• Chelssie Li

Fad Diets & Why they don’t work - Weight Management 2/3

Written by Clara Wangsahardja, Provisional APD

Hello again! Welcome back to another weight management series.

In part 1, we discussed the true meaning of diet and how it's a habitual change -- check it out here if you haven't!

Are you tired of trying different fad diets and yo-yo dieting, only to go back to your old weight, or more? You are not alone. Around 1 in 10 Australians are on the same journey as you are!

Is there such thing as 'Perfect diet'?

Everyone is unique with our own genetic make-up, routine, preferences, and even nutritional goals. Therefore, it goes without saying that there’s no “one size fits all” diet - it’s important to acknowledge that diet should be tailored to each individual to address specific needs and preferences.

What about all the hot trend diets out there? Why are they booming?

Keto, paleo, low FODMAP, gluten-free, 'clean eating', intermittent fasting... you name it. There are so many hot diets out there! You may have tried some of them before, and they could work temporarily as you're reducing calorie intake.

It often provides instant and momentary gratification, and the way these diets are promoted makes the diet seem easy at the start - 'skip all these foods and you'll become like *insert photoshopped supermodel*, 'Only eat these 10 foods and you will shed like crazy'... or shows a video like this:

Over time, these diets are just not sustainable. Imagine eating only 10 foods for the rest of your life!

Possible health consequences are also excluded in the advertisements - for example, being on a ketogenic diet potentially means you're having more meat and fatty foods, meaning a higher intake of saturated fats, which is linked to heart disease, high cholesterol and more.

Research suggests that peer pressure and a distorted portrayal of the ideal, unrealistic body image in the media are two of the major causes of 'dieting'. These include criticisms of weight and diet and a continuous value that society puts on being thin. This sad truth has led millions of individuals around the globe to adopt a sort of ‘weight loss diet’ or another.

These are what we call 'fad' diets

Sports Dietitians of Australia’s definition of fad diet is a ‘diet that makes promises of weight loss or other health advantages without backing by solid science’. Most fad diets are of low kilojoule content with a limited variety of foods, usually eliminating certain foods or entire food groups.

As a result, they are often nutritionally inadequate. Some may also have unpleasant side effects including constipation, nausea and bloating.

Simply put. It’s fad, not fact . It’s. Not. Nourishing.


How can I identify fad diets?

  1. Fad, not fact

  2. Abandon certain foods

  3. Dramatic results

In summary, fad diets are generally unsupported by scientific evidence, limit the variety of foods or food groups and promise quick, dramatic results. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

What can I do if I want to lose weight then?

The best diet you can adopt to help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight is one you can stick with in the long term. As we discussed habit change in my previous blog, amending your usual eating habits might seem small but it’s more sustainable! It takes time, but it’s definitely worth the try :)


Stay tuned for more practical tips on my next blog!

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