March is national Nutrition Month. In honor, Mosaic’s wonderful nutrition team: Megann Dastrup, MDA, RDN, LD, CDCES; Marcella Canelo, RDN, LD; and Hannah Brzozowski, RDN, MS adapted the below article from Trans Nutrition: Don’t Fall For Fad Diets © 2020 Saint Louis University. All rights reserved. Authored by Whitney Linsenmeyer, PhD, RD, LD and Jackie Price, MS, RD, LD.
Take a read and learn how you can spot harmful fad diets and choose healthful eating plans instead. Enjoy!
Nutrition is personal, we are all unique with different bodies, goals, backgrounds and tastes. There is not a “one size fits all” diet. Food should be nourishing and enjoyed, there is a world of flavors to explore. Eating healthfully does not mean eating perfectly. It’s all about eating pretty well most of time and finding balance. Navigating what diet is best for you can be challenging. But here are a couple strategies to weed out unhelpful eating plans and red flags for fad diets.
Fad diets are everywhere we turn—the internet is loaded with food rules to burn belly fat, boost your metabolism, alter your hormone levels, or cure your acne. Unfortunately, the claims of fad diets are often too good to be true and not supported by science. Some of the more extreme fad diets may even be dangerous to your health.
DOES IT PROMISE RAPID WEIGHT LOSS?
If you lose weight too quickly, you are likely losing muscle mass and water weight. You will also be more likely to regain the weight. A safe rate of weight loss is 1-2 lbs/week for adults and 1 lb/week for adolescents. Fad diets may promise dramatic weight loss, but slow and steady is the only way to lose weight safely and keep it off.
DOES IT DEMONIZE A CERTAIN FOOD OR FOOD GROUP?
All food groups provide critical nutrients to your health. Fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, dairy—all provide nutrients. Does it recommend extreme changes to your fat, carbohydrate, or protein intake? We need a balance of all three macronutrients, including fat, carbohydrate, and protein. These nutrients provide critical roles to your growth, development, and normal metabolism.
DOES IT LEAVE YOU CONSTANTLY HUNGRY OR ARE YOU ALWAYS THINKING ABOUT FOOD?
This is a big red flag that the diet isn’t going to be sustainable.
ARE YOU ALWAYS HUNGRY AFTER DINNER, GETTING INTENSE FOOD CRAVINGS AND FEEL LIKE YOU ARE RAIDING THE CABINETS IN THE EVENING?
This is a sign that your body isn’t getting what it needs from your diet.
ARE THERE A LOT OF FOOD RULES?
A healthy eating style can look many different ways. Eating well is not based on rigid rules and restrictions. When making changes to your diet, ask yourself if it’s something you can sustain for the rest of your life. If not—skip it.
DOES IT CONTAIN A SECRET OR MAGICAL INGREDIENT?
There are no specific foods that magically burn fat or alter hormone levels.
ARE THE CLAIMS TOO GOOD T0 BE TRUE?
If a diet seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Sources for sound nutrition information include:
- MyPlate: Choosemyplate.gov
- Academy of nutrition and dietetics: Eatright.org
- USDA: nutrition.gov
Healthful eating patterns include:
- Mediterranean diet
- DASH diet