After all the fuss with the Atkins diet, thermogenics and syrup diets, you think we’d have learned our lesson by now with regards to ‘fad diets’. We all know that fad diets don’t really work, and that the only real way to lose weight is through consistent dieting and exercise, so why would any new fad catch on and start gaining traction?
Unfortunately, catching on and gaining traction is exactly what the new ‘Fast Diet’ is doing and I’m starting to see more and more people with ‘Fast Diet’ books on their shelves. People don’t learn because they’re so desperate for a ‘quick fix’ to help them get in shape without putting in the work. Is this one any different from all the rest? Or is it just another fad with no legs? Read on to find out…
What Is the Fast Diet?
The ‘Fast’ in the name refers to the fact that you are going to be partially fasting for two days out of the week and the idea is that this then allows you to eat as much as you want the rest of the week. Some people write the fast diet down as 5:2 for this reason, and the appeal of course is that you only need to diet for two days a week. Many people have lost weight on the diet – at least in the short term – so what’s not to like?
Why It’s Junk
Hopefully if you’re critically minded, you will already have worked out that the fast diet is no more useful than any other diet and that it once again throws up all the same problems. For one, it’s not great for your nutrition and your body can suffer as a result. Sure, you can eat as much protein as you like for five days of the week but that’s not enough to enable your body to repair wounds and build new tissue. In order for your body to make use of the nutrients in your system, it needs to be available and in your bloodstream when your system comes to use it. In other words then, two days out of the week your body is going to be slow to heal wounds and your immune system isn’t going to have the energy it needs to fight bugs. So yes, you’ll get ill and you can expect to look pretty unhealthy too.
The other problem with the ‘fast’ diet is that it will cause your body to enter into a ‘starvation mode’, at which point it becomes highly energy efficient. This might not sound like a bad thing, until you realise that energy efficient also means that your body is going to have more calories left over and that it will thus be more likely to store those calories as fat. Essentially your body is aware it could stop getting food at any point, so it will be extra careful to store those nuts for the winter. So you’ll fast for two days, during which your body will be forced to start burning fat for energy – great. But then the minute you start eating normally again, your body will begin storing more fat than it would normally.
Then there’s the problem of feasibility. Sure, it sounds good to only have to diet for two days, but you should know going in that that’s going to feel horrible. I fasted once as part of an experiment and I found myself feeling depressed, lethargic and even physically cold as my body chemistry went into haywire (and you won’t feel immediately better when you start eating either – expect to feel rough four days out of seven). This will mean that you’ll not be able to exercise as well as you should (which is a more effective way of losing weight than dieting for the most part) and it will mean that you end up ‘cheating’ in no time at all. And what do you do when your friends want to go out for an impromptu dinner or drinks? Or when you need a pick me up after a hard day? For a diet to work, it needs to be flexible, realistic and designed to work with your lifestyle and schedule. The fast diet is none of those things.
The Final Word
Really the clue here should be in the name. The fast diet is so called because it involves fasting yes, but it’s clear that the authors also want you to believe it delivers fast results. And that’s where the problem comes in. You see, working out, dieting and getting into great shape has nothing to do with quick results. Getting into shape and being healthier is a lifelong commitment, so it’s crucial that you treat it that way. Fad diets don’t work and the ‘Fast Diet’ is no different, case closed. Slow and steady it seems, does indeed win the race (I wonder if the ‘Slow Diet’ would sell many books… ).