100% Fad Free: National Nutrition Month®

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Greetings all. March is National Nutrition Month® and this year (and forever) the American Dietetic Association (ADA) is urging the public to go "100% Fad Free". Sounds reasonable right, steer clear of fad diets and other nutrition quackery. But that's not always easy since we tend to be a gullible species. Our teenagers are especially vulnerable. We and they just really want to believe there is a magic pill out there that will heal us and make us skinny (or muscular if that's what you're after). Aw, if only that were true.

What exactly is a fad anyway? ADA defines “food fads” as “unreasonable or exaggerated beliefs that eating (or not eating) specific foods, nutrient supplements or combinations of certain foods may cure disease, convey special health benefits or offer quick weight loss.”

“The reality is, no ‘super food’ or diet approach can reverse weight gain resulting from overeating and inactivity. And because most fad diets don’t teach new eating habits and many require you to give up your favorite foods, people usually don’t stick with them,” says Dee Sandquist, a fellow dietitian and Spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. She offers the following tips to help evaluate a new product, diet or recommendation:

* If it sounds too good to be true, it is – especially if the diet or product offers a “quick fix.”
* Avoid products offering a guaranteed cure or which promote “limited-time offers.”
* Watch out for products that describe certain foods as “good” or “bad.”
* Is the source of the information – such as a book author – also trying to sell a product, like supplements?
* Fad diets may require you to avoid foods or entire food groups. “Countless reputable studies over many years have shown balance and variety are needed for good health. Any diet that requires you to give up whole categories of foods and to take supplements to replace their nutrients is, by definition, unbalanced,” Sandquist says.

Go Dee!

I encourage you to share these tips with your teens and your other children if you find they are already starting to buy into some of the nutrition quackery out there. As adults we're supposed to know better and often we don't. Let's start our kids off right and get them educated about this kind of deception.

Thanx for listening. I'll have more on "100% Fad Free" and National Nutrition Month® in the next coming weeks.

Thank you to ADA for providing the content of this post.

Have a fruit and veggie filled, fad free day!
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About the Author

Registered dietitian Andrea N. Giancoli is a nutrition advocate, consultant and educator.

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