There are many fad diets out there. Some are easy to spot (like the cabbage soup diet!) but others can be trickier. If you see an eating plan and it includes one or many of the following characteristics, beware – it could be a fad diet.
Fad diets promise a quick fix.
Fad diets promise fast (and even super-human!) results like rapid weight loss. They may also claim to be the cure for a broad range of conditions. If a diet makes a claim that sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Fad diets eliminate specific foods or entire food groups.
Fad diets often put foods or whole food groups into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ or even ‘evil’ categories. This is a big problem, because eliminating core foods or food groups can be harmful. We’ll miss out on important nutrients and we’ll crave the foods we aren’t ‘allowed’, which can be stressful.
Fad diets have rigid rules.
It’s human nature to want step-by-step instructions for guaranteed success. But strict food rules, food combinations, and eating schedules don’t help us to reach our health goals. These rules make us feel stressed, and we often blame ourselves when we can’t stick to them. Remember, it’s not you – it’s the fad diet!
Fad diets use ‘pseudo-science’ to sound convincing.
Fad diets often borrow scientific words and misuse them to sound legitimate. ‘Detox’ is a great example – you don’t need to follow a special diet to ‘detox’, as your liver and kidneys do this for you!
Fad diets rely on personal stories or celebrity status.
What works for one person may not work for everyone. Stories from individuals – including celebrities – don’t stack up against the Australian Dietary Guidelines, which draw on thousands of studies and decades of research.
Fad diets promote unproven and expensive supplements.
Weight loss teas, online diet pills, and other untested supplements are fads too. They may claim to be natural, organic, or herbal, but this doesn’t make them safe – unregulated diet supplements can be very dangerous.