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Fad Diets Don’t Work for Weight Loss: Just Say No

fad diets

Today’s guest post from Kathleen Edwards spotlights why fad diets don’t work for weight loss over the long term. Find out why they’re not healthy and why positive claims about them keep surfacing, in spite of the evidence.

The internet is full of fad diets, a quick fix for weight loss. These kinds of diets often come with unrealistic promises, such as “lose 15 pounds in a week” or “banish 3 inches of body fat overnight.” A whopping 62% of adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese. This statistic is likely caused by two things: not enough physical activity and too many high-fat, high-calorie foods. But fad diets don’t work for weight loss – and here’s why you ought to just say no to them.

Fad Diets vs. the Weight Management Equation

If you want to lose weight, there is a simple calculation – you need to be burning more calories than you consume. Generally, you should do so with a combination of exercise and eating less. It is also about eating the right kinds of foods.

Try to avoid junk food and highly processed foods. Stick to fresh produce, without additives. By doing this, you should be able to lose weight gradually and find it easier to keep it off. Weight loss is about an overall lifestyle change. Educate yourself on how to keep healthy so you won’t have problems in the future.

Fad Diets Don’t Work: Watch out for Companies Peddling a Product

One way to help you identify fad diets is when a food company tries to sell a weight loss or diet product. It could be that special coffee that promises “you only need one cup a day and your body fat will instantly disappear!” Or perhaps it’s those bars and shakes meant to act as a meal substitute but actually have zero nutritional value.

Juice diets and liquid diets are very common – and often have one big issue. While weight loss may occur at first, as soon as you start eating properly then the pounds go straight back on.

Often these kinds of diets are deficient in the vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function properly too. That can leave you with health problems, such as anemia.

fad diets doesnt work
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Fad Diets for Weight Loss: Too Good to Be True?

Fad diets don’t work; they generally make claims that are too good to be true. After all, if their claims were genuinely true, we would all be on this diet. Fad diets are not balanced diets.

Although you may find you have weight loss at first, it is not body fat – often it is just water weight that you have lost – this can lead to dizziness and lightheadedness. Take the cabbage diet – your body simply cannot sustain itself on cabbage.

Lack of Scientific Evidence?

Good healthy diets will be backed up by plenty of scientific evidence showing that it supports the body’s needs. It will be a diet that you can stick to, without feeling starved. It will promote healthy living, not just a quick fix.

If you are considering changing your eating plan, always consult your doctor or a good dietitian first. They will be able to help you lose weight at a sustainable pace.

Fad diets don’t work, so steer clear of them. They do not promote healthy living.

About Kathleen Edwards

Kathleen Edwards is a freelance writer and editor. She specializes in health and finance topics and loves the research process involved in her job. When not working she loves to travel with her son, music, and hiking.


Top image by Unsplash

45 thoughts on “Fad Diets Don’t Work for Weight Loss: Just Say No”

  1. I totally agree. There is no quick fix. Don’t buy into the fantasy that these fad diets sell you. Eat healthy, move healthy. Trust the methods that have stood the test of time.

  2. The problem with the popularity of these diets is that we all want the quick fix. We want the loss without the effort and still be able to eat the doughnuts. We live in a society of everything now, everything yesterday. We want our online purchases in 12 hours, we want our take away delivered in 20 minutes.

    So few of us take the time to nurture and do things slowly and that’s where a lot of this comes from. That’s the society we’ve come to know.

    The quick fix fad diet also doesn’t teach anything about making good eating choices for long term health investment. It doesn’t educate you as to why you are like you are now, where you went wrong and how you can stop it happening ever again. Companies peddling fad diets are preying on our naivity and our demand for now without the effort to take our cash. And of course it doesn’t work. And even if the fad diet does work, it doesn’t take long for the effects to wear off once we’re back to our habits.

    There is only one rule for dieting. Take in less calories than you burn. You can choose the healthy way to do it, or the fad way. but long term, only one of them is going to work.

  3. Hi Kathleen! Great post! Some years ago, I think I have tried all of those fad diets mentioned in your post including the awful cabbage diet. And as you stated – I gained most of the weight back once I stopped drinking the drink or taking the pill. I got fed up with the yo-yo dieting years ago! So, I studied and taught myself how and what to eat. As some of your commenters stated, losing weight and keeping it off is a permanent lifestyle change, not a temporary “drink this, take that” kind of thing. While there is some art and science to being on a healthy diet and losing weight, but ultimately, if you eat less calories and burn more calories (basic everyday exercise) you are going to lose some weight. Thanks again – Lyn

    1. Reading that you identified with Kathleen’s points on fad diets made my day Lyn as it means there’s a growing number of us who won’t go this unhealthy route.

  4. I’ve come to realize that healthy eating doesn’t have to be that expensive or difficult at all if you do it right. There is a group that I have mentioned in my blog post called ladyboss lifestyle and the girl who runs it give all kinds of recipes, tips, inspirational videos on how to eat healthy and most of her recipes are cheap and delicious too. I love it.

    1. It sounds like she is an inspiration! Bring on the female role models, in healthy eating and other areas :) Thanks for offering this recommendation!

  5. I have done lots of research and have found that Intermittent Fasting is very effective in getting rid of your fat and helping you lose weight. It also has an abundance of health benefits for your physical, mental, and even emotional needs. I have personally tried intermittent fasting and found it helpful. I am actually doing a series right now on intermittent fasting if anyone would like to check it out!

  6. Losing weight is hard work but approaching it in a positive way with exercise, fewer calories, and replacing processed foods with fresh produce and healthy servings of protein is not just a plan to lose weight, but a life-style change.

  7. I can vouch for fad diets not working, lol I did enough of them when I was younger. The best diet is to begin a healthy eating plan and make it a lifestyle. :)

    1. Healthy eat and exercise, all in moderation and with a doctor’s pre-approval, yes. Thanks Debby for your take on it. I’m glad you’re not into the fad diets any more.

  8. Scary stats, Kathleen and Christy! I think we can start reversing this trend by saying no to supersized meals, and actually using common sense in our food choices.

  9. Sorry Christy, I left a comment yesterday but it either went to spam or just didn’t ‘stick’, which seems to be happening too regularly lately, a WP glitch maybe.
    I’m not a fan of dieting and hate faddy diets, I’d ban them and everything they stand for and the unrealistic goals and pressures they create if I could! Great post :)
    Caz xx

    1. Let’s banish fad diets! I’m with you, Caz :) Oh dear, I found the other comment over in spam ~ I’ll just keep this new one rather than having duplicates. Sorry about your going into the spammy pile – you’re much too good for that xo

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