Beware of Quick Fix Diets

By Hans Diehl, M.D.

We spend billions of dollars every year on yo-yo diets and weight control paraphernalia, yet the results are dismal. For many, permanent and successful weight control is more difficult to achieve than victory over drugs, tobacco, or alcohol.

Would It Be Better So Stop Trying? Just To Stay Fat?

Yes, it would be safer to remain obese than to jump from one yo-yo diet fad to another, lose pounds now, and gain them back later. Research shows that this yo-yo effect gradually depletes important body tissues such as muscle and bone. Eventually it weakens the body so that it becomes more susceptible to disease and less able to shed excess fat.

But Isn't It Dangerous To Remain Overweight?

Being fat isn't healthful. Excess weight impairs health and shortens life. As little as 10 to 15 pounds of extra weight produces measurable changes that can lay the foundation for degenerative disease. And for every 10 pounds of overweight, the life span can be shortened by as much as a year.

So What Is The Answer?

People who are overweight need major revisions in thinking and attitudes. The scenario played out in millions of lives goes something like this: a few weeks on the latest wonder diet; have the jaws wired; take a series of shots or pills; have the stomach stapled; get an intestinal bypass; check into a fat farm. And presto, down goes the weight! Celebration! New clothes!

But within days these people resume their former eating patterns and lifestyle. In a few weeks or months their lost pounds are back, often with a bonus. You see, yo-yo diets are like a metabolic switch. Turn them on and lose muscle; turn them off and yo-yo back the lost muscle as fat.


Yo-yo diets do not work. Once off the yo-yo diet,  you're back where you started.  Yo-yo diets are like traps; you need a good wrench to break them open.  Once you break the trap open, you can flush it out and start over.


Weight control programs usually fail because they are short-term fixes for long-term problems. It's time to face the reality that obesity can be a serious and life-threatening condition. Want more information on diets? View our pages on the lifestyle change dietthe diabetic dietthe low salt diet and the vegetarian lose weight diet.

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