How to Detect A Bad Fad Diet

fad diet

Many overweight people try to lose weight quickly by using the popular or fad diets. Unfortunately, most of those diets do not help, and some of them may actually be harmful. The typical characteristics of the bad fad diets are as follows:

1. They promote instant weight loss. This is the main reason why many overweight people try this popular diet.

2. The food selections is limited and specific rituals are dictated, such as eating only certain type of fruit or vegetable or forbid them to eat the certain type of nutrient.

3. They use testimonials from famous people or tie the diet to famous cities.

4. They claim their methods are suitable for everyone, despite of the obesity type or physical and psychological conditions of the individual.

5. The expensive supplements are often recommended.

6. They don’t encourage to change eating habits permanently. Usually the Dieters follow the diet until the desired weight is reached and then revert to old eating habits.

7. Generally they are critical of and skeptical about the scientific community.

8 . They claim that there is no need to exercise.

Actually the initial weight loss from bad fad diets mostly results from water loss and lean muscle mass depletion, not the fat. With a very limited food selection the dieters cannot follow the diet in the long time and as soon as they stop dieting, most of the lost weight is back and gain even more. This vicious cycle of the gain and loss weight from a fad bad diet is called “yo-yo” dieting. It might lead to obesity, psychological stress and eating disorder that need professional help. Unfortunately, many people are spending more time and money on “quick fixes” rather than on professional help.

A good diet should include control of calorie intake, regular physical activity and behavior modification to change poor eating habits to a healthier one. In long term studies, the low-fat, high-fiber diet have been the most successful approaches. Hard work and commitment are needed for a successful diet because there is no fast-track to cure overweight. A healthy weight loss is about a pound a week from the average 500 calories reduction per day. Weight monitoring is important, because it’s easier to lose 1 kg rather than 10 kg. The overweight condition should be prevented from the beginning.


Wardlaw, G.M., Smith, A. M., Lindeman, A. K. 2012. Contemporary Nutrition: A Functional Approach 2nd edition. McGraw-Hill, New York.