Monday, March 2, 2015

A Brief History Of Fad Diets

fad diets, history of fad diets, paleo diet
Image via Wellcome Trust
Perhaps it's because I have a tried a slew of fad diets (and failed) but I love diets. I enjoyed learning the history of them, the science behind them, the failure rate behind them. You get the idea. There's even a fun, new book by New York magazine writer Rebecca Harrington chronicling her adventures in celebrity dieting titled "I'll Have What She's Having, My Adventures In Celebrity Dieting". This book is heaven for a diet lover like me.

The History Of Fad Diets
The LA Times had a great feature this weekend on the history of fad diets, starting all the way back in 1825 when French gastronome Jean Brillat-Savarin introduced a low-carb regime called "The Physiology of Taste".

Since then fad diets have included eating all caribou and whale blubber (GAG), bananas and skim milk, food combining, the grapefruit diet and the Drinking Man's Diet (which is exactly what you think it is). They also include more popular ones like the Paleo Diet, the South Beach Diet and the Zone Diet.

The thing is that many of these so-called "fad diets" don't work because it's almost impossible to adopt these habits permanently. Think about it: can you eat only grapefruit forever? Or caribou? Can you go Paleo in perpetuity? Probably not.

You can do almost anything for a few days. That's why many of these fad diets take off initially. You drop a few pounds at the start and start feeling like a million bucks.

Then, reality sets in and you realize you can't eat only skim milk and bananas or diet bars or cabbage soup for the rest of your life. That's why "diets" don't work. 

If you read this blog, you know how I feel about dieting: eat well, mostly real food (produce and lean meats), get moving most days of the week and enjoy it. That's a recipe for success. As for dietary approaches, I love the Mediterranean philosophy which emphasizes plant-based food, replaces butter with healthy fats like olive oil, uses herbs and spices to flavor foods, limits red meat, advocated red wine and dark chocolate in moderation.

Your Fad Diet Experiments
Have you experimented with fad diets? I would love to learn about your crazy diet experiences, what worked and what didn't. Please share your diet disasters and success stories in the comments section. Don't worry. This is a judgement-free zone.

When I was fat, I tried the Zone & Atkins (hated them both).  It wasn't until I made permanent changes, like closing the kitchen after dinner, that I experienced real weight loss. Want to learn how I did it? Get my free guide "The 10 Easiest Diet Tips: Simple Secrets To Help You Lose Weight & Maintain Your Weight Loss For Good". It's yours when you sign up for the The Real Skinny, my weekly newsletter that features simple diet and fitness tips designed for busy people who live in the real world, not fantasy-diet-land.




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