Fad Diets or Fab Diets?


The freshman 15 is a real thing, and some students try a lot of fad diets to get back the body they once had before their first day of college.

Not all of their diet plans will work, but some have great success stories that can help others decide which one is right for them.

Herbalife diet

One diet students around campus are trying is the Herbalife diet. For this weight-loss plan, dieters drink two Herbalife shakes a day, exercise regularly and take their herbal supplements and vitamins. They also get to eat one meal a day that is light in calories and packed with lean meats, fruits and vegetables.

“I would say it is more like a lifestyle versus a diet, because you can gain weight, lose weight, or get your essential nutrients depending your goal,” said Alana Avery, Herbalife supervisor and junior in elementary education. “I went into this just trying to lose weight and I was overwhelmed by what Herbalife gave me. (It) gave me good health and also an awesome job opportunity. It really is inspiring to hear other’s success stories.”

A downfall of Herbalife is many people find it to be too expensive. The quick-start program is anywhere from $113 to $130 and lasts about two weeks.

Healthy Fusion in Manhattan is a shake store that allows you to try a shake meal or tea for around $6. They have trainers in the store to help you get a body scan and provide more information on the Herbalife plan.

Garcinia Cambogia Extract

Another relatively new diet fad is the Garcinia Cambogia Extract, which is an appetite suppressant, stomach toner and fat diffusor.

“Anytime I see a scientist get this excited about something like Garcinia Cambogia extract, and when I looked through some of this research and called these scientists myself, I get excited,” said Dr. Mehmet Oz, a cardiothoracic surgeon and teaching professor at Columbia University, on his television show “Dr. Oz.” “That’s why Garcinia Cambogia extract makes sense to me and fascinates me.”

In the skin of the Garcinia Cambogia fruit, there is a large amount of natural substance called hydroxycitric acid, an active ingredient that produces weight loss effects.

A review published in the Journal of Obesity in 2011 looked at 12 clinical trials and found that Garcinia Cambogia can increase weight loss by about 2 pounds on average over a period of several weeks.

However, The Journal of The American Medical Association tested the extract by putting a placebo and a treatment group on a high-fiber, low-calorie diet. The study found that both groups lost weight. The placebo group lost 2.16 percent of weight, while the group taking Garcinia Cambogia lost only 1.6 percent.

However, the difference is not statistically significant; the results could have been due to chance.

Lean meats

The one way to trim fat that will work for nearly anybody is eating lean meats, a lot of vegetables and cutting back on sugars.

“It is definitely healthier for students to eat from the food guide pyramid,” Julie Gibbs, director of health promotions at Lafene Health Center, said. “There is a reason why we have that guide for us: if we are careful about quality and quantity, then we shouldn’t need the other things like pills and shakes. I think eating right is the best way to go about maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle.”

Weight loss is generally 75 percent diet and 25 percent exercise. An analysis of more than 700 weight-loss studies found that people see the biggest short-term results when they eat a balanced diet.

“Choosing whole foods and maintaining a balance of carbohydrate, fats, and protein in ones diet is key,” said Erin Lichter, senior in dietetics and intern for K-State sports nutrition. “Fad diets often restrict individuals leading only to short term goals, which do not last. Nutrition is definitely a lifestyle.”

Always be sure to contact your personal doctor before starting any weight loss plans.