Accept No Substitutes: Why Fad Diets Can’t Compare To Yoga

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Author credit Jenny Johnson.

From the Grapefruit Diet to the Cabbage Soup Diet to the Paleo Diet, it seems that every decade (and maybe even every year) there’s a new fad diet promising shortcuts to health, energy, and above all, weight loss. Sometimes seemingly appearing out of nowhere, more often than not in conjunction with a handful of celebrity endorsements or the release of a new book touting their benefits, these diets seem at first glance almost too good to be true. Unfortunately, deeper research into the benefits of these styles of eating tends to confirm just that – while they may produce some immediate, short-term effects on the body that give the illusion of lasting change, they are no substitute for the lasting health benefits of a yogic practice. As a matter of fact, these fad diets can actually inflict serious damage on the body.


The illusion of weight loss

Two of the most widespread types of fad meal plans are liquid diets, such as the Hollywood Diet and the various soup diets, and high-fat/low-carb diets such as the Atkins Diet and the Keto Diet. In both cases, the dieter often experiences some initial weight loss that can seem very dramatic, all without having to change exercise plans or activity levels. But in both cases, there’s a catch. High-fat/low carb diets function in large part due to how the body stores carbohydrates: as a substance called glycogen in the liver and muscles.

Because glycogen draws in water, when carbohydrates are restricted the body flushes out a large portion of its water researves. This means that a great deal of the initial weight loss is actually from water — leaving the dieter dehydrated and also putting a finite cap on how much weight can be lost through this method. Liquid diets can be even harsher, as they operate through simple calorie reduction, whether based around drinking juice, soup, or shakes. Essentially, they amount to starving oneself — and once dieters go back to feeding themselves regularly, the lost weight will consistently reappear.

Yoga — here’s to feeling good all the time

Lasting weight loss is accomplished through a calorie deficit: burning more calories than one consumes. However, to have the physical and mental energy to burn these calories, it’s important to eat a well-balanced diet and be in a comfortable state of mind. While healthy eating is obviously important, one should create a balanced meal plan that suits them and makes them happy, while using cardio activities such as yoga to lose weight and build muscle. But yogic practice consisting of both stretches and meditations has many benefits beyond weight loss such as decreasing stress, increasing flexibility, and improving heart health through reducing blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels. More than a fad, yoga is a wonderful lifestyle that will undoubtedly leave any practitioner feeling healthy, happy, and fit for the long term.

Photo by Matthew Kane on Unsplash

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