Fad Diets: Why Do We Still Get Sucked In?

14/08/2014 16:42 | Updated 20 May 2015

Freelee the self-confessed "banana girl" and her banana diet is the latest eating fad to garner online coverage, outrage and sheer disbelief.

The aforementioned fruitarian claims eating 51 bananas a day along with huge quantities of other fruits such as mangoes and pineapples made her lose 40lbs.

So, could Freelee's "high carb, vegan" lifestyle actually be the weightloss plan we've all been waiting for?

Instagram/Freelee The Banana Girl

No, you idiot, of course it's not. For a second, you were actually considering it, weren't you? You were contemplating how you'd look minus any perceived excess weight if you'd just eat a shitload of bananas.

And, don't worry - you're not alone. Freelee has 105,498 followers on Instagram and a thriving Youtube community of people who've read the blurb, seen her videos and are now munching through more than four dozen bananas a day.

But before you click to her website, just for a peek, it's worth remembering something we all know for certain already: fad diets don't work. Ever.

So why do we all still get sucked in?

Obviously, it's the idea of a quick-fix - the easy win. Except fad diets are never easy, quick or happy-making. They're angst-ridden, nerve-shattering and daily lessons in dealing with your own lack of self control.

Yet, there are more variations than ever being punted at us punters. Don't eat sugar! Don't eat carbs! Wait - eat carbs, but only low GI carbs! Go vegan! Be vegetarian! 5:2 saved my life! Eat like a caveman you disgusting fat bitch! The hysteria around food and actually eating it is exhausting.

Fruit and vegetables

So, just to reaffirm my point, take it from someone who knows - who's tried every damn fad diet in the damn fad diet book: none of them work. Nothing faddy about diet and food ever does. Trust me, I want to believe there's a quick fix too but the truth is they're all bullshit. Especially the following five:

1. Diet pills: they make you feel like you're on speed, give you insomnia and leave you drenched in sweat after a five yard walk to the loo. Also, they give you a puffy face and mess up your metabolism to the point of zero recognition.

2. Fruit diets: want to experience stomach cramps so bad you fear you may actually birth a bushel of bananas? Go on a fruit-only diet. I dare you. No, I triple dare you (I don't really, it's rubbish).

3. Liquid/no food diets: here's how to tell if you need solids as well as liquid in your life. a) You go to work. b) You do a day's work. c) You come home from work. If these three things are part of your daily routine, you need solids. Committing to life without these will 100% lead to binge eating cheese at an open fridge.

4. Starvation: I once survived on less than 500 calories a day. If this sounds like an eating disorder, that's because it was. Remember, sometimes fad diet creators will trick you into thinking you're on a healthy eating plan when actually you're whizzing off down a slippy slope to anorexia. Anything advocating a crazily low calorie intake will result in hard-to-control neurosis or the cheese situation in point 3.

5. Atkins: A short cut to bad skin and a bowel that literally hates your guts (sorry). Imagine yourself looking greasy and being genuinely depressed about how bad your breath is - that's life on Atkins.

I've wanted to be thinner my whole life and the only thing that got me the body I wanted was a balanced diet. Carbs, protein, fruit and vegetables. No gimmicks. No tricks.

If you need any more convincing, here's some pictorial evidence for you. To the left, me on a stupid fad diet. To the right, me on a balanced diet. I know which one I'm happier with.

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