Fad diets and how to spot them

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Every summer, we see adverts, articles and videos ordering us to “get beach body ready”. From scrolling social media to popping to the shops, they can be difficult to avoid. 

Many of these ads are tied to fad diets, promising rapid weight loss — often by cutting out certain food groups or severely restricting overall calories. 

But these “quick fix” diets are generally unsustainable — and can even be bad for our health. 

We are not here to sell you any quick fixes. We want to help you look after the body you are in, and to support you to make healthy habits to last for summer and beyond. 

How to spot a fad diet 

Luckily, it’s quite easy to identify a fad diet. Just look for any of the following: 

  • Promises of rapid weight loss 
  • Labeling certain foods “good” and “bad” 
  • An unrealistically low allowance of calories 
  • Banning entire food groups (such as carbohydrates) 
  • Focus on short-term changes 
  • Requiring money to take part 
  • Little focus on physical activity 
  • Lack of scientific evidence 

A good rule of thumb to remember: If a diet sounds too good to be true, then it probably is! 

Why fad diets don’t work 

Fad diets tend to rely on asking you to drastically cut calories for a short period of time. 

This can be through calorie counting, cutting out carbs, intermittent fasting or even only eating a certain type of soup.  

These types of diet (also known as “crash diets”) can be difficult to keep going. We will talk more about that shortly. 

Also, they don’t really focus on what happens next, or what to do if you successfully reach the “end.” 

They are kind of like the rom-com of the diet world, it looks like you’re having a great time, but what on earth happens after the happy ending? 

Well, we know what tends to happen next. Just like a rom-com, fad diets can be pretty predictable. 

Fad diets often lead to “yo-yo dieting”, where people lose weight, then put it on again and give up on the diet because it’s too hard. They might then try a different fad diet later, hoping for longer-lasting results. 

As well as being difficult to maintain, these kinds of diets can also carry health risks.  They can potentially cut out key nutrients — and fasting can cause a lack of energy, feeling light-headed, constipation or headaches. 

You are not alone  

If the above rings true, we want to let you know that you are not alone. If you beat yourself up about not being able to stick to a diet or think you might do better next time, then you are doing exactly what they want you to.  

Some of these fad diets are actually designed to fail. 

When talking about fad diets, the British Dietician Association, said: “Often these diets cannot be followed long term as many people become fed up with the rigid rules and limits.” 

So if you’re seeing ads for getting beach-body ready and getting a sinking feeling in your stomach about dieting — we are here to help. 

Breaking the cycle – how we do weight loss differently 

Here at Be Well Walsall, we do weight loss differently. We are not about quick fixes, but real changes which last.  We want to help you feel healthier and happier.

Do you want to understand your emotions attached to eating? What about getting support making new habits and making them stick? Or how about discovering the joy of movement?  

Our expert team are here to support you to make changes which work for you.

You won’t find any fad diets here – in fact no diets whatsoever!

We’re all about making small changes that make a big difference. You decide what you eat, and no food is off limits. 

Find support which works for you

24 May, 2024

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