weight loss and can damage tissues, body fluids, mineral supplies, and vital organs.
  • Diet Aids, such as Dexatrim or PhenPhen promise the same results as diet plans but with little or no change in eating or exercise lifestyle. Generally, they are a health risk and are often make claims that are too good to be true.
psychology of dieting
Psychology of Dieting
  • Fad diets are SO popular because they promise FAST weight loss with MINIMAL effort. In our fast-paced society, this is a very tempting offer.
  • Americans are obsessed. The weight loss industry in the U.S. rakes in $37 billion dollars a year.
psychology of dieting17
Psychology of Dieting
  • A study of four popular fad diets discovered another problem: while they claim to be easy to follow, most people cannot adhere to them. A third of participants dropped out of the more healthy Weight Watchers and Zone diets. About half could not complete the Atkins Diet or the vegetarian Ornish Diet Plan. Source: Tufts University
psychology of dieting18
Psychology of Dieting
  • The study also noted that, while initial weight loss may be high, the participants had only lost about 5% of body weight after one year.
  • This weight loss is comparable to a 200 lb. individual shedding 10 lbs. Most dieters hope to shed about 30 lbs.
  • Even unhealthy weight loss can be DISCOURAGING!
think positively
  • Be realistic.
    • Make small changes.
  • Be adventurous.
    • Enjoy a variety of foods.
  • Be flexible.
    • You can fit in special treats.
  • Be sensible.
    • Enjoy all foods.
  • Be active.
    • Get creative with your recreational activities.
teen dieting
Teen Dieting
  • Time Magazine reports that 80% of children have been on a diet by the time they reach the 4th grade.
  • 81% of ten-year-olds are afraid of being fat. (Mellin,et.al, 1992)
  • The most common behavior that will lead to an eating disorder is dieting. (AABA, 1998)
teen dieting22
Teen Dieting
  • Too often, teenagers believe that they are supposed to look a certain way.
  • The media presents us with unrealistically thin models. The average woman is 5’4” tall and weighs 140 lbs. The average model is 5”11 tall and weighs 117 lbs. (Smolak, 1996)
  • Pre-teen and young teen girls go through normal and necessary body changes (hips broaden, breasts develop) and no longer look like the models on TV and in magazines.
fad diets and eating disorders
Fad Diets and Eating Disorders
  • 35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting. Of those, 20-25% progress to partial or syndrome eating disorders. (Shisslak & Crago,1995)
  • The popularity of fad diets perpetuates the idea that being thin is more important than being healthy.
  • According to a recent study, ½ of females between the age of 18-25 would prefer to be run over by a truck than be fat. (Graessar, 1996)
healthy diet exercise
Healthy Diet/Exercise


The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity

  • Being physically active can help you attain or maintain a healthy weight!
healthy diet exercise25
Healthy Diet/Exercise


The President’s Health and Fitness Initiative

HealthierUS- Every little bit of effort counts!

healthy diet exercise26
Healthy Diet/Exercise



Food & Nutrition Service

United States Department of Agriculture

Make Family Time an Active Time- Just Move It!

what parents can do to encourage healthy lifestyles
What Parents Can do to Encourage Healthy Lifestyles
  • Encourage your kids.
  • Listen to them!
  • Volunteer
  • Play with your children.
  • Keep them safe!
  • Set a good example.
eat well and keep moving
  • PLAN