27 Jun 2022

The truth about fad diets

author Ashley Owen
Fad diets make empty promises and lure you into thinking that they can fix all your problems overnight. Unfortunately, that is never the case. Let’s uncover the truth about fad diets.

What are fad diets?

Fad diets are promoted as quick fixes to achieving rapid weight loss. More often than not, their promises seem too good to be true, and that’s because they are! Let's unravel the truth about fad diets. 

Many fad diets require you to completely cut out entire food groups which your body needs for normal health and functioning. Most of these diets lack any credible scientific evidence and in fact, they can be dangerous and put your health at risk.

There are countless examples of fad diets, and the rate at which companies advertise new ones does not seem to be decreasing anytime soon! The popularity of fad diets increases thanks to celebrity endorsements or heavy media promotion. 

Some fad diets praise the benefits of specific foods, for example cabbage ( the cabbage soup diet) or raw foods (raw vegan diets), just to name a few. 

Others focus on specific macronutrients, such as low carb diets (Atkins), high carb diets (the Pritikin principle), high fat diets (paleo), high protein diets (Dukan).Some fad diets claim that certain foods should only be eaten as specific times of the day, while others only allow certain foods if they are eaten in combination with other foods. 

Some of these diets may be appropriate in very specific circumstances under the guidance of a doctor or dietitian. However for the most part, they are largely unnecessary and can lead to health issues. 

The truth about fad diets

By cutting out major food groups, you are likely to miss out on essential nutrients like fibre, vitamins and minerals, thus leading to deficiencies and in the worst case scenario, illness. 

In addition, when fad diets do permit certain food groups, the amounts that they recommend are often largely below or above the standard recommended amounts as established by regulatory governing bodies. 

One thing’s for sure, the truth about fad diets is that they offer an overnight solution to what is essentially a lifelong issue. 

Weight loss does not happen overnight no matter what fad diets lead you to believe. What’s more, when you stop following a fad diet, you will most probably gain back any weight you have lost, and perhaps more weight on top of that. 

Understandably, when it comes to weight loss, most people wish to see results as soon as possible and ideally immediately. Who would say no to a proven effective and extremely rapid weight loss diet solution? Unfortunately this is not realistic and it promotes an unhealthy mindset. 

The main issue with fad diets is that their focus is not behaviour change or healthy lifestyle modification. In fact, this is exactly what people who wish to lose weight require in order to sustainably balance their weight. 

Unfortunately,  the truth is that most fad diets are not sustainable in the long-term. Healthy weight loss takes effort and a bit of patience. Healthy varied eating combined with regular movement is the key to sustainable, long-term weight loss and maintenance.(1) 

Related reading