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Are Fad Diets Worth Their Weight?

Fad diet

Fad diets often encourage short-term changes in eating behaviour rather than encouraging healthy changes that can be sustained.

By Tim Crowe

Fad diets continue to attract public attention with their promises of quick and easy weight loss, but the truth is that these diets are just a large serving size of smoke and mirrors.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

How many times have you read and heard that diets don’t work? Yet this one simple statement has stood the test of time. At any time, a large proportion of the population is on some form of diet, yet waistlines are still expanding.

With new fad diets emerging all the time, it is time to tackle just what makes a diet a “fad”, examine the downsides to jumping on the latest bandwagon and finally ask: if fad diets don’t work, what does?

How to Spot a Fad Diet

The definition of a fad diet is very subjective. Perhaps the simplest definition of a fad diet is a weight loss diet that becomes very popular quickly, and then falls out of favour just as quickly. Looking at the scope of a whole range of fad diets, including such classics as The Atkins Diet, The Cabbage Soup Diet and The Eat Right for your Blood Type Diet, key themes appear that make them a fad rather than a sensible weight loss program. A checklist for a fad diet includes:

  • promises quick, dramatic or miraculous results;
  • bans or severely restricts specific foods or food groups (carbohydrates are the usual favourite);
  • focuses on short-term changes to eating and exercise habits;
  • has rigid rules that need to be followed;
  • encourages miracle pills, potions and supplements; and
  • makes claims based on a single study or individual testimonials...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.