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Over the last few years, the concept of fad dieting has gained popularity. For many Americans, fad dieting has become a sort of Holy Grail, particularly in the United States of America. The question of whether fad dieting is effective in kicking-starting rapid weight loss is still up for debate. There are those who believe fad dieting is a religion, while others argue that it is ineffective and causes more harm than good. The fact remains that fad dieting is a significant part of popular culture in the United States. The goal of this paper is to examine the issues of fad dieting and their impact on the America society.


A fad diet denotes a diet that makes the promise of delivering rapid weight loss via what is commonly an unbalanced and unhealthy diet. Fad diets often target individuals who crave to lose weight fast without necessarily exercising regularly. Over the years, fad diets have become rampant in the USA. There have been several individuals who have come up with various fad diets, most of which their effectiveness remains questionable. Some of the most common fad diets are: “Atkins Diet (Low-Glycemic Index Diet); South Beach Diet (Low-Glycemic Index Diet); and Zone Diet (Low-Glycemic Index Diet)”. The popularity of fad diets has become increasingly progressive in the American society. Several people are constantly enlisting into various programs that would supposedly enable them to lose weight rapidly without necessarily exercising significantly.

Fad Dieting in the American Society

The contemporary society is such that one quarter of the global population suffers from obesity and hence, is seeking a fast and relatively easy approach to resolving this problem. Fad diets are designed to specifically attract these people. Many of the people who suffer from obesity are eager to lose their weight fast since this is more convenient than other medical routes that often take a considerable long time and impact heavily on various areas of their lives. There are several questions that emerge concerning the actual effectiveness of fad diets. In the USA, there are numerous advertisements and commercials that portray the stories of individuals who manage to lose as much as one hundred pounds by simply making changes to their diets.

The Atkins diet is arguably the most commonly deployed fad diet today. It is a fad diet that advocates for reduced intake of carbohydrates in order to reduce body calories. There are four steps involved in this fad diet: “induction, ongoing weight loss, pre-maintenance, and lifetime maintenance”. Many researchers argue that while the Atkins diet can be effective in the loss of weight, it is only a short term affair as one usually finds it virtually impossible to maintain the weight loss in the long run as per the lifetime maintenance stage. According to Pagano-Therrien and Katz, while fad diets assert that they aid people in losing fats, they actually prompt individual to lose water instead. “However, during the first 14-days or induction phase of the Atkins diet, weight loss is primarily due to water loss and ketosis”.

It is imperative to examine how fad dieting has become so prevalent over a considerably short amount of time. There are multiple factors that drive the popularity of fad dieting. Firstly, the predominant problem of obesity has resulted in many people who suffer from this condition being desperate for fast weight loss. Fad diets promises relatively fast and almost effortless weight loss. Additionally, celebrity endorsements of fad dieting propel its popularity in the American society. Furthermore, the mentality of elimination has proven to be rather addictive. The notion that by simply eliminating certain foods from one’s diet would result in fast weight loss is wholly appealing.

There are more arguments against fad diets than there are in favor of the same. According to Taegozs, fad diets are dangerous and risky and hardly offer long-term effectiveness in their outcomes. Usually, many people lose the weight only to gain it and even add more. “Fad dieting helped me go from a size 14 to a size 12, back to a size 16”. Indeed, many arguments assert that fad diets are not long term solutions. Regarding the dangers of fad diets, it has been established that they cause people to lose much-needed water and calories that have necessary body nutrients. “Most of these diets are low in calories and deprive the body of certain nutrients, generating a metabolic imbalance that can be detrimental to health”.

From a general perspective, fad diets enhance poor weight control over the long term. People are more focused on quick weight loss that they fail to learn and develop proper eating plans that would be useful perpetually. Additionally, there is an enhanced risk of developing chronic diseases such osteoporosis, high blood pressure, cancer, and congestive heart failure. Several fad diets remove or limit the intake of whole grains, dairy products, vegetables, and fruits, which are all useful in preventing several chronic diseases.

There is also the risk of diminished athletic performance. Diets that substantially reduce the intake of carbohydrates often reduce the energy supplies of the body and enhance the symptoms of fatigue. Carbohydrates are crucial for energy supply. A significant reduction in carbohydrates in the body reduces the overall body performance. Subsequently, ketosis is another risk. Ketosis is a metabolic condition that portrays high levels of ketone bodies in the tissues of the body. Ketosis is prominent in medical conditions like diabetes. More importantly, it can result from a diet that has extensively low carbohydrates.

In the American society, fad diets have been widely adopted more than any other place in the world. Particularly among young women and teenage girls, the prospect of eating unhealthy in order to lose weight has a certain unprecedented appeal. Regardless, about 95 percent of individuals who lose weight through fad diets often gain it back and more within a span of five years. Presently, the confusion surrounding fad diets has gripped about twenty five percent of Americans.


Based on the information provided concerning fad diets, there are certain associated recommendations. Firstly, it is advisable for people who suffer from obesity or otherwise individuals who desire to lose weight to exercise patience and adopt means that take a reasonable amount of time to cut down the undesirable weight. Usually, weight loss over a long duration of time often has long term effectiveness.

Additionally, the American society is advised to avoid fad diets in general. The risks associated with fad diets are basically not worth the outcomes. For this to happen, Americans must learn to identify fad diets. Basic fad diets promise weight loss over an unreasonably short time period. Moreover, fad diets do not necessarily advise people to exercise. Simply, the promise quick weight loss almost effortlessly. Exercise is an important part of life whether one suffers from obesity or not. Any diet that does not acknowledge the vital role of exercise is suspicious.

Moreover, as opposed to adopting fad diets, people should seek sound medical help for conditions such as obesity. Chronic obesity can only be treated effectively through bariatric surgery. With this awareness, people would be better-suited to avoid being misled by fad diets that are more likely to disappoint than help in the long run.


Conclusively, this paper addresses the issue of fad diets with particular focus on the American society. Fad diets are mainly characterized by the promise of rapid weight loss through unhealthy means that do not include regular exercises. Through the paper, information has been provided in opposition of fad diets being effective. Fundamentally, evidence shows that fad diets are not effective in the long term and are more likely to cause health problems such as chronic diseases by denying the body much-needed nutrients from carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables. The primary recommendation provided in this paper is for people to avoid fad diets. On the contrary, it is advisable for individuals to subscribe to the usual methods of losing weight that involve healthy eating and exercises. The paper exposes fad diets as making sham promises to desperate people who only want to lose weight without thinking of how they will actually maintain the weight loss.


Hoeger, Wener and Sharon Hoeger. Fitness and Wellness. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning, 2014.

McVey, Gail. Preventing Eating-Related and Weight-Related Disorders: Collaborative Research, Advocacy, and Policy Change. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2012.

Moyad, Mark. “Fad Diets and Obesity- Part III: A Rapid Review of Some of the More Popular Low-Carbohydrate Diets.” Urological Nursing 25, no. 5 (2004), 442-445.

Pagano-Therrien, Jessica and David Katz. “The Low-Down on Low-Carbohydrate Diets.” The Nurse Practitioner 28, no. 3 (2003), 5-6.

Targosz, Cynthia. The Only Diet Book You'll Ever Need: The Secret to Eating Well, Losing Weight, and Loving Life. Avon, MA: Adams Media, 2008.

August 09, 2021

Life Sociology



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