Fad diets generally claim to be quick solutions to weight loss and good health
Ailsa Brogan-Hewitt

Fad diets - how to spot bad advice

Fad diets are all around us. They’re promoted by celebrities, reported in newspapers and magazines, they’re even mentioned in films and TV shows. They’ve also been around for decades. Do you remember the cabbage soup diet? How about the Atkins Diet?

Fad diets generally claim to be quick solutions to weight loss and good health. Most of the time it’s the kind of diet plan that promises weight loss by advising you to have a restrictive diet with a few and/or unusual foods without making changes to your lifestyle. You may initially lose weight very quickly, but this is usually down to cutting out large food groups which means that it’s likely you are consuming less calories, not because of the diet itself. However, it’s unlikely you will be able to sustain the diet and may put weight back on, sometimes even more than before, due to overeating.

How do you know how to spot a fad diet? Here are some tell-tale signs:

  • The diet or plan promises a magic solution to solve your weight problem without having to change your lifestyle
  • It promises rapid weight loss of more than 2 lbs (1kg) a week
  • It focus only on your appearance rather than on health benefits
  • It recommends only eating magical ‘fat burning’ foods, such as the grapefruit diet
  • The diet promotes avoidance or severe limitation of a whole food group, such as dairy products or a staple food such as wheat (and suggests substituting them for expensive doses of vitamin and mineral supplements)
  • It suggests that you eat mainly one type of food
  • It recommends eating foods only in particular combinations based on your genetic type or blood group
  • It suggestions that being overweight is related to a food allergy or a yeast infection
  • It offers no supporting evidence apart from a celebrity with personal success story
  • It’s based on claims that we can survive without food or having liquid meals only
  • It aims to sell you products or supplements and recommends eating non-food items
  • It offers recommendations based on a single study
  • It claims the same diet can work for everyone without accounting for specific needs
  • It is based on a ‘secret’ that doctors or health professionals are yet to discover

If there’s one thing to take away from this article let it be this… there is no such thing as a quick fix solution to long term weight loss without potential health risks.

What’s the good news?

When we focus on being the healthiest versions of ourselves, weight loss and other physical changes take care of themselves. So focus on being healthy, for 80 percent or the majority of the time, eat the foods that are good for us (with the odd treat thrown in!), drink lots of water, do regular exercise (even if it’s a 30 min brisk walk a day). Most importantly be happy and enjoy the journey.

If you need any extra support or have any questions about healthy eating, please feel free to get in touch I’m always happy to chat.

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