Fad diets

By Vicky A on 17 September 2015

Many of us would like to lose a few pounds. However you shouldn’t get tempted by the ever increasing range of ‘quick fix’ and ‘miracle’ options making unrealistic weight loss promises with minimum effort.

Sadly, there is no magic solution to losing weight and keeping it off long-term. There is no wonder-diet you can follow without some associated nutritional or health risk and most are offering a short-term fix to a longterm problem.

What is a fad diet?
A fad diet is the kind of plan where you eat a very restrictive diet with few foods or an unusual combination of foods for a short period of time and often lose weight very quickly. However, most people then get fed-up, start over-eating and choose less healthy foods and pile the pounds back on.

How to spot bad dietary advice
It can be useful to be aware of misleading weight loss claims that can lead you to waste your time and your money and even risk your health. So how can you tell the dieting fact from the fiction? Stay away from diets that:
• promise a magic bullet to solve your weight problem without having to change your lifestyle in any way
• promise rapid weight loss of more than 2lbs of body fat a week
• recommend magical fat-burning effects of foods (such as the grapefruit diet) or hidden ingredients in foods (the coffee diet)
• promote the 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)
• promote eating mainly one type of food (e.g. cabbage soup, chocolate or eggs) or avoiding all cooked foods ( the raw food diet)
• recommend eating foods only in particular combinations based on your genetic type or blood group
• suggest being overweight is related to a food allergy or yeast infectionrecommend ‘detoxing’ or avoiding foods in certain combinations such as fruit with meals
• offer no supporting evidence apart from a celebrity with personal success story to tell
• are based on claims that we can survive without food or having liquid meals only
• focus only on your appearance rather than on health benefits • are selling you products or supplements
• recommend eating non-food items such as cotton wool • recommendations based on a single study
• the same diet recommended for everyone without accounting for specific needs
• based on a ‘secret’ that doctors are yet to discover

Remember, if it sound too good to be true – it probably is!

Who knows what?
Don’t be fooled by the fact that many beautiful celebrities are allegedly following some of these weird and bizarre regimens. They can often afford to have personal trainers, beauticians, stylists and chefs and their photos are almost always ‘airbrushed’ to give you the impression of a perfect body that doesn’t exist in reality. Many people claim to be experts in nutrition yet have limited knowledge and offer no protection to the public.You should be wary of unqualified practitioners who may be offering unproven techniques to diagnose and treat nutritional problems.

Be suspicious of the following:
• iridology
• kinesiology
• craniosacral therapy
• hair mineral analysis
• face reading
• tongue reading
• colonic irrigation
• magnetic therapy

Fad-diets can be tempting as they offer a quick-fix to a long-term problem. However, they can risk your health and you should only follow advice from a doctor, dietrician or nutritionist. The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to make healthier choices, eat a nutritionally balanced and varied diet with appropriately sized portions, and be physically active.