Avoiding “Fad Diets”

Avoiding “Fad Diets”

To begin, you may be wondering. “What is a fad diet?”  The Cleveland Clinic defines this as a diet that cuts out foods that contain necessary nutrients or even completely eliminating a whole food group. Some examples of these are the promotion of fat-free, very low-carbohydrate, or high-protein styles of eating. Other fad diets may encourage you to focus on only eating one certain food such as cabbage or celery.

New diets and approaches to losing weight have become popular in mainstream media, with many of these diets becoming trendy and revamping the way Americans approach their eating habits. However, these “fad diets” may be misleading, forcing us to believe we are starting to live healthier lifestyles, when in fact, the large majority of these diets have been proven to be ineffective in providing any long-term benefits to our bodies, and in some cases, could even resulting in unwanted weight gain.

These “fad diets,” called such because they become popular as a result of a bestselling book or heavy social media presence, having little evidence to support their claims of helping people to live healthier lifestyles. A fad diet promises quick weight loss, and while this could work, they are typically crash diets and involve an unhealthy, unbalanced eating plan. Although fad diets have been proven not to work on multiple occasions, people still have faith in quick fixes. In fact, according to The Boston Medical Center, about 45 million Americans start a new diet annually, with 50% of these people utilizing some form of a fad diet. The same study estimates that despite the use of fad dieting, about 66% of the United States population, close to 200 million people, is still defined as overweight or obese.


In recent times, the blood-type diet and the paleo diet have gained traction within the United States. The blood-type diet is its simplest form, suggests that each blood type reacts differently to certain food groups, and by eating in coordination with your blood-type can result in a healthier diet and eventual weight loss. Part of this diet includes avoiding specific food groups and ingredients, while focusing extensively on other foods that, given your blood type, can increase nutrition and vitamin intake. While studies have been conducted to examine the merit of these claims, one experiment in particular scientifically proved the blood-type diet does not result in weight loss. More specifically, these researchers determined that eating well and restricting fattier foods, in general, will result in weight loss and blood-type is independent of this result. In fact, while researchers have had a difficult time proving this, an outstanding theory is that blood-type diets may even interfere with the treatment of blood-related diseases, in particular, diabetes.

In addition to the blood-type diet, the paleo fad diet has been clinically proven to be ineffective and potentially dangerous. The paleo diet is a dietary plan based on foods similar to what was likely eaten during the pre-historic Paleolithic era. A paleo diet typically includes lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds — foods that in the past could be obtained by hunting and gathering. According to a study from the University of Melbourne, the university determined through an experiment that the paleo diet can actually lead to weight gain, especially for people that live relatively inactive lifestyles. The result of the experiment actually leads to increased body mass index, while levels of fat actually doubled. Researchers also went so far as to say fad diets more broadly do not work and have been scientifically disproves as effective.

There are many healthy ways to maintain your weight that do not include fad diets. Eating whole, healthy foods and fats in modesty when your body is most active is an excellent approach to healthier eating and losing weight. Add on a few hours a week at the gym and our bodies will become healthier.

It is important to always consult a doctor or physician before beginning a new diet or finding proper ways to lose weight. Schedule an appointment at Farmingdale Physical Therapy West and learn about our weight loss services.