SAS students’ experiences with fad diets

“Go for healthy, not for skinny,” said senior Mina Lee, a student who is a fan of the Paleo Diet.

Food options for Diets
Food options for Diets

Mina, along with almost 10% of the SAS high school student body, has put herself on what could be considered a fad diet, although Mina sees it as a healthy lifestyle.

What is a fad diet? A fad diet is a category of trendy diets that promises rapid weight loss. Paleo Diet, Atkins Diet, Military Diet, General Motors Diet could all fall into this category.

An anonymous survey was sent to all SAS high school students, and nearly 300 responded. Almost 9% said they had been on a fad diet.

Student's results of whether they have been on a fad diet
Students’ responses regarding a question of whether they have been on a fad diet.

 

When asked what kind of diet that they tried, various fad diets were mentioned, starting from the “ABC diet.” The results of the survey showed that fad diets were truly effective in losing weight, with almost 90% answering that that they did so.

Data of whether people lost weight
Data showing the percentage of students who lost weight.

When students were asked about how they felt during their diet plans, the results were mixed. One student confessed that she thought that “it wasn’t sustainable” and she “felt low in energy and cold all the time,” adding that she “lost a lot of weight” but thought that “it wasn’t worth it.”

Another said he felt “weird but strangely euphoric,” adding that even though it was successful, it left him with an unhealthy perception on dieting/healthy eating.”

Other students claimed that it was worth it, saying that they felt “less tired, more energized and more balanced.” One student also added that “it was just an interesting experience to have, and it was only a three-day diet and I got the results I wanted so I’m glad I tried it, and I might even try it again.”

The difference between opinions could be due to the difference of their intentions of dieting. Those who said that they wanted to have a healthier body mostly said that they enjoyed exercising and eating healthy, which resulted in a happy weight loss. Most of the students who simply wanted to drop weight fast felt differently.

One student said that he felt terrible while being on a diet and he only started because he was insecure about his body. Another student said the process of dieting was “really terrible,” making her feel “really dizzy and tired sometimes” and it led to a serious consequence of an eating disorder.

Overall, results varied from those who loved the process as well as the result to those who hated not only the process but also the results. There were also some who were in the middle and thought that it was effective, but the process was terrible, saying that it wasn’t really worth it because “it’s not long term and in the end it’s all about eating healthy and exercising.”

Data whether Fad diets are effective
Data whether Fad diets are effective

 

Experts claim, rather than sticking to losing weight in a short period of time and stressing the body and mind, the ideal diet would consist of the tendency to eat real, unprocessed whole food to become healthy – mentally and physically.

People who eat real food are less likely to revert back to their “unhealthy” routine and gain back the weight that they lost, known popularly as the “yo-yo effect.” Without that right mindset, it can be seen that diets can lead to eating disorders, just like the case of one self-reporting SAS student. Consequences like these make people question whether being on a fad diet is truly worth the time and effort. Proper motivation as well as mindset is needed in order for a healthy and successful diet. As the celebrity Caroline Rhea said, “Don’t compare yourself with someone else’s version of healthy or thin.”

Author: Jennifer Jung

Jennifer Jung is a senior this year, and it is her second year as a reporter for the Eye. Even though she is originally from Korea, she has been in Singapore since she was five. This is her 11th year at SAS. Some of her hobbies include reading, watching movies, hanging out with friends, as well as sleeping. She can be contacted at jung20163@sas.edu.sg.

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