Fad diets that tell us to cut out whole categories of food may be worse than useless — they may actually be dangerous. Many people seem attracted to the notion that dietary self−denial is the path to better health. On the contrary, says University of Arkansas anthropologist Peter Ungar, humans long ago evolved to consume the widest possible range of foods, and limiting that variety can be bad for us.
"Americans assume that their diets are varied because of the seemingly infinite array of foods available to us," Ungar said. "But if you look at the average American diet, it consists mainly of fat and starch. Occasionally, we throw in some tomatoes.
...[t]he metabolic functioning of our bodies has given rise to such diseases as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
"Diets that purport to solve that problem by cutting out entire categories of food are taking the wrong approach," he added. "The modern risk, at least in part, is that our diets aren't varied enough."
For analysis by TheDoctor's experts on current popular diets, see Losing Propositions, A Discussion of Popular Diets by Dr. Robert M. Russell, Dr. Edward Saltzman and Helen Rasmussen, M.S., R.D..