It seems like every other month there is a popular new diet that claims to be the most natural, best for weight loss, healthiest… the list of benefits goes on and on. But between Keto, Paleo, Atkins, and the dozens of other diets that proclaim supreme healthiness, is there science to back up the claims?
To understand fad diets, some clarity around what they actually are is necessary. In short, a fad diet is any diet that promises quick and radical changes to your weight or health, usually by excluding certain nutrients and foods (eg; carbohydrates, dairy, legumes). As Cleveland Clinic points out, these diets often aren’t well researched, use faulty research, or make incorrect conclusions based on a misunderstanding of certain research.
There are a few telltale signs of a fad diet, according to Rutgers:
Now to the core of this issue: are fad diets bad? Remember, fad diets aren’t dietary choices like veganism or the Mediterranean diet: they are often created and marketed specifically around faulty, questionable, or false research – and that can make them dangerous. The extreme measures involved in following a fad diet can lead to what is called “yo-yo dieting”, which according to Oklahoma State University can lead to poor health outcomes like:
These are undoubtedly not the types of health risks that you are willing to risk for the sake of a fad diet, and more importantly, compromise your overall health.
While losing weight is not easy by any means, the ways to do it are relatively straightforward. According to the CDC, there are three things to target when trying to lose weight healthily:
The CDC additionally provides a more detailed guide to getting started on weight loss, which you can read here.
Remember that engaging in certain types of physical activities can be risky based on your existing health, and if you are aiming for a big lifestyle change, it is always important to collaborate with your doctor to create the best strategy for you and your well-being.