Can "Fad Diets" Offer More Than Just A Quick Fix?

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -- From low carbs to no carbs to high fat or no fat--it seems we are a society obsessed with slimming down....but can those diets that promise a more flattering figure offer more than just a quick fix?

"It was hard for me to do things.  I'm not doing it for anyone else.  I am doing it for myself," said Housh.

Eric Housh  has battled his weight since his mid 20's.

He didn't like the way he looked or felt, so he decided to get off the fad diet bandwagon and get on the fast track to fitness.

"If you can do something that allows you to lose 7 pounds in 10 days or whatever, that sounds great. You'll be ready for the graduation or the reunion, or the wedding and you'll be good to go," said Clinical Dietician, Pam Towery.

There are millions of consumers like Eric who have been convinced that with a few simple dieting do's, the quick fix fad diets can get you to a desirable weight---even more appealing--that the diets work fast.

"If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  You might lose a few pounds but it's just going to be water weight, and when you begin to eat anymore the weight's just going to come right back on," said Towery.

We asked Towery to examine two diets that claim, if done properly, to shed the pounds and fast.

The first was a broth soup based diet made with cabbage.

"Well, you're getting some fiber and that's a good thing and the idea that you eat several portions a day so you're keeping something in your stomach is good.

The downside is that there's not a lot of protein, not a wide variety of food in that diet, and fad dieters tend to get a little bored with the same routine of eating basically the same food.

"If you just look at my pyramid and what's a balanced diet, there are certainly a few food groups missing," said Towery.

The second claimed dieters could just diet 3 days a week.

"To fit into the idea of weight management, that would definitely not be it," said Towery.

The down side to what some call the three day diet is that some of the protein choices are very high in fat, and some of the portion sizes are a little large--perhaps a little too large for someone trying to lose weight.

"At least it might jump start your system a little bit, but then you should move into something that would be a little more healthy," said Towery.

"For long term weight loss it doesn't work," said Housh.

Eric would know, he says he's done em' all.

Eric tried the cabbage soup diet a few years back.

He claimed the diet worked first.

He got tired of eating the same foods, and fell right back into his poor eating habits

"You gained the weight back, and eventually gain more," said Housh.

So Eric made what he calls a major lifestyle change.

"I've lost 50 pounds just basically by eating healthy meals in moderation," said Housh.

Accompanied by daily exercise, Eric is looking and feeling a way he's never felt before.

He's proud of himself for the weight he's lost, and inspired to lose even more......doing it the healthy way.

"Fad diets are not the way to go.  It's a total lifestyle change for me. We're five years later, I've lost fifty pounds and kept it off," said Housh.

"The fad diets promise quick fixes, and that's what they are is a quick fix," said Towery.

In most cases Towery says that "quick fix" isn't the answer to a long term weight problem.

In the age of instant gratification, we tend to lose sight on what looking good now could cost us later.