Fad Diets - Long Term Success

Posted on January 12, 2024

Contributed by Katelyn Pierson, MS, RD, CDN

The idea of losing weight has been glorified in society for decades. The allure of “weight loss made easy” has contributed to the perpetuation of a culture centered around dieting. Every few years, a new diet emerges as the latest trend to follow. From Slim Fast, Atkins, South Beach Diet, Juice Cleanses, Paleo to Keto. More than $60 billion is spent on diet and weight loss products such as pills, powders, beverages, food, and books. Despite the time and financial investment, obesity rates in America continue to rise. This is partly because such fad diets are unsustainable. The primary concern with fad dieting is the promotion of highly restrictive eating plans that contribute to a phenomenon called “yoyo-dieting.” Yoyo-dieting is defined as a pattern of losing weight from dieting, and regaining the weight once lost. It is possible that yoyo-dieting can have long lasting effects on the body that further increase difficulty of losing weight. 

Here are some tips on how to spot a fad diet:

  • Elimination of a major food group
  • Promising a quick fix 
  • Identifies “good” and “bad” foods 
  • Testimonials
  • Dramatic statements and claims 
  • Selling of supplements or other weight loss products 
  • Ignores differences of individualized needs 
  • Based off research that is not peer reviewed 

It is key to remember that adopting a healthier lifestyle to meet your weight goals takes time. For the general healthy population, a great start towards achieving a healthier lifestyle is to eat moderate portions of a variety of foods in each major food group, exercise regularly, stay hydrated with water or unsweetened beverages, and reduce your intake of added sugar, saturated fat, and sodium. To ensure you are meeting all your individualized nutrition needs, it is best to consult with a registered dietitian or other qualified medical professional


About the Author

Katelyn is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Dietitian/Nutritionist. Katelyn holds a strong interest in culinary nutrition and believes that all foods fit into a nutritious diet. She is frequently searching for new recipes to try, and you will often find her at local farmers markets on the weekends. Katelyn has a varied experience in the nutrition field, ranging from counseling adults who are critically ill to educating children on the fundamentals of nutrition. Katelyn is empathetic in nature and enjoys helping others set achievable goals towards a healthier lifestyle.