How to Spot a Fad Diet

Nutrition // Chantelle Curtis-Latchford // 24 April 2016

With so many new miracle weight loss diets hitting the market, how do you separate fact from fiction? Here’s how to avoid a dud.

Fad diets often make promising claims that make you want to give them a go. But they often focus on restrictive eating patterns that you can’t possibly stick to over a long period of time, and may damage your health. A fad diet isn’t a long-term solution and, once you reach your goal, you often go back to what you were doing before.

Ask yourself: “Is this manageable for the rest of my life?”

If a diet asks you to make short-term changes, like downing special drinks or eating baby food from a jar, it’s not sustainable and neither are the weight changes that may occur. It’s a very real issue.

Remember, a healthy lifestyle IS forever, a diet isn’t.

Spot the fad

Fad diets often have similar promises or claims. These may include:

  • claims that sound too good to be true, such as quick weight loss.

  • a claim to be the next miracle breakthrough.

  • claims not supported by scientific evidence.

  • a promise that you can eat whatever you want and still lose weight.

  • claims based on a single study or testimonials only.

It’s common for fad diets to cut out entire food groups. Or they can be too restrictive, which may compromise your nutritional needs.

Be wary of diets asking you to eliminate food groups, as this can lead to fatigue, weakness, headaches, nausea and inadequate vitamin and mineral intakes.

Also be suspicious of diets that suggest replacing meals with special, often expensive, drinks or foods, like specially formulated cookies. The initial weight loss is often water and lean muscle mass, which can lower your metabolism, making it more difficult to lose weight.

Which way is best?

The best way to achieve sustainable weight loss is to keep it simple. Make small changes on a daily basis, like moving more and eating a balanced diet by filling half your plate with veggies, a quarter with carbohydrates and a quarter with lean protein.

Don’t fall for the hype! The best approach is to follow a healthy eating plan and exercise regularly – just like 12WBT recommends. Stick to achievable changes that can be made daily, like eating more vegies and moving more.

Check out our other posts from our team of experts. 12WBT sets you up for long-term health and fitness – no fad diets here!

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Meet the Author, Chantelle Curtis-Latchford

After meeting someone who has a Master of Science (Nutrition and Dietetics) with distinctions and who lives by the mantra 'Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live', it's refreshing to discover that Chantelle has a weakness for chocolate. She's the first to admit that no one's perfect, but aiming to be the best version of yourself is wonderful motivation. She keeps fit on four legs and loves horse riding. Read author's full story here

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