Maintaining nutritional balance ensures a person achieves physical, emotional, and spiritual health. As a result, persons across the globe have been researching and adopting medical and nutritional opinions aimed at achieving healthcare by meeting dietary needs. For example, some people have opted to rely on diets based on assumed illusions that they can provide medical and nutritional health to achieve physical, psychological, and spiritual health. Professional health care providers and nutritionists on the other hand assert that adopting a diet can be met with strong resistance. As a result, people should ensure dietary changes are implemented, especially in attempts to lose weight and meet dietary needs ought to be based on thorough research concerning how and when to meet nutritional values required by the body. Fad diets refer to food products consumed by people desiring to lose weight quickly. They can however lead to quick weight gain. They comprise low calories in order for the body to experience a deficiency of some nutrients leading to weight loss. Thus, they make weight loss through dieting to appear as an easy process. This research proposal will therefore discuss the advantages and disadvantages of relying on fad diets in order to achieve the desired body weight.
Fad Diets: The Effects of Food Deprivation and Counter Productivity
Family members, friends, media, and the society have been advocating for healthy living. This has led people to adopt dietary procedures attributing to weight loss. The most affected by the new influence, especially from peers and the media, are adolescents and youths. The pop culture comprises celebrities and popular persons advocating for thin and small bodies as the most desirable figures a human being ought to maintain. As a result, teens have developed a belief that being thin equals to success and happiness. The media has been advocating for thin body types until overweight people are being depersonalized hence being considered as human beings neither appealing nor attractive. Females are greatly affected by the need to maintain a positive body image by being thin in order to prove being fat and overweight should neither be embraced nor allowed (Lisa, 1999).
In 1996, Zimbardo and Gerrig asserted at least seven million women across United States suffer from an eating disorder in attempts to lose weight to achieve the nationally acceptable body figure and image. Thus, fad diets are mainly relied by females aged between thirteen and seventeen years especially facing body image and low self-esteem. For example, a survey was conducted in United States for a period of two months affirming women aged between thirteen and thirty frequently attend self-esteem group meetings across various counseling centers voluntarily in order to deal with negative body images associated with being fat and overweight. Most are encouraged to adopt fad diets in order to lose weight and improve self-esteem. More so, teenagers rely on the media and friends to achieve self-awareness values. This has attributed to a large number of them adopting fad diets to either lose weight or maintain the thin and acceptable body figure deemed appealing fostering success and happiness (Zimbardo & Gerrig, 2010).
The United States historical culture therefore has embraced fad diets in order to enhance self-esteem and appealing body images among citizens. For example, it has taken decades in order for the American culture to embrace plus size models. They were always deemed overweight hence, unacceptable to showcase new fashion designs, as the designers were neither keen nor willing to manufacture cloths in plus sizes. Consequently, radios, televisions, and magazines advocated and promoted models with smaller and thinner body figures describing them as appealing, sexy, and culturally acceptable (Heli, Philip, & Steve 2011).
The culture that has existed for decades has therefore led to development of a habit among young people who develop low self-awareness values such as low esteem, desperation, and false hope if they are fat or overweight. Ultimately, negativity towards overweight people has led to advocating of fad diets in order to lose weight quickly and meet the cultural needs of being thin. Although plus size people are being embraced by the society, a small number still suffers from discrimination leaving deep wounds and lifetime scars in their minds, hearts, and psychological status. Consequently, overweight people are embracing fad diets to lose weight at the expense of suffering from life threatening diseases including cancer, diabetes, and liver or/and kidney failure (Heli, Philip, & Steve 2011).
This research proposal focuses on examining how the media has influenced people to embrace fad diets in order to be regarded appealing and acceptable hence, enhancing their self-esteem and confidence. The literature materials utilized to author this research proposal include magazines, media messages, and medical journals. The first literature to focus therefore is the magazines. Cultures have been undergoing modernization especially among the youths striving to establish an environment nurturing and supporting their physical, psychological, and spiritual growth and development. This has led to teenage girls buying magazines promoting a culture affirming being thin is the most acceptable factor attributing to being appealing, successful, and happy. This culture is promoted in magazines through pictures of thin models and interviews conducted among successful celebrities affirming being overweight does not attribute to success and happiness (Lisa, 1999).
Thus, the modern culture being promoted by magazines can be described as poisonous and destructive as it focuses on young minds to advertise how fad diets can be embraced to reduce weight, enhance self-esteem, confidence, and achieve acceptance in the society. For example, magazines have always authored articles on how people with model-like body sizes ought to apply makeup, adopt the latest fashion, and attract success and happiness due to being thin. The model-like persons displayed in the magazines are often thin and always pictured happy. As a result, teenagers have always strived to be thin by avoiding fat and food products that would derive happiness though considered to lead to overweight. The magazines have therefore attributed to a culture described as eating disorders especially among teenagers in order to decrease body weight (Lisa, 1999).
The magazines also include articles, advertisements, and promotions asserting fad diets achieve loss of body weight. Anderson asserted that, a study of magazines focusing on women include at least more than ten articles promoting weight loss. In comparison to magazines focusing on men, the articles are therefore ten times more affirming women are greatly motivated to adopt fad diets than their male counterparts. For example, the Playboy magazine has been famous since 1959. It included of models with frail-looking body images in attempts to advertise that being thin should be accepted and promoted as the most appealing body image. The models included in the magazine continue to advertise that, women with smaller body frames, slim curves, and reedy lead healthy lifestyles. As a result, they should be considered the norm lifestyles across United States (Anderson & DiDomenico, 1992).
Reed Berger is a clinical professor focusing on nutrition. He asserts that, engaging in fad diets severally leads to strong resistance towards weight loss. This has not discouraged people from regarding fad diets as magic pills attributing towards weight loss. Relying on fad diets also interferes with the metabolism rates. This is because fad diets advocate people to eat only one meal per day. They do not provide people with enough information concerning the portion sizes and types of foods to engage in while adopting fad diets. Thus, fad diets such as Atkins, sugar busters, grapefruit diet, the zone, eat more, weigh less, Pritikin diet, and cabbage soup diet among others continue to be popular in the modern culture of striving to be thin. He therefore asserts that the following concepts about fad diets ought to be provided to the public. Foremost, fad diets ought to be recognized as dietary portions with low calories (Reed, 2014).
Thus, fad diets gimmick weight loss rather than assist the body in actually shedding excess fat. Fad diets advocating for calorie deficit encourage participants to consume three hundred calories on a daily basis. The people and media embracing fad diets should therefore acknowledge a human being requires at least two hundred calories per day especially in current sedentary lifestyles. It is therefore misleading and nutritionally dangerous to embrace fad diets, as they do not provide enough calories required by the body to function effectively and efficiently. Conversely, fad diets embracing increased calorie intake should also be avoided as they lead in weight gain without evaluating the body’s nutritional needs in order to maintain functional metabolism rates. Thus, fad diets provide the following general disadvantages (Heli, Philip, & Steve 2011).
Foremost, fad diets promote rapid weight loss. This however should be noted to be temporary aimed at attracting more consumers. Thus, after the body has lost and started gaining back the weight, consumers ought to recognize the new body weight is actually more. Thus, consumers should avoid relying on quick fixes, as they are effective on short term and temporary basis while expensive in long-term basis. Ultimately, people ought to recognize that fad diets do not advocate for healthy weight loss. More so, they lack the ability to assist the consumer maintain the slow weight loss on a steady process by focusing on healthy eating and engaging in exercise habits (ACP, 2013).
The Atkins diet has been recognized as a fad diet advocating for weight loss. It however attributes to various physical and nutritional adverse effects. For example, it encourages the body to over-rely on proteins in order to lose weight. As a result, it puts the body into ketosis with side effects such as nausea, headaches, cravings, and bad breath. More so, it advocates for high saturated fats and low fiber, calcium, and amount of vitamins that ought to be acquired from fruits. As a result, it is difficult for a consumer to maintain the fad diet as it encourages rebound. Other side effects and disadvantages allied to fad diets include the following. Some fad diets lead consumers to develop insulin resistance. This is a dangerous condition among persons with diabetes. Other fad diets such as the Pritikin attributes to abdominal distention among consumers. This often leads to overeating due to increased cravings. Ultimately, fad diets according to Reed Berger are too strict, confusing, leading to stomach upsets, and hard to maintain (Reed, 2014).
The United Kingdom Cooperative Extension Service through the University of Kentucky authored a report affirming that, consumers across the globe are relying on fad diets to achieve weight loss. The report defined fad diets as imbalanced and unhealthy causing discomfort and frustration among the consumers. As a result, it provided criteria on how to recognize a fad diet. Foremost, it asserted fad diets comprise of miracle and magical foods. More so, they advocate foods to be consumed in bizarre quantities. Thus, they should be recognized as rigid menus due to the limited foods a consumer is required to eat at specific periods and combinations. The consumer undertakes these results to rapid weight loss, which ought to be a health warning since little physical activities (UKCES, 2004).
In order to complete the research proposal, a group of fifty participants ought to be acquired. The group of participants ought to include teenagers aged between thirteen and nineteen years of age. A group of young adults aged between twenty and thirty-five should be included in the study. Lastly, participants aged above thirty-six should also be included in the study. Mixing the participants will ensure accurate and viable results with regards to the adverse effects of fad diets among consumers across diverse age groups are acquired.
Design and Measure
Administration of information surveys among the surveys will provide results with regards to the subjects’ knowledge in relation to fad diets. The survey ought to comprise at least ten-items in order for participants to respond towards all questions discussing fad diets. Thus, all participants ought to be provided with survey sheets in order to submit their responses without feeling threatened or being subjected to intimidation during group discussions as they maintain anonymity.
Procedure and Results
The research questions to be administered through the survey sheets should include the following.
- Do you understand what a fad diet is?
- How did you know about fad diets?
- How much time do you spend time discussing or researching about fad diets per day?
- Do you currently feel comfortable with your body weight?
- Do you believe body weight ought to influence self-esteem?
- Do you know other methods that can lead to weight loss? (Please list them below)
- Please list some of the advantages of embracing fad diets.
- Do you believe the advantages pose similar effects arising from food deprivation?
- Please list disadvantages of relying on fad diets in order to lose weight.
- Do you believe food deprivation can lead to similar adverse effects resulting from fad diets?
- Do you therefore advocate that consumers ought to embrace fad diets?
- If your answer is [No], what other counter productivity measures can a person desiring to lose weight adopt? (Please provide examples).
- Please provide your final thought.
Thank you for participating.
In order to conduct this research proposal, the following limitations are likely to occur. Foremost, it may be challenging to acquire participants voluntarily. This is because the research my conflict with students’ school schedules or working hours. More so, some participants that have embraced and appreciated the results of engaging in fad diets may lack the positive attitude required to engage in the study aimed at discouraging consumers. Consequently, the amount of time and resources required to undertake the research are constrained. Thus, the results may be biased as the research may be conducted in a hurry among participants who lacking the will and positive attitude to provide unbiased responses during the survey. Lastly, participants from a counseling clinic aware fad diets provide temporary and short-term results and negative long-term effects should be avoided. This procedure however is challenging to implement, as it is difficult to determine participants’ level of commitment, dedication, and willingness to provide viable and unbiased results.
The research proposal does not advocate for consumers to embrace obesity. Instead, it advocates consumers to achieve nutritional and health balances based on their dietary options. As a result, the proposal aims at educating consumers that fad diets should neither be utilized nor embraced by consumers desiring to achieve weight with a proportional and positive body image. It also aims at educating the public that, influence from peers and the media should not always be deemed positive. As an individual, everyone ought to be responsible in their endeavors to achieve and sustain positive and healthy physical, spiritual, emotional, nutritional, and psychological statuses. Ultimately, the research proposal aims at promoting and enhancing self esteem and confidence among members of the public who regard fad diets as the most quick and reliable procedure to comply with the modern culture claiming being thin and frail is acceptable and appealing.
American Academy of Pediatrics (ACP). (2013). Nutritional Aspects of Vegetarianism, Health Foods, and Fad Diets. Committee on Nutrition, American Academy of Pediatrics.
Anderson, A., & DiDomenico, L. (1992). Diet vs. Shape Content of Popular Male and Female Magazines: A Dose-Response Relationship to the Incident of Eating Disorders? International Journal of Eating Disorders, 11(1), 283-287.
Heli, J., Philip, B., & Steve, H. (2011).Fad Diets Defined. Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Nutrition Series.
Lisa, C. (1999). Media and Peer Influence on Fad Diets Tried by Adolescent Females. University of Wisconsin-Stout.
Reed, B. (2014). Fad Diets and Food Trends. University of Illinois.
United Kingdom Cooperative Extension Service (UKCES). (2004). Fad Diets. University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture.
Zimbardo, P., & Gerrig, R. (2010). Psychology and Life. New York: Harper Collins.