A fad diet, also known as a popular diet, is like a flashy promise that says, “Eat this way, and you’ll lose weight and be super healthy!” However, the catch is that these diets don’t have strong evidence to support their claims. They often include fancy and expensive foods while skipping important nutrients that your body needs to stay in good shape.
Let’s take a closer look at some common fad diets.
One popular fad diet is the Paleo diet. It tells you to eat like our ancestors, focusing on foods they hunted or gathered. That means lots of meat, chicken, seafood, fruits, veggies, and nuts. However, it eliminates packaged foods, legumes, dairy, and grains. The problem with this diet is that it cuts out important food sources like whole grains and legumes, which provide protein and fiber. It even says goodbye to dairy, which is an easy way to get calcium and protein. This can cause significant harm long term as it can increase the risk of osteoporosis.
Raw food diet
Next up is the raw food diet. This one insists on eating only unprocessed, plant-based foods in their raw state to keep the natural enzymes and vitamins intact. The menu includes fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and even raw animal products. But here’s the catch: some raw foods can be tough to digest, and certain vitamins and minerals aren’t as easily absorbed from them. Plus, it misses out on important nutrients like zinc and iron that come from cooked meat. And lets be real, no one wants to eat raw meat and they shouldn’t have to…
Now, let’s talk about the Keto diet. This trendy diet is all about low carbohydrates and high fats. It works on the concept of burning fat for fuel, rather than using glucose (sugar), creating something called ketones in a process called ketosis. While it might help certain groups of people for medical reasons, such as those with epilepsy, there’s not much evidence to support it as a long-term weight loss solution for healthy folks. It kicks whole grains, which contain plenty of important nutrients and fibre, and only allows a small amount of protein. The high intake of animal products can increase your risk of cholesterol, and subsequently heart disease.
Meal replacement shakes
Meal replacement shakes have become a popular option for individuals looking to manage their weight or simplify their nutrition. Meal replacement shakes are beverages designed to replace one or more regular meals while providing essential nutrients. They usually come in the form of powders that can be mixed with water, milk, or a dairy alternative. Even though they are equipped with all the vitamins and minerals, protein, fat and carbohydrates needed to replace a meal, let’s be honest, it is not the same as eating a plate of food. So often what happens is individuals replace a few meals with shakes, might lose some weight, but as soon as they go back to regular eating, the weight comes back on as they have not learnt the habits to healthy eating for weight loss. There is a place for meal replacement shakes when doing a VLED (Very Low Energy Diet) but it needs to be alongside an Accredited Practising Dietitian and you first need to learn healthy eating habits to maintain the weight you lost.
You see, these diets have a common theme—they are super restrictive. They kick out entire food groups like dairy or grains, which means they’re missing out on essential nutrients. It’s like trying to build a sturdy house but forgetting to include some vital building blocks!
In a nutshell, good nutrition isn’t about quick fixes or trendy diets. It’s about making healthy and sustainable changes in what you eat and how you behave.
My approach includes involving all food groups so that you don’t feel restricted and are nourished adequately! If you’re looking for advice that’s realistic and trustworthy, consider talking to an Accredited Practising Dietitian, such as myself. We have the knowledge and expertise to guide you toward a balanced and healthy way of eating, using the latest evidenced based practices. Remember, your health is important, and it’s worth investing time in approaches that are backed by science and designed for the long run.