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The truth about fad diets

It is common to want to become healthier, stronger, and fitter. However, there are safe and effective ways to achieve this. In recent times, one of the most popular ways to reach body and weight-loss goals is to follow fad diets. Today, we’re going to discuss why you should steer clear of fad diets and explain how you can reach your goals successfully!

What is a fad diet?

A fad diet, otherwise known as a ‘popular’ or ‘trendy’ diet, is a diet that often promises quick results without any proven evidence behind its reasoning. For example, a fad diet may promise weight loss or another health advantage when it does not incorporate the key nutrients that the body needs to function. Some diets will encourage you to eliminate certain food groups from your eating plan and others may encourage you to consume a great amount of one specific food. Over time, hundreds of fad diets have been introduced to society.

However, all have one thing in common: they are a temporary solution. Commonly, once a person stops following their diet, their lost weight can be easily regained. Fad diets do not focus on lifestyle modification which is necessary to prolong changes – they are not sustainable.

What are some examples of fad diets? 

For almost 100 years, different trends have been introduced to the world, many claiming to be the new revolutionary diet. However, some of the most famous diets include:

  • The Paleo diet: which incorporates foods similar to what might have been eaten in the Paleolithic era. This diet typically includes foods that could be obtained by hunting and gathering such as lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. This diet preaches the message that the human body is genetically incompatible with the modern diet and that all people should return to a way of eating that’s more like what early humans ate. Therefore, avoiding foods such as legumes, grains, dairy products, and refined sugar is a necessity when participating in this diet.
  • The detox diet: which claims to clean your blood and eliminate harmful toxins from the body. They are generally short-term dietary interventions that encourage a period of fasting (commonly a couple of days), followed by a strict diet of fruit, vegetables, fruit juices, and water
  •  The Keto diet: which involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with healthy fats. In this diet, eating foods such as fatty fish (e.g., salmon, trout, tuna), eggs, and cheese is encouraged. Eating foods such as root vegetables, sugary treats, and unhealthy fat must be avoided. This diet is believed to be effective for weight loss, diabetes, and epilepsy. However, higher quality research is needed to determine its long-term safety and efficacy.

Why are fad diets bad for me?

In many cases, fad diets eliminate key food groups from your daily diet, causing the following repercussions:

  • Dehydration
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Nausea and headaches
  • Constipation
  • Inadequate vitamin and mineral intake

Alongside this, as these diets restrict the intake of beneficial food groups and nutrients, you may miss out on the protective health effects that a balanced eating plan provides. However, it is important to note that every fad diet is different and can pose a range of advantages and disadvantages.

What can I do instead? 

You can follow a balanced eating plan!

A diet with balance can provide the body with its needed proportions of carbohydrates, fats, liquids, minerals, proteins, and vitamins. This will allow you to keep your body (and mind) strong and healthy. Alongside this, recent research demonstrates that following a balanced eating plan and engaging in moderate exercise can help you to control your body weight, fight off sickness, increase your energy levels, get a better sleep, and improve your brain power.

To achieve a balanced eating plan, it is important that you:

  • Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and legumes
  • Eat a variety of cereals (including breads, rice, pasta, and noodles)
  • Eat lean meat, fish, poultry, or alternatives
  • Drink the recommended amount of water
  • Limit saturated fat and moderate total fat intake
  • Consume a moderate amount of added sugars

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