A fad diet is a way of eating which is believed to reduce weight which is “fashionable” at the moment.  Normally, fad diets are marketed as “rapid weight loss” and have community element built in.

The shocking truth Fad diets do indeed work for some people, giving a rapid loss of weight.  Many have a cost involved or require expensive foods/ supplements or program specific foods to be purchased, this can be expensive. The truth is, many of these diets are so restrictive that nutrient deficiencies are likely which will have a knock-on effect on health.

Why would you choose to try a ‘fad diets’?

Everyone is trying to be something these days. There is a lot of pressure on women, men and adolescents (both girls and boys) to meet the Hollywood image.  Poor eating patterns (usually established in childhood) are hard to break once you reach adulthood.  Our sedentary lifestyle also makes weight gain easier, but weight loss not so. A lot of people want to be part of a tribe, copying friends and family members to fit in.  My people have lost contact with their inner guidance system- which is screaming – just be you, you are enough. I’ll talk more about this again.

Everyone wants a magic bullet – a no effort solution.

Fad diets are marketed as “get slim quick fix”.  Humans a lazy.  Using before and after pictures of “real life weight loss,” it is easy to get sucked into the claims.  The fact that short-term weight loss is portrayed easy to attain makes the diets very attractive.  However, many of the weight loss and the meal plans advocated are not sustainable.

To be healthy, happy humans, we need a variety of foods to obtain all the macro and micronutrients the body needs to function.  No one food or nutrient causes obesity.  However, many fad diets do actually advocate exclusion, of total food groups, of particular foods, or food.

Many fad diets appear to work because people have had really unhealthy diets and go on to exclude process food and actually start eating real food.  The fad diet incorporates part bullshit, with eating more fruit and veggies.  The eating more fruit and veggies and less crap part isn’t new and you do not need to pay overhand and fist to do this – government guidelines have been pointing us in this direction for years (but who listens to them, or the scientists who do that research right?

One thing a lot of these diets have is a “miracle component” such as grapefruit, however many are in fact very low-calorie diets (VLCD) in disguise.  Research has shown that yes VLCD do work, however, they should only be carried out under the supervision of a medical professional.  All these “diets” assume you are well, have no diabetes or other medical conditions.

When selecting a certain weight loss plan to try, the top 3 things you should be wary of

  • Claims such as may and can cause weight loss.
  • Many “products for sale to “supplement “ or improve your health and accelerate your metabolism.
  • Plans where you have to completely cut out food groups or foods – your body needs a range of nutrients from a diverse range of sources.

The 3 worst “fad diets” I have come across – truth!

Just a note, I am no way advocating these- I want to highlight how scary some of the information is that you can find out there.

Cabbage soup: restrictive nutrient wise and very low calorie, side effects… flatulence – will stink- truth.

Potato diet:  1-2 kg 3 to 4 days per week and healthy eating alternate days. No snacks, or breakfast, just boring bland potatoes twice per day.  Restrictive from a calorie point of view.

Cookie diet: Very low-calorie diet where you consume less than 600kcal daily usually through “cookies” “muffins” or other product which marketers want you to pay for.  You don’t eat any “real” food.  Limited micro and macronutrient intake.  Could be problematic for those with diabetes, thyroid conditions.  This is not a safe approach to eating.

Cotton wool diet: this is basically ingesting cotton wool to curb hunger, then eat one small meal a day.  This is DISORDERED EATING.  And NOT SAFE.  If you or a family member are considering this, let me give you a gentle nudge.  It is time to see your GP or another medical advisor that you trust.  Visiting your medical advisor is safe, they will not judge you and they will listen to you to find out what you need.

What is the best way to lose weight or become healthier?

If you have never read the healthy eating guidelines that are a good place to start,  Basically, if you have been eating a diet full of highly processed food, you should be trying to exchange these for fresh produce, meat, and fish.  Managing portion size is also important, there are some fantastic resources at www.eatforhealth.gov.au.

A regular exercise regimen will help weight loss too – plus the release of adrenaline and endorphins (happy chemicals) will make you feel better as you do it too.  A 30-minute walk every day is enough to start forming a healthy habit – especially if you have been more sedentary to date.

Aside from eating correctly and exercising your frame of mind is also important for weight loss and becoming healthier. Many of us have the “want” to change but do not really have the motivation, willpower or if we are honest the desire to change… just yet. So where you are on the “readiness to change scale”  is an important factor to consider before implementing any changes.

A holistic approach is a best-incorporating mind, food, and exercise, however,  if you have any medical conditions I would strongly suggest speaking to your GP before you undertake any major change to your diet or exercise regimen.  And of course to a suitably qualified nutritionist or dietician for tailored dietary guidance and support.