Fad Diets: Do they work?

Published: Wednesday, March 29, 2023

With our society focusing on the idea of weight, fad diets have become a fascination in American culture. Contrary to popular belief, fad diets are typically unhealthy, not effective as a weight loss solution and don’t result in long-term weight loss. A fad diet is a “quick fix” that promises an easy and fast way to lose weight but can cause more harm than good.

How can you distinguish between a fad diet and a diet that works?

How to recognize a fad diet?

  1. A diet that promotes rapid weight loss & quick results.
    We recommend avoiding any diet that claims to help you lose more than one to two pounds per week. It takes time to let your body adjust to a diet and to lose weight. If it sounds too good to be true, chances are that it’s a fad diet.
  2. A diet that requires eliminating foods & restricting calories severely.
    Fad diets typically restrict your food choices and offer few essential nutrients. Without receiving these nutrients, you may encounter serious health problems.
  3. A diet that has rigid rules.
    Fad diets typically have rigid rules around them. If what you can or cannot eat is unrealistic and not sustainable, then it is probably a fad diet. Commonly, fad diets involve a significant financial investment. For example, purchasing prepackaged meals or pills. If a diet is trying to sell you a product, there is a high chance that it is a fad diet.
  4. A diet that offers endorsements from experts in weight loss, nutrition, or science – or even celebrities.
    The chances of these “experts” being paid to advertise the fad diet is high. Fad diets also tend to use personal testimonies as proof of effectiveness.

How to create a healthy weight loss diet

When looking for a weight loss diet, look for these three key elements:

  1. A diet that has variety.
    Eating a variety of foods from all the food groups can help ensure you get the essential nutrients you need. There are no “good” or “bad” foods in a balanced diet.
  2. A diet that emphasizes regular exercise and movement.
    Achieving your weight goals (and keeping off the weight) is easier when paired healthy eating with regular exercise. Consider taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work or parking your car farther away from the entrance of the grocery store. Small changes can have big impacts!
  3. A diet that is long-term.
    The changes you make while dieting should also be ones you can live with forever.

Learn More

To learn more about how to lose weight the right way, visit www.ngpg.org/general-surgery/bariatrics/non-surgical-weight-loss