How to Spot a Fad Diet

Here are some signs that your diet may be more about empty promises than real results:
  • Severely cuts calories. Starvation-type diets may show quick results on the scale but oftentimes they are short-lived and the numbers aren’t telling the whole story. It is nearly impossible for a healthy, normally active person to lose more than 2-3 pounds per week of actual fat. The body’s response to a very low calorie diet is to shed water.
  • Directions to eat only specific foods. For health, we need a combination of food to get the nutrition we need and for a plan to work long-term it needs to be realistic and not overly restrictive.
  • Requires special pills, powders, drinks. These products will cut the size of your wallet more than anything else. Oftentimes these products contain laxatives, diuretics, or caffeine. Just like starvation-like diets, these products result in loss of water, not fat. For most diet supplements, there’s no reliable scientific research to back up the claims that they make. Another red flag, is that you can only take the products that a certain company sells.
  • Completely cuts out certain food groups. All of the food groups are important for a balanced diet with adequate vitamins and minerals. Oftentimes watching portion sizes and choosing healthier foods in each food group is a better strategy for weight management and overall health.
  • Is short-lived. If there is no mention or education on long term change and it is limited to only a certain time period, usually this means it is a fad diet.

Source: Kids Health,, accessed on 04/15/2019