We’ve all heard of fad diets.
Do they work? And can you lose weight by going on a fad diet?
Fad diets explained
A fad diet is a popular diet that makes promises of weight loss or other health advantages without backing by solid science.
Fad diets are often highly restrictive. In some cases, they eliminate whole foods such as dairy or grains. They often consist of unusual, expensive and unnecessary food products and ingredients.
Essentially, they deprive you of the essential nutrients that only balanced eating can offer.
You may be looking for a fast way to lose weight and look to a fad diet to solve your problems. Although these diets may provide short-term results, they’re difficult to sustain over the long term.
Any weight you initially lost may be put back on. Some dieters end up in a worse position than when they started.
How can you spot a fad diet?
Typically, a fad diet shares some, or all, of the following characteristics:
- Promises a quick fix
- Promotes ‘magic’ foods or combinations of foods
- Implies that food can change body chemistry
- Excludes or severely restricts food groups or nutrients, such as carbohydrates
- Has rigid rules that focus on weight loss
- Makes claims based on a single study or testimonials only.
Examples of some common fad diets
Focusing on eating lots of fresh produce and having minimal amounts of sugar and salt in your food – like our ancestors did – has numerous positive health benefits.
However, removing dairy products and wholegrains is not recommended for a well-balanced diet.
This diet requires a lot of time and preparation of unprocessed plant-based food and some raw animal products, and it can be hard to get adequate energy.
However, adding raw foods to your regular diet is a great way to boost health, like having salad with your dinner.
A flexitarian predominantly eats a plant-based diet, but occasionally eats meat when the urge strikes.
There’s no need to cut out meat to be healthy, so if a flexitarian diet sounds appealing, build your meals around vegetarian protein sources (legumes, beans and eggs), vegetables and wholegrains, and enjoy meat on the weekend.
Sometimes you need a special diet
Of course, some medical conditions do require special eating plans. In these instances, any recommendations from your Pascoe Vale doctor should be followed.
Fad diets can cause health problems
Because they often cut out key foods, fad diets may cause the following symptoms:
- Weakness and fatigue
- Nausea and headaches
- Inadequate vitamin and mineral intake.
Fad diets may be unsafe over the long term, and could even lead to an increased risk of various diseases.
So, what should you do?
Try to avoid fad diets.
You can achieve and maintain a healthy body weight by having a balanced diet, and you won’t have to cut out any foods because you can eat everything – in moderation.
If you’re not sure what moderation means or you need any help with diet, nutrition or just food in general, please reach out to us. Our team of experienced doctors and in-house dietitian, Jessica Fuller, can help you.
Remember to combine a balanced diet with regular physical activity too. Our exercise physiologist, Mike Fitzsimon, can help you get active and live life to the fullest!