Fad diets limit or eliminate the necessary intake of vitamins, minerals, and fats. This is true because fad diets claim that the way to lose weight is by limiting or eliminating one or more of the major food groups; grains, vegetables, fruits, milk, meat and beans, and fats. Grains supply the body with necessary fiber, iron, and B vitamins; thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid. Vegetables and fruits provide potassium, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, folate, and antioxidants which can help prevent diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. Milk helps the body build strong teeth and bones and provides calcium, potassium, and vitamin D. Meat and beans provide protein to help build muscle, vitamin E, iron, zinc, magnesium, and the B vitamins; niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, and B6 (USDA, 2009). Fats are necessary for energy, to help our body absorb fat soluble vitamins A, S, E, and K, to help our body produce endorphins (substances in the brain that produce a feeling of wellbeing) and to protect cell walls. A diet low in fat will produce symptoms such as dry skin, low resistance to infection and bruising, hair loss, and poor growth among many other symptoms (Eating Disorders Online, 2010).
Specifically limiting or eliminating carbohydrates (from the grain, fruit, and vegetable food group) such as vegetables, fruit, and whole grain, from the diet can cause serious health issues including strain on kidneys and dehydration (Stein, et al, 1999). According to Web MD, strain on the kidneys, kidney stones, or possible kidney failure is caused by “Consuming too much protein which puts a strain on the kidneys, and can make a person susceptible to kidney disease” (Web MD, 2005-2010).
One study done by Australian researchers, over a period of one year, found that the low carbohydrate diet contributed to the participants experiencing feelings of anger, depression, and confusion. This is due to a lack of carbohydrate consumption, which is responsible for the production of serotonin in the brain (Prevention, 2010). Serotonin is a chemical which is produced by the brain and acts as a messenger to our brain cells. These messages to the brain cells control “mood, sexual desire and function, appetite, sleep, memory and learning, temperature regulation, and some social behavior” (Bouchez, ND).
Maintaining a healthy, balanced eating plan and adding exercise, helps the body lose weight naturally by providing the body with proper nutrition and building muscle tone. Author Elizabeth Marglin states that “Rather than counting every calorie or scratching entire food groups from your diet make healthful eating — along with fitness and stress reduction — a part of your daily lifestyle (Marglin, para. 4, 2007). According to recent studies, “Researchers found that among healthy adults, the lowest risk of becoming overweight or obese may be obtained by consuming 47 percent to 64 percent energy from carbohydrates” (Oregon Wheat, para. 3, 2010). This information coincides with information gathered from the American Dietetic Association and the USDA food pyramid which states that carbohydrates should make up 50 to 60 percent of the daily caloric intake for someone who is on a 2,000 calorie per day eating plan (Duyff, 2006). On a 2,000 calorie a day eating plan, at least half of the caloric intake should be from complex carbohydrates; fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.