Let’s get one thing’s straight right away: there is no “secret formula” to safe and healthy weight loss. Just ask a registered dietitian or a qualified nutritional therapist and you’ll probably get the same answers. However, there are so many fad diets and false claims nowadays that the public doesn’t know who or what to believe. If you’re trying to lose weight, the best way to go about it is proper diet and exercise, ideally with the help of a nutrition professional. And if you want to lose weight safely and effectively, avoid fad diets.
Fad diets often possess some, if not all, of these characteristics:
1. Exclusion and severe restriction
Most fad diets are designed to cut out a nutrient or an entire food group, such as fat or carbohydrates. If you are of generally good health, you don’t need to cut out nutrients. In fact, cutting out nutrients can lead you to become unhealthy. People who have specific conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, are the only ones who can exclude or severely restrict a particular nutrient or food group. So if a diet advises you to severely cut down or eliminate carbs, fat, or protein, it’s likely not good for you.
2. Promises and guarantees
Fad diets will typically promise you a quick fix or will guarantee you ‘X pounds lost in X days.’ Not only are these claims dangerous, but they can mislead people to wrong ideas about weight loss.
A safe range for weight loss for an adult is 1-2 pounds per week, but bigger people may lose more weight than that. Nevertheless, losing an extreme amount of weight for only a short amount of time is not safe nor sustainable.
3. Poor research
Fad diets are often poorly researched and make claims that are not backed by enough scientific evidence. Hence, don’t believe everything you see on diet websites. Do your own research from reputable sites, or better yet, ask a medical professional.
Usually, fad diets are marketed with superfoods or products that are meant to help you lose weight. While foods like avocados, kale, and chia seeds can aid you in losing weight, they can’t magically transform your body. Therefore, avoid focusing on these “superfoods” and instead eat a well-rounded diet with complete nutrients.
5. Too good to be true
Avoid a certain diet plan if it sounds too good to be true. Stick to the proper methods of weight loss and ignore the fad diets being marketed to you.
If the diet plan is only suggested for a certain number of days or weeks, it’s a fad diet. Proper weight loss can span for months or years and should come with nutrition education so that the client can sustain the weight loss on their own.
It’s easy to spot a fad diet, but not everyone knows the difference between proper nutrition and a fad. Therefore, if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s best to consult a professional for proper guidance.