SHORT DIET/ FAD DIET – Impact on Health

SHORT DIET/ FAD DIET – Impact on Health


FAD diets are also called Short diets. As the name indicates, these diets become popular in a short period of time and recommend unreasonable claims for health improvements. It encompasses a variety of diets with different approaches, outcomes, advantages and disadvantages. Some diets involve elimination of certain food items which contain necessary nutrients that the body might need to maintain good health. These types of diets might give primarily a better outcome in short period but leaves a major ill effect on the body.

Generally, FAD diets affirm short term changes requiring less effort by modifying dietary and lifestyle changes. These FAD Diets are disclosed to clients by renaming it as a “Secret“ to bring out the desired changes, which proves to be very attractive to grab many clients. FAD Diet encompasses hope, motivation and drives to get life back on track. When these programs fail, the dieters look for hope, and will often find promise in their next diet. Thus, the downward spiral of diet addiction continues.


Although the FAD Diet is ever changing and can be categorized into different groups, depending upon the changes to be made in body composition. FAD diets provide a wide area of foods to be restricted, included, lifestyle changes and consistency of food. They mainly focus on liquid diet and propose to continue such faulty patterns for a few days or week, until they get the desired changes.

Liquid Diets : These diets are also called “Slim Fast Meal Replacement” which emphasizes mostly Juices, Soups, and Broths. Solid foods are completely restricted until they achieve the desired change in body.

  1. Low calorie Liquid Diet :  In these dietary patterns, the food items which contain lesser amounts of carbohydrates and calories  which are consumed only in liquid form. No solid food is consumed in this practice.
  2. High protein, Low Carbohydrate Liquid diet : This diet is generally practised  for weight loss and post surgery.
  3. High fiber, Low Calorie Liquid Diet : This diet usually emphasizes doubling the fibre intake and Cutting down the calories. These are generally practised after Colon and Rectal Surgeries.
  4. Food specific Liquid  Diet : It encourages a person to eat a larger amount of a particular food item on a daily basis by avoiding other food items. The most common example for this category is the  “Cabbage Soup Diet”.
  5. Excessive HIgh Protein Liquid Diet : This diet is generally used for building muscles rapidly and emphasises more on Non veg source of protein in the form of liquids which can lead to diseases related to heart and blood vessels.
  6. Fasting : This category emphasizes on alternate fasting, skipping meals for detoxifying the body.


There are several reasons which can force a person to start a FAD Diet and modify themselves. They could be psychological, physical, social, cultural factors which might burden the thoughts of a person and force them to indulge themselves in such faulty practices

  1. Socio – cultural factors : People who are under constant pressure for their body structure and composition especially during festivals, Parties and get togethers may increase body consciousness and act as an socio – cultural pressure.
  2. Low self esteem : Regular and common comments on body and body composition may reduce self esteem and self confidence and thus might be the reason for opting such faulty FAD/ Short diets.
  3. Social Media : Social Media has become a major part of daily life and comparing pictures of friends, family, colleagues  with themself, makes them disheartened and opt for FAD/ SHORT diets.


FAD Diets generally promise rapid, desired changes in  the body though they are nutritionally imbalanced, Highly restrictive, ignore food groups, and allow single food items. Some of them are enlisted below : 

  • Ensuring weight loss upto 1-2 kg/ week.
  • Emphasis on liquid meals rather than soft diet, as they claim that humans can survive even on liquids.
  • Recommending consumption of foods in specific combinations & orders based on body conditions.
  • Complete rely on detox water and detox juices to burn fat.
  • They follow one common ideology of one – size – fits – all “magic bullet” with little or no effort without including long term dietary changes.
  • Emphasize mostly on supplemental products and resources.
  • Provided no health warning for those with pre – existing medical illnesses.
  • Focuses on appearance enhancement rather than health benefits.


  • Sippy’s diet, Meulengracht, Andersen Diet : This diet is still used in some parts of the world for treating peptic ulcers by providing 50ml of milk and cream feeding hourly.
  • Karell Diet & Portfolio Diet : This faulty dietary practice is used in undernourished population which suggests feeding 800 ml of milk in 4 intervals for 2 days and on the 3rd day, a semi soft diet is initiated in which the person eats only eggs, cream, soups & fruits. This diet is generally opted after heart surgery, for maintaining cholesterol levels and to avoid chances of atherosclerosis.
  • Atkin’s diet :  This is a low carbohydrate and high protein diet. This diet pattern is divided into 4 parts as Fortnight induction diet, Ongoing Weight Loss diet, Pre – Maintenance, Maintenance diet. In this practice,  20 gms of carbohydrates are given to a person per day with unlimited inclusion of animal protein. Refined carbohydrates, & starches are restricted. Fruits and vegetables intake could be around 20 gms/ day. This diet leads to vitamin, mineral & Fibre deficiency in body.
  • Ornish Diet : This FAD diet suggests consuming fat upto 10% per day through non- veg and dairy along with 30% of carbohydrates per day and moderate exercise for 1 hour. This diet encompasses managing stress, weight loss and maintaining blood sugar, cholesterol levels.
  • Willett Diet : This diet suggests for free intake of only fruits, vegetables and oil seeds with small amounts of fish and chicken. This diet is generally opted to maintain blood cholesterol levels, reduce blood sugar spikes.
  • Summer bell et., al diet : This diet consists of more servings of milk intake in several forms for maintaining weight 
  • The Zone diet: This FAD diet encompasses 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein, 30% fat intake per day. This is the most criticised FAD diet as it provides very less carbohydrates and shows reversals symptoms faster, when a person stops this diet plan.
  • The grapefruit Diet : Grape Fruit contains an special fat burning enzyme  and claims to consume this fruit at least 20-30 gms before the major meals.
  • Dr. Fed on Lindberg Diet : This FAD Diet suggests fasting for 12-13 hours in a day. This diet claims to reduce weight but is the most contradicted theory as it also leads to severe weakness, dehydration and blood sugar fluctuations.


FAD Diet when initiated, a person might experience mild health complications, but shows severe disaster complications after stopping them. Depending upon the FAD diet, the complications could be temporary and permanent.

  • Excessive Dehydration
  • Weakness and Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Risk for developing eating disorders
  • Higher death rates with intense calorie restriction
  • Muscle loss
  • Higher risk for heart disease
  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Impaired bone health
  • Infertility
  • Various mineral and vitamin deficiency and its related diseases

To achieve your desired health goals and to improve your nutritional status it is always advisable to follow a balanced nutritious meal plan and the results obtained are sustainable and long lasting without any health impacts.

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