According to the World Health Organization, worldwide obesity rates have nearly tripled since 1975. The Public Health Agency of Canada states that 49% of Canadian adults were obese in 1978/79, 59% in 2004, and 64% in 2017. Obesity increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Yikes!
Dieting has been around for a very long time; in 1724 George Cheyne wrote "An Essay of Health and Long Life" where he prescribes exercise, fresh air, and avoidance of luxury foods. In 1863, the "Banting Diet" was popularized by William Banting. He wrote a pamphlet to the public on his diet that preached "four meals per day, consisting of meat, greens, fruits, and dry wine. The emphasis on avoiding sugar, sweet foods, starch, beer, milk and butter". This pamphlet would later become a popular model for modern diets.
Flash forward to today and you might recognize the Paleo Diet, Blood Type Diet, Alkaline Diet, Carnivore Diet, South Beach Diet, Mediterranean Diet, The Zone Diet, Raw Food Diet, Atkins Diet, Ketogenic Diet, etc etc etc.
What do all of these diets have in common? They create a caloric deficit. And guess what; creating a caloric deficit drives weight loss. How do these diets create a caloric deficit? They limit your food choices. They all require that you cut certain foods completely from your diet. The Alkaline Diet: you must cut out meat, dairy, sweets, caffeine, alcohol, artificial and processed foods. The Ketogenic Diet: you must cut out carbohydrates. The Raw Food Diet: you must cut out anything that requires cooking. Basically these diets ask that you remove foods that make life more enjoyable.
These fad diets create weight loss, which is great. But why then, do we have an obesity epidemic? THESE FAD DIETS AREN'T SUSTAINABLE!!!!! Willpower is defined as control exerted to do something or restrain impulse. Your willpower is not infinite; it is only a matter of time before your willpower breaks down and you reach for that food that you have restricted yourself from. What all of these diets lack is the diet AFTER the diet; a post-diet game plan. The statistics on post-diet success are grim. People regain the weight they lost (and in many cases regain more) because the diet that helped them achieve the weight loss cannot be sustained long term.
THE most important factor in losing weight and keeping it off? Sustainability. You need to find a diet that you can see yourself sticking to for years to come.
World Health Organization
Public Health Agency of Canada
Oxford Dictionary of English