The Dangers of Fad Diets | STACK

The Dangers of Fad Diets

December 1, 2012 | Featured in the Holiday 2012 Issue

Must See Nutrition Videos


Fad diets may lead to quick weight loss, but they can be extremely dangerous.

Young athletes need to eat well-balanced meals with the right nutrients to support intense workouts. That starts with lean proteins like skinless turkey, chicken or fish to rebuild muscle. A serving of protein is three ounces, about the size of the palm of your hand. Healthful carbs are made from 100% whole grains (like whole wheat pasta or brown rice) and provide energy for competition.

To aid digestion, you also need 25 to 35 grams of fi ber each day from foods like oatmeal, fruits and vegetables. Shoot for five servings of produce a day.

Healthy unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids—from foods like salmon, walnuts, olives, all-natural peanut butter and olive oil—help regulate hormone levels. Consume between 30 and 50 grams of healthful fats each day.

You need to eat all these foods to ensure you’re fueling up like an athlete. No fad diet will do that for you. Follow these three quick tips to make sure you’re eating right:

Don’t Be a Caveman

When our ancestors went for long periods of time without eating, their bodies stored fat in anticipation of famine. And when you try to “diet” by going for long stretches eating too few calories, your brain sends a signal for your body to store fat. To lose weight, you have to keep your body from switching into starvation mode; and the only way to do it is to eat healthful meals and snacks often.

Ballpark Your Calories

Some people like to count calories; others can’t stand it. It’s a good habit to keep track, but don’t obsess. Most teens need a minimum of 2,000 calories a day just to keep their bodies functioning. But athletes—and especially young athletes—may need significantly more than that.

Pick and Stick

When you have a lot of choices for a meal, it’s easy to slip out of good eating habits. For teens, breakfast can be an issue, so find two or three healthy breakfasts that you like—such as oatmeal with low-fat milk, yogurt with fruit, or all-natural peanut butter on 100% whole wheat bread—and eat one every day.

Topics: DIET | YOU DOCS
Dr. Mike Roizen and Dr. Mehmet Oz
- Doctors Mike Roizen and Mehmet Oz, authors of four New York Times #1 bestsellers on health, entertain and educate athletes on choices that can make...
Dr. Mike Roizen and Dr. Mehmet Oz
- Doctors Mike Roizen and Mehmet Oz, authors of four New York Times #1 bestsellers on health, entertain and educate athletes on choices that can make...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

YOU Docs: Q&A on Creatine

YOU Docs: Q&A on Facial Hygiene

YOU Docs: Q&A on Overcoming a Tobacco Addiction

How Eating Right Can Help You Quit Tobacco

Build Muscle With Eggs

YOU Docs: Q&A on Smoking and Losing Weight

YOU Docs: Q&A on Preventing Blemishes

YOU Docs: Q&A on Testing for STIs

Brain Food

The Dangers of Fad Diets

YOU Docs: Q&A on Addictions That Make You Look Old

YOU Docs: Tobacco and Athletic Performance

YOU Docs: Q&A on "Healthy" Addictions

YOU Docs: Q&A on STIs

What Makes Food Unhealthy?

YOU Docs: Q&A on Sex and Athletic Performance

Best Protein Choices

YOU Docs: Q&A on Addiction Detox

Watermelon: The Athlete's Superfruit

YOU Docs: Boost and Maintain Energy

How Eggs Can Change Your Genes

Make Stress Work for You

Ask the YOU Docs: How Can I Whiten My Teeth?

Health Benefits of Cherries

The Low-Stress Diet Game Plan

YOU Docs: Q&A on Acne Solutions

The Real Reason Your Game is Off

YOU Docs: Q&A on What Can I Do to Get Better Sleep?

YOU Docs: Q&A on Tanning Beds

Beat the Burn

YOU Docs: How Sleep Improves Performance

The Athlete's Trouble Spots: Knees and Shoulders

YOU Docs: Q&A on Energy Drinks

The Easy Way to Get More Energy

DNA and the Future of Us

YOU Docs: Q&A on Preventing Acne Scars

2 Energy Drink Rules Athletes Must Follow

YOU Docs: Q&A on Healthy vs. Unhealthy Foods

The Athlete

YOU Docs: Building Better Muscle

Eat Well to Sleep Well