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How to spot and avoid ‘Fad Diets’

When I first read about Fad Diets I just thought they were trends of eating. People are really into eating exclusively Paleo right now, and that will eventually be phased out. A fad diet is a lot more sinister than modern human beings regressing their diets by 2.6 million years ago.

A fad diet is a media-induced diet that makes empty promises of weight loss or other health advantages without the backing of solid science and through extraordinary measures. So, in short, lying.

Celebrity endorsers (accomplice liars) are usually attached to these fad diets to promote them, suckering good, hard-working people into spending money on a product that won’t help them.

Ted-Ed, being far more rational and less hot-headed than I, have released an excellent video that highlights exactly what constitutes a fad diet and how they work. They address why ‘conventional wisdom’ surrounding diets is constantly changing and how advertisements seem to always have the answer about what we should eat.

This is what we learnt:

  • Even governmental health recommendations are constantly shifting according to trend.
  • Fad Diets began in the Victorian era with trends like The Vinegar diet and even consuming tapeworms for slimming effect.
  • In the short term, diets like The Adkins has an initial diarrhetic effect meaning that sodium is lost and temporary fluid weight loss may occur.
  • If a diet focusses on cutting out food groups, it’s not worth doing.
  • Another red flag is ritual. When the diet in question instructs you to eat food substitutes and combinations, the truth is the shedding weight doesn’t have a quick-fix solution.
  • Marketing manipulates cultural intrigue to create this mysticism of ‘super foods’.


So hopefully this should clear up any confusion you have around fad diets, whether you’ve tried them before or thinking about trying them – there’s no substitute to a balanced diet and good, old fashioned exercise.