How to Spot a Fad Diet

corporate health & wellbeing diet fad worklife Jan 01, 2023

Many of us are all too familiar with being sold empty promises about diets that are going to help us lose weight or magically fix all our health ailments. They may claim to have the “secret” to weight-loss, an “easy fix” to your problems, or are being promoted by a popular influencer or celebrity claiming to “feel the best they have in years!”

Testimonials can be so convincing that you certainly wouldn’t be alone if you have been sold on these claims! Unfortunately, there’s often have little to no scientific evidence behind fad diets and they can actually be harmful to your health.

Here are our top 5 tips to help you spot a fad diet

  1. Cuts out certain foods or entire food groups

Lately, carbs are demonised in fad diets. Carbs have been given a bad rap and are labelled as the culprit to weight gain. However, carbs, and in particular complex carbs, provide us with many nutrients that our body needs! Cutting out carbs can increase our risk of nutrient deficiencies and decrease our overall fibre intake.

  1.  Highly restrictive rules around eating

In addition to cutting out certain food groups, some fad diets claim there are certain times where eating is off-limits. Not only is it difficult to maintain a highly restrictive eating pattern, it is difficult to sustain a diet with inadequate nutrients! Such a diet can also lead to symptoms like constipation, fatigue, and weakness.

  1.  Makes claims that are too good to be true

If something is too good to be true (like losing 15kg in a month) then it more often than not is not true. We get it – new diets and quick solutions sound a lot more appealing than something that is going to take longer to achieve. But if something is not going to be sustainable, you are better off not trying it in the first place.

  1.  Promoted by an influencer/celebrity

Fad diets are often promoted by influencers and/or celebrities, which is how it can become trendy in the first place. Testimonials from influencers and/or celebrities will include all sorts of claims based on personal experience – but of course, no scientific evidence!

  1.  Costs money to join

There is often a lot of marketing behind fad diets and a cost for you to join it. This is a tell-tale sign to be aware of!


Below are some common fad diets:

  • Ketogenic: Virtually eliminates all carbs and focuses on high fat foods as well as protein.
  • Carnivore: Eat only animal products while cutting out all plant-derived foods.
  • Paleo: Eat only minimally processed “paleolithic” foods, with the premise of eating like our ancestors did.
  • Intermittent Fasting: Involves different patterns of restricting your eating period over the day or week


The bottom line

Fad diets are trendy diets with no solid evidence behind them. Instead of following a fad diet, a balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts / seeds, healthy fats, and lean protein sources will provide you will all the minerals, vitamins, fibre, and other important nutrients that your body needs to keep you healthy as well as help you maintain a healthy weight. To optimise your health and well-being, focus on including these nutrient-dense foods, reducing nutrient-poor foods, staying hydrated and aiming for 30-minutes or more of exercise a day. In the long-term, this will be a more sustainable and healthier approach than jumping from one diet to the next!


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