What is fad dieting? Do any of these sound familiar?

“Lose 5 pounds in three days!”

“Get skinny now!”

“Trim that waste and slim those thighs!”

These are some of the common claims commonly found in fad dieting. These diets also tend to be “fad diets.” As a dietetic student, I consider myself knowledgeable about “diets” and general nutrition. In my experience, and through reading scientific data, I have found that fad diets are unsuccessful. Actually, diets in general, even if it’s not a fad, it won’t “work.”

Here is some important need-to-know information about fad dieting.

What is a fad diet?

Fad diets are easily identifiable.  Ask yourself some of these questions…

1)     Does this diet make unrealistic claims? (Example: “Lose 20 pounds in 2 weeks!”)

2)     Does this diet eliminate food groups?

3)     Does this diet suggest I only eat one type of food? (Example: only protein, or only carbs, or only grapefruit)

4)     Does this diet say that there is no need for physical activity?

5)     Does this diet have little to no scientific backing?

If you answered, “Yes,” to the questions about, then the diet falls into the “fad diet” category and it will not provide you with the results you are looking for… Read more to find out why!

What are some examples of fad diets?

The Atkins Diet, The Paleo Diet, Eat Right for Your Blood Type, Juice Detox Diets, South Beach Diet, The Cabbage Soup Diet…. Basically, any “weight loss” program that ends in “diet” is most likely a fad diet!

Does fad dieting work?

95% of people who “diet” gain all the weight back. Some even gain more than what they lost. 35% of “occasional” dieters become pathological dieters, and 25% can develop an eating disorder.

You be the judge…. Do fad diets work?

Why Don’t Fad Diet Work?

Not only do fad diets have a terrible success rate, but the name “fad dieting” itself implies something that is not withstanding. A fad, according to the dictionary definition, is “an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short-lived and without basis in the objects qualities; a craze.”

At first, people on The Atkins diet, for example, may see weight loss within the first couple weeks. Then, they plateau. People either get discouraged or are sick of eating the same types of foods over and over again… Think about it… Who would want to only eat only protein for the rest of their lives?

fad dieting

There are also SO many drawbacks for being on a fad diet. For example, the Atkins diet causes fatigue and poor stamina if one is on the diet for a long period of time.

What does work for weight loss?

A lifestyle change! Learning how to listen to your body and feed it the foods that you need to feel good about yourself. This includes eating a variety of foods from all the food groups. And yes, you have permission to eat dessert without feeling guilty!

fad dieting

What does work?

Taste workbook

We now have another book to help you eat wisely without dieting.  Our new book is called Nourished: 10 Ingredients to Happy, Healthy Eating.

Nourished: 10 ingredients happy healthy eating book

Our new REBEL program will give you all the tools you need to do just this. You will feel healthier, stronger, and more confident. You’ll be able to enjoy your foods without feeling stress or guilty. Contact us for more information at 301-474-2499 or email us at admin@rbitzer.com.


Blog updated November 2019.

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Rebecca Bitzer loves to empower Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) and their clients.  Co-author of Welcome to the Rebelution: Seven steps to the nutrition counseling practice of your dreams and  Taste the Sweet Rebellion: Rebel against dieting.

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