Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Fact or Fad?

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scaleThe weight loss industry makes billions and billions of dollars every year telling us that by eating only bacon and eggs, grapefruit, or cabbage, we will get the body of our dreams. Fad diets are weight loss plans that promise dramatic results. South Beach, Atkins, Zone, the Hollywood diet etc. are all common fad diets that promise that the fat will simply melt away.

The problem with fad diets is that they promote weight loss through unhealthy means and they can negatively affect health as well as athletic performance. Low carbohydrate diets like that promoted by the Atkins fail to provide athletes or recreational gym goers with this valuable fuel used by muscle during exercise. Use the tips below to help you recognize an unhealthy or fad diet.

How do you know if it is a fad diet?

  1. It doesn’t require or state physical activity is involved
  2. It emphasizes drastic eating changes/patterns rather than something that is permanent
  3. Promises dramatic weight loss by encouraging you to consume very little calories
  4. Excludes certain foods and/or food groups
  5. Unrealistic to maintain throughout life
  6. It requires you to purchase special foods or supplements that promise to melt fat
  7. It is advertised as being “easy”, a “cure”, “solve all”, “no fail”, “miracle”, or “break through”

While fad diets are often tempting to people who want to lose weight fast, they often leave people wasting money, increasing their waistlines, and increasing their health risks.

If your desire is to lose weight, make sure to talk to a registered dietitian to help you make specific and realistic goals instead of following fad diets that are potentially dangerous and only work in the short term.  Has a fad diet resulted in lasting weight loss for you…or just a yo-yo of loss and gain?

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Tags: Healthy Eating

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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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