What is a bad diet? With so many dieting choices and constant news about the dangers of dieting, this is a question many people are asking.
Attempting to filter through the mixed information to select good diet plans can be a daunting task, but when you understand the characteristics of both good and bad diets, you can be confident that you are on the right track to successful, sustainable weight loss.
Understanding the most common pitfalls of bad diets will ensure that you don’t fall prey to weight loss fads, and will also give you a sound foundation for healthy, goal-oriented lifestyle changes that lead to success.
After reading our list of dieting pitfalls, you will be able to answer for yourself the question “What is a bad diet?”
Bad diets often promise unrealistically rapid results. For example, the diet may promise a loss of 8 pounds per week, which is not only unrealistic, but is also unhealthy. In contrast to these rapid weight loss diets, good diet plans figure an average weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week, and put total weight loss goals in the context of a safe long-term plan.
A second characteristic of bad diets is that they may severely restrict calories. In the short-term, this can lead to fatigue, malnourishment and a shortage of vital nutrients; in the long-term, this can lead to yo-yo dieting (a continual cycle of weight loss and weight gain). The severely calorie-restricted person suffers from fatigue, irritability, and loss of concentration. Eventually, most people on this type of diet will lose control and binge on junk foods, thus gaining even more weight than they lost. On the other hand, good diet plans set a healthy calorie level, not to the point of starvation.
Another aspect of bad diets is that many of them fail to incorporate exercise as a key component of weight loss. Losing weight happens not only through positive nutritional changes (e.g., the intake of fewer total calories), but also through increased physical activity (e.g., the usage of more calories). Exercise not only burns calories that have been stored by the body as fat, but it also has numerous benefits for total physical and mental health.
If a diet relies on a magic bullet to facilitate weight loss, it is probably a bad diet. This powerful answer to your weight loss goal may come in the form of a miracle drug, product or food. Many diet pills claim that taking the pill alone, and nothing else, will lead to successful weight loss. Similarly, there are other diets claiming to provide the answer to weight loss through a single product, such as skin cream, or a food, such as grapefruit. These “magic bullet” diets will not only let you down in the short-term, but may instill a fear of failure for future weight loss attempts.
Lastly, a bad diet often omits the all-important final phase: the weight loss maintenance period following initial weight loss. For many would-be successful dieters, this failure to provide for the continuation of good diet and exercise changes means that all of the weight comes back again. You can be sure of a real diet because it is never truly finished – when the weight loss goal is reached, good diet plans provide specific recommendations and goals for maintaining that weight loss.