Why Fad Diets Are Bad Diets

Feb 26 • 2016

Losing weight can be tough, which may be why there always seems to be a new way to drop the pounds quickly. Fad diets are one of the most common weight loss trends people tend to get wrapped up in, but they aren’t always what they seem. Before you decide to hop on the fad diet bandwagon, make sure you know the truth.

What You Should Know About Fad Diets
Fad diets are a quick fix to weight loss. Because they don’t focus on actually making a change to your lifestyle, they do not provide long-term results. If you’re wondering whether a product or diet falls into this category, there are some key things to look for. Any diet that promises a “quick fix”, offers a guaranteed cure, says it is a “limited time offer”, or either promotes or limits a specific food group is typically easy to identify as a fad.

“I would never support or promote a fad diet,” says Christy Davis, a registered dietician at Baptist. “I think many people choose these because some can provide very specific instructions or limit all foods except for one or two.” Many of these fad diets are easy to follow because of the guidelines or steps that they come with, which often entice people who struggle with sticking to a diet otherwise. They also use false promises to lure people in.

“What will happen when the diet program is over? Did the person learn anything about healthy lifestyle and keeping the weight off? Most of the time, people go back to their old eating habits, regain the weight, and six months down the road, find another fad diet,” says Davis. “This trend of ‘yo-yo dieting’ is not good for your metabolism, either.”

How to Avoid Fad Dieting
It might seem hard to avoid these kind of diet plans, but Davis has a variety of recommendations for people looking to find a healthy, long-term diet that will work with their lifestyle. “If you are a structured, rule-abiding person, contact a registered dietician to help with a set meal plan,” she says. “It’s important that individuals have the tools to make their own decisions on the food to eat versus having a program tell you when and how to eat.”

She also recommends identifying your weak spots and finding a way to decrease them in your diet. This doesn’t mean you have to remove certain foods or drinks completely – for example, if you drink four sodas per day, cut that number down to one. If you find yourself eating a salty or sugary snack in the afternoons, go for a healthier alternative like yogurt, fruit, or nuts.

“Also, write down everything you eat during the week and review,” she says. “I think the majority of people know where their areas of weakness are – it’s identifying those and finding ways to improve. Pick one or two things to focus on versus the entire diet. It makes it much easier to manage. Don’t forget to celebrate successes!”