Fad Diets: Ins & Outs

There’s a new diet created every few years, each claiming to be a foolproof way to lose weight. As we all know, these diets RARELY work and cause more harm than good. What makes a diet more successful than another, and why haven’t we discovered the best way to lose weight? We’re here to discuss what makes a fad diet and why they don’t work.


What Makes it a Fad Diet?

A fad diet is a diet that becomes popular for a short period, typically a few years or so. Most fad diets claim to be a “one-size-fits-all” diet that can guarantee quick and easy weight loss. Here are the characteristics of a fad diet


  • Promotes weight loss FAST
  • Sounds TOO good to be true
  • Based on very little scientific evidence (if any at all), it typically references one study only and isn’t endorsed by any health professionals
  • Extremely low calorie (under 1000 calories a day)
  • Requires unnaturally high intakes of a specific mineral, nutrient, or supplement
  • Classifies foods as “good” or “bad”
  • Difficult to sustain in the long term
  • Tend to have a time frame (ex. Saying to follow a strict diet for six weeks and then go back to eating regularly)
  • Has unusual rules around eating certain foods in a certain order and at certain times (ex. Only being able to eat between 11 am and 6 pm)


Famous Fad Diets

It’s surprising how many mainstream diets we know of are fad diets! See if you recognize any of these fad diets:


  • Keto Diet
  • Atkins
  • Paleo Diet
  • Raw Food Diet
  • Cleanse Diets
  • Elimination Diets (when not used in a medical setting)
  • Alkaline Diet
  • HCG Diet
  • Dukan Diet
  • Sacred Heart Diet
  • Macrobiotic Diet
  • Scarsdale Diet
  • GM Diet


Why They Don’t Work

Weight loss works both ways. If you lose 10 pounds in one week, you are likely to gain it all back (and more) the next week. This fluctuation is what keeps fad diets popular. You tend to blame yourself for the rebound weight gain, instead of the diet. Your body is constantly trying to sustain itself. When you try a restrictive diet, for example having only 1000 calories a day, your body becomes accustomed to the low energy intake and learns how to function on so few calories. The initial “shred” of weight is your body becoming used to the change in energy levels. The biggest reason why these diets don’t last is that they are not sustainable. Trying to live the rest of your life eating only 1000 calories a day is not only unrealistically difficult but also impossible to incorporate into a healthy life. These diets may work occasionally, but only for a short period.


What Diets Do Work?

There is no one-size-fits-all diet. Each body runs a little differently and responds differently to certain foods. The most successful diets are ones that are tailored to your own body and lifestyle. Here at G-Plans, we help our clients find out what actually works for their body and take the time to help them incorporate it into their lifestyle to create a sustainable and healthy diet they can stick with.


Fad diets can be tempting, but it’s important to remember that quick fixes are often too good to be true. To create lasting change, it must be achieved slowly and healthily!


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