Weight Loss Fads and Popular Diets
I saw a patient in the office this week who brought in a list of diet plans and programs that she had read about or heard about. She wanted my opinion on each one. So we went through the list. And I must say that I was very discouraged to see that of the 12 or 13 diet plans that had piqued her interest, only one of them would qualify as having any sort of scientific validity or underpinning whatsoever.
Yet, weight loss fads and popular diets seem to have become more commercially successful and popular in the public consciousness than ever before. It is big business.
Yet why is there such growth in fad diets which offer very little chance of success?
I think the answers come from many corners. From one thing, scientifically based programs usually lack the sort of commercial push behind them that would allow them to be successful in the public market place. It is very difficult to compete with the commercial plans that can hire celebrity spokespeople and buy huge amounts of media time, create magazine and newspaper placements, and, in short, do all of the things that bring their products to our attention. There are many other factors, of course; for example, the media in general is usually very apt to cover “news items” that seem “timely or hot.” They are often interested in fresh angles and novel stories, and medically-supervised weight loss programs don’t always offer that kind of appeal.
But I would argue there is also a lot of blame to laid at the feet of the medical establishment. For many years, physicians and the medical community in general failed to address obesity as a serious disease. Only now that it is the number one cause of shortened life expectancy and the number one preventable cause of disease in the country, are physicians and medical systems really engaging in a serious way in the process. So in a sense, it can be argued that the medical establishment vacated the playing field and left it to commercial enterprises and fad diet profiteers instead of focusing on the challenges of clinical research and finding cures for this serious health problem.
It would be great if a product existed that allowed us all to “burn fat while we sleep.” And it would be great if a diet plan enabled us to effortlessly lose all the pounds we wanted to lose without any sacrifice on our part. And it would be great if some of our favorite fruits contained the secret mystery ingredient of health and fitness. The truth is that you can succeed in losing weight and keeping it off, but it is not easy. You need serious motivation and you need the right tools and the right information. It takes hard work, persistence, dedication and attention to many small and large things that add up over the course of the year to reduce pounds. It won’t happen overnight, but with a sound medically supervised, or scientifically-based weight loss program, you can do it.