What popular fad diets are safe? How to tell if your weight-loss plan is too good to be true

  • 2 Minutes Read
Joanna Kriehn
Joanna Kriehn, MS, RDN, CDCES - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES)

Many people gravitate towards popular fad diets to lose weight quickly or improve their health. Our dietitian-recommended tips will help you evaluate weight-loss plans to find one that ensures you stay healthy and avoid scams while losing weight.

Popular fad diets

Steer clear of popular fad diets that promote rapid weight loss

Weight-loss diets claiming you can lose weight quickly, such as 12 pounds in a week, are too good to be true. Nutrition experts such as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommend a realistic, achievable, and sustainable weight loss of 10% within six months, with an average weight loss of one to two pounds per week (or 0.45-.90 kg per week). Losing too much weight too quickly can mean losing a lot of water weight and lean muscle mass instead of body fat.

Healthy eating shouldn't require you to cut out entire food groups

Many people lose weight right away when they eliminate entire food groups from their weekly routine. However, following such a strict plan often backfires leading to frustration and weight regain. While cutting out entire food groups may help you avoid tempting foods, it is not the key to a healthy relationship with food. In addition, it does not allow you to build the habits needed to lose weight and keep it off for good.

Avoid plans that emphasize strict rules

Weight-loss plans that include strict guidelines such as "don't eat after 7:00 PM" or "avoid all cooked foods" can sound appealing when considering all the prep and cooking time. It may also seem satisfying to simplify your eating by following predetermined food rules. However, you'll build a foundation for lasting change within a healthy lifestyle that includes flexibility. Eating plans that allow for enjoying special occasion foods and eating out are more reasonable than following a strict diet resulting in quick weight loss.

Be cautious of special powders and supplements for weight loss

There is a lot of money to be made in the weight-loss industry selling powders and pills that claim to increase fat-burning, improve energy, and speed up weight loss. Some popular fad diets revolve around such products alone. Unfortunately, the FDA does not regulate dietary supplements, so do your research and talk with your doctor before starting on a weight-loss supplement. In some cases, supplements have shown adverse side effects or interfered with prescription medications. This resource helps you know what to look for when researching dietary supplements.

Where's the evidence?

When evaluating popular fad diets, ensure you receive high-quality, researched, and reviewed information. Regarding food and nutrition research, such reputable controlled studies may be lacking or feature small sample sizes.

Check to see if people or animals were included in the research studies. Also, find out if the results were "statistically significant"-meaning they didn't happen just by chance. Ultimately, if the claims sound too good to be true, they probably are.

Where to find reputable nutrition and health information

These governmental agencies offer trustworthy guidelines to help you build a reasonable weight-loss plan that works for you.

Guidance from a nutrition professional

Invest in yourself and your health by scheduling an in-person or virtual session with a registered dietitian. Board-certified nutrition professionals can answer your specific questions about popular fad diets and help you build an eating plan that fits your food preferences, lifestyle, and health goals. To find a dietitian in your area, click here.

A healthy lifestyle is around the corner, but don't count on quick fixes

It's no secret that the key to lasting weight loss and improved health is through consistently following a healthy lifestyle. Weight loss happens when you create a negative energy balance by eating smaller portions and increasing your daily activity.

Calorie counting with apps like MyNetDiary can help you understand your daily energy consumption and expenditure. It will suggest an appropriate calorie budget for weight loss and maintenance based on your age, sex, and activity level. Safe, personalized guidance will have the most rewarding and long-lasting results, now that's a guarantee!

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Weight Loss->Diets
Feb 28, 2022

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