Advertisement

Do fad diets work?

Marjorie Nolan Cohn
Nutrition & Dietetics

Yes and NO. Fad diets, when followed a fad diet usually will promote weight loss and a lot of it in a shorter period of time. The problem with fad diets is that they generally don’t last, most often because they are too restrictive, and unrealistic to follow for a long period of time. Once off the diet the lost weight is gained back and then some. This is because when someone loses weight quickly they lose more muscle than fat which slows the metabolism, and makes it easier to gain the weight.

Judy Caplan
Nutrition & Dietetics
The question is what are you trying to accomplish? Fad diets usually work in the short term for quick weight loss but rarely long term for sustainable weight loss. They are usually hard to follow and lead to return of the lost pounds.
Ruth Frechman
Nutrition & Dietetics

No. Plain and simple. I don't know of anyone who has followed a fad diet and kept off the weight. Rather than follow a diet that could cause harm, identify what is making you eat more food than you need. Just being aware of what and why you eat could increase the likelihood of weight loss.

The short answer: no. Americans spend more than $30 billion annually on weight-loss programs, products, and pills, yet after decades of such spending, there is no quick fix winner in the battle of the bulge. Researchers analyzed close to 200 weight loss studies and concluded that it is the calories, not the composition of the diet, that count when it comes to losing weight. These red flags often tell you if a diet is questionable:

  • It's the carbs, not the calories that make you fat! Eliminating broad categories of food (including sweets) can reduce calories consumed, but you're not giving your body access to fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals found in plant foods. The high protein content can lead to loss of calcium, increasing risk of osteoporosis.
  • Lose 7 pounds in one week! This kind of weight loss usually only occurs in the first few days of a low-carb diet and is temporary due to loss of body water. Ultimate weight loss is determined by calorie imbalance, as with any other weight loss diet.
  • Celebrity-endorsed, miracle weight-loss products with a money-back guarantee! Just because a famous person endorses the product doesn't mean it is valid, just that the celebrity is being paid to do what he or she does best: act. The more miraculous the claim, the more likely you are to lose (money, not weight).
  • Naturally occurring plants or herbs will help you lose weight without risk! These products are not necessarily safer or more effective for weight loss.
Amy Jamieson-Petonic
Nutrition & Dietetics

Fad diets may work in the short term, but not usually for long term health. Fad diets usually claim rapid weight loss with very little effort.. Sound too good to be true? They usually are. How do you spot a fad diet? A program that suggests to eliminate whole food groups, such as eliminating all carbohydrates, or fruits, or eating only rice alone. The best way to lose weight and be healthy is to work with a registered dietitian. You can find one at www.eatright.org... good luck!

Dee Sandquist
Nutrition & Dietetics

Fad diets may result in short term weight loss; however, when the diet is over and you go back to eating your previous diet weight gain will occur. Many people find they gain weight and end up weighing more than before they started the diet. When weight is lost quickly, generally fluid, muscle mass and a little fat is lost. When weight is gained after going back to previous eating habits weight is re-gained in fat (not muscle mass.) Often, the only thing a fad diet will lighten is your wallet since they require special foods, potions, or information.

Jessica Crandall
Nutrition & Dietetics

Fad diets are called “fad” for a reason, they will come and go very quickly. In regards to their effectiveness, very rarely will it support long-term weight loss. Some diets will help you lose weight quickly however, keeping the weight off and returning to a normal lifestyle will almost always bring the weight back on, plus some. Instead of moving from one fad diet to the next, focus on healthy weight loss and maintenance. You can do this by eating small frequent meals, focusing on a good balance of nutrients and exercising 30 minutes per day about 5 times per week. This will ensure long-term weight loss success without potentially damaging your body.

Continue Learning about Weight Loss Diets

live longer with this diet
live longer with this diet
want to live a long , vigorous life ? consider eating more fish , vegetables , fruits , nuts and legumes . That right ! a mediterranean diet might be ...
Read More
the south beach diet
the south beach diet
weight loss diets abound . so do the reasons most people say the diets do not work . usually it because they are too complicated , do not provide enou...
Read More
what is the hcg diet ?
Shelley Chermak - Elite Trainer, RNShelley Chermak - Elite Trainer, RN
The HCG diet has been marketed since the 1950's. This diet, utilizing HCG drops and injections, has ...
More Answers
what is the ornish diet ?
Vandana  R. ShethVandana R. Sheth
The Ornish diet is a low-fat, vegetarian diet with an emphasis on the inclusion of whole grains, bea...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.