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Spotting the Fad Diet

Gazelle Nutrition Lab / Blog  / Spotting the Fad Diet

Spotting the Fad Diet

New finds in the world of nutrition are seemingly never-ending.


With the rise of social media and easy access to information online, it is often difficult to discern between credible nutrition info and pseudo-science. If Kim Kardashian follows a particular diet it must be good right? Hmm, not so fast…


How do you know if so-called miracle diets can be trusted? These diets are referred to as fad diets because they are a short-lived craze, are talked about often online, and make big promises.


In part one of our two-part series on fad diets, we break down what a fad diet is and how to spot one.


What is a Fad Diet?


A fad diet is a diet that promises fast weight loss through restriction of certain foods or food groups. Oftentimes these kinds of diets promise weight loss and fat loss without exercise and often encourage incredibly unbalanced diets. They are packaged and promoted with “sciency” sounding claims by people who look like they know what they are talking about. So when you aren’t nutrition expert, how can you spot a fad diet?


How do I Spot a Fad Diet?


Spotting a fad diet is easy if you watch for red flags. Here is a list of the most common markers of these kinds of diets.

1. Calories:

The diet requires that you drastically reduce your calories. Avoid diets that promote calorie levels lower than 800 calories daily.

2. Overly Rigid:

The diet is very rigid and does not fit into your lifestyle and health goals. If it’s not sustainable what’s the point?

3. Promotes Rapid Weight Loss:

Health providers recommend a gradual weight loss of 1-2 pounds weekly to promote adherence to new diet patterns and to improve success.

4. No Exercise Necessary:

Those who successfully shed pounds, and maintain weight loss, exercise religiously. Simple.

5. Miracle Pills and Potions:

The diet requires that you use pills, powders, or herbs. Laxatives, diuretics, and even ephedra have been promoted by popular diets in the past. Nothing will “make your fat melt away”. Avoid these pills and potions and stick to doctor and dietitian recommended treatments.

6. Food Category Elimination:

The diet requires you to eliminate food categories like fat, gluten, or carbs. It is never a good idea to cut out a large component of your usual diet. When you avoid large amounts of food you are prone to nutrient deficiencies and eating is less enjoyable.

7. Meal Replacements:

When the diet calls on you to use their meal replacement drinks or food bars this should make you scratch your head. It is lucrative for companies to promote dependence on their products. Do you really want to be taking advice from someone who stands to financially benefit from their diet recommendations?

With these markers in mind, spotting a fad diet should be much easier. In a nutshell, quick weight loss diets are not healthy, and the weight is likely to rebound when you begin eating normally again. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! More information about choosing a healthy weight loss program can be found here.

Nutritional planning is integral to achieve your optimal athletic performance. Gazelle Nutrition Lab delivers one on one or group nutritional counselling and consulting to both recreational and high-performance athletes. Also, the Food For Thought Blog is a free resource for healthy recipes and health tips. Have questions? We’d love to hear from you! Get in touch!

Reuby Staviss

Reuby is currently a Health Studies student at Queen’s University. She has always had a passion for sports and nutrition and hopes to pursue a Masters degree in Sports Dietetics. She has always been interested in the human body and how to properly fuel it to keep up with athletic lifestyles and for that reason she is so happy to be working and learning with Ashley.

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