Although it is difficult to ascertain what constitutes a “fad diet”, there are certain shall we say… qualities that come to mind when thinking of a fads. Oh sure, they ALL claim to be a “way of life”, but often they are trying to either start or capitalize on an existing trend.
So here are 7 indications that the diet book you saw gracing the shelves of your local bookstore may be unworthy of your hard-earned dollar.
- Promises quick weight loss
Almost all of them do – this is unrealistic at best and dangerous at worse.
- Advocates centering the diet on one particular food
Eg. grapefruit, peanut butter, coconut diets. Whether or not you eat these foods has no bearing on your weight and health.
- Doesn’t insist on exercise
Surprising how many of them don’t – this is the cornerstone of continued fat loss and maintenance of weight, period. Beware of even those that undermine the importance of exercise.
- Offers a simplistic explanation to the complex problem of obesity
Again, many “gurus” try and convince us that we are fat for a singular reason – this gives them an “angle” at which to sell us with. Whether it is carbs, an absence or abundance of a certain hormone, toxins – obesity is multifaceted.
- Claims “proof” without properly conducted, peer reviewed research
Too many to list here, too. Fad diet authors more than likely skip over that little detail of evidence.
- Lists “forbidden” foods
I’m not completely opposed to this, provided there in some sort of scientifically-based rationale ie. Trans fat-containing foods.
- Discourages eating certain foods in combination
Eg. Fit for Life – this concept is about as scientific as a horoscope. The rationale is so absurd it should make anybody who has taken grade 11 biology cringe.
Diet fads are as much about consumer buying habits as particular nutritional advice. Even advice that proves useful for some individuals – can be turned into a fad by others. Both Atkins and Ornish have been used successfully by some individuals. However in the quest for quick weight loss both diets have – at times – become fads.