The Facts about Fad Diets

blue tape measuring on clear glass square weighing scale

blue tape measuring on clear glass square weighing scale
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We’ve all been there (yes, us too) – when the summer rolls around or your pants start fitting tighter, the temptations of a “quick-fix” diet for weight loss are hard to turn down. You know the diets we’re talking about – the 30-day detox cleanses, the diets that exclude or minimize whole macronutrient groups, the “quick-fix” diets that guarantee a certain amount of weight loss in a short amount of time, or the pills & drinks that promise fat loss and gut benefits in 7 days… We have all considered them, no judgement here – but we recommend skipping over these “diets” when it comes to your weight loss goals. In order to safely and naturally lose weight and maintain weight loss over time, your personalized nutrition plan should be a lifestyle change, not a “diet” that only lasts a certain number of days.

A healthy weight loss is about ½ to 2 pounds per week. Even a weight loss of 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can offer you benefits of less joint pain, enhanced sleep patterns, improved blood pressure and cholesterol, and lowered blood sugar levels. People who lose weight gradually and steadily are more apt to keep it off in the long-term. Yes, you may lose 15# in 1 month on a fad diet, but chances are you will eventually gain it back when you stop the diet – then all you are left with is memories of restrictive eating and few long-term benefits to show for it. You may have gained some healthy recipes and the realization that your body feels better without being fed so many processed foods, but this can also be achieved without going “all-in” on a fad diet. 

Excluding whole macronutrient groups – for example carbohydrates, from your meals can cause altered body functions and high lipid levels, stress out your organs, and leave you feeling tired and worn down. Carbs give your brain and muscles energy to fuel you throughout the day – do not exclude them from your diet! We recommend eating carbs in healthy amounts and choosing the types of carbs you eat wisely – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and low-fat dairy all contain carbohydrates and have different health benefits. It is important to vary up your diet in order to get all the different nutrients your body needs to function to the best of its ability!

If you MUST follow a certain “diet”, we recommend researching the Mediterranean diet. This diet emphasizes mainly fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grains, fish, olive oil, and red wine for health benefits. The Mediterranean lifestyle stresses the importance of physical exercise and the social benefits of eating meals together. You can read more about the Mediterranean diet here:

A healthy lifestyle includes good nutrition coupled with physical activity and exercise. It is no wonder people lose weight initially on some of these low-calorie, fad diets because most of the diets also call for an exercise regimen. If you expect to lose a lot of weight quickly with diet alone, you are in for a disappointment. We recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week (see our blog post on exercise: Getting enough sleep and finding ways to manage your stress level are also keys to successful weight loss. Losing weight is not easy, but it is doable. We advise recruiting a friend to join you on this weight loss/healthier lifestyle journey – it is easier when you have someone keeping you accountable and sharing their health struggles and wins alongside you.

It’s important to find a way of eating healthfully that you enjoy and can follow for life. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Stay away! For a personalized weight loss plan that meets your individualized needs, consult a registered dietitian nutritionist. Contact us today to set up an appointment to get you on track to a healthier lifestyle through proper nutrition and real food – no “diet” necessary.

photo of vegetable salad in bowls
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