What are Fad Diets and How Do They Work?

Fad Diets

Fad diets [1] are diet programs that are promoted as the easiest and quickest way to lose weight. Nonetheless, some of these diets exclude foods that contain vital nutrients that your body needs to remain healthy. Some diets say that specific hormones are to blame for weight gain, implying that food can alter body chemistry. Frequently, these diets are not well researched or the study is flawed.

You commonly see these kinds of diets championed by celebrities or in the media. These diets can be high-fat, low-carbohydrate, or high-protein. Certain foods, such as cabbage and probiotic- or raw-food-containing foods, are lauded by others. They either take away essential nutrients, such as wheat, or they remove critical sources of nourishment, including them.

Certain diets require you to abstain from certain foods at particular times of the day. Others grant you the food of your choice, so long as you consume them along with the foods on the list.

What are Fad Diets and How Do They Work? Bariatric Station

However, in some cases, such diets are prescribed, only a few possess substantial nutrients, such as dietary fiber and carbohydrates, while other recommended diets may be deficient in vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and defensive compounds. Inadequate intake of these nutrients can result in serious health problems.

Since these diet plans allow many food classes, including meat, bread, and dairy, the quantities are either above or very low-to-satisfactory levels recommended by other health authorities including the American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, and the Academy of Nutrition and the Dietitian’s Academies of Nutrition and Dietetics—and often fall short on the recommendation of the Surgeon General of the US Department of Agriculture.

Both of them, however, have one thing in common: they provide a temporary fix for what is, for many people, a lifelong problem. If the diet is discontinued, the lost weight is typically easily recovered, as fad diets do not emphasize the requisite lifestyle changes to maintain weight loss. These diets are not sustainable for the long term.

Different Types of Fad Diets


Vegan diets [2] have grown in popularity among dieters. Since the diet lack any animal ingredients, they have been criticized for being unbalanced and intense. On the other hand, they have been celebrated for their ethical and safe eating habits.

Notably, vegan diets may be either safe or bad, depending on the foods eaten. It is improbable that you will lose weight when consuming a high-fat diet and drinks. There is some evidence that plant-based diets are more likely to help with weight loss and can help with lowering the risk of heart disease by doing so.

What are Fad Diets and How Do They Work? Bariatric Station

A six-month randomized controlled trial involving 63 obese adults compared the results of five different diets. Vegans lost more than double the amount of weight as anyone in each of the other classes. Additionally, longer studies have shown that vegan diets can produce impressive results.

Low-Here it was found that the lower fat diet of 64 older women produced nearly four times as much weight loss.

Keto Diet

While there is no question that the ketogenic diet [3] can be very successful for weight loss, many will dispute the appropriateness of the use of this term, because the idea of “fad” diets has been greatly eroded. It results from the management of insulin levels and shifts the body’s main fuel from sugar to fat. You can use these compounds to obtain energy from fatty acids, but your brain and other organs can only process them.

You’re in a condition called ketosis when the body does not have carbohydrates to burn and turns to ketones. Unlike the Atkins and other low-carb diets, however, ketogenic diets do not steadily raise carbohydrate intake. Instead, they do not allow their followers to eat large amounts of carbohydrates so that they can remain in ketosis.

What are Fad Diets and How Do They Work? Bariatric Station

Ketogenic diets normally supply between 50 and 30 total grams of carbs per day. Researchers in 13 studies found that fat-restricted ketogenic diets have significant anti-inflammatory effects on those who are overweight or obese. In a two-year controlled study of 45 obese adults, those assigned to the ketogenic diet lost an average of 27.5 pounds (12.5 kg) and 29 inches (11.4 cm) from their waists.

So, in terms of keto diet, it’s actually a very healthy diet if done correctly.

Paleo Diet

The Paleo diet [4] is focused on the diets that our Paleolithic ancestors consumed. Paleo is a fad since it excludes dairy, legumes, and certain gluten-free bread. Additionally, critics have noted that it is impractical, if not impossible, to consume the same foods as our prehistoric ancestors.

However, the paleo diet is a well-balanced, organic way of eating that avoids refined foods and allows its adherents to consume a diverse array of plant and animal foods. Additionally, studies indicate that the paleo diet can aid in weight loss and overall health. In one sample, 70 obese older women were randomly assigned to a paleo or normal diet. The paleo group lost substantially more weight and abdominal fat than the other group after six months.

What are Fad Diets and How Do They Work? Bariatric Station

Additionally, they had a greater decrease in blood triglyceride levels. Moreover, this diet can help to reduce visceral fat, the especially hazardous form of fat in your abdomen and liver that helps promote resistance to insulin and increases the risk of disease.

Volumetric Diet

Does losing weight by consuming less calories and still feeling full sound like your ideal diet? Because volumetric [5] theories suggest that foods, such as fruits and vegetables, contain less energy and have greater water content, are better for you. Volumetric has been shown to be an effective approach to eating rather than a fad diet but could cause several adjustments for those who want to prepare their own food.

Macrobiotic Diet

Years ago, the macrobiotic diet [6] was one of the most common. What it does is, is increase the use of whole foods and promotes a balanced lifestyle as well as well as the way of eating by slowing things down. While the plan’s meals are predominantly composed of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, critics warn that the plan’s stringent instructions make it difficult to sustain and could even result in nutritional deficiencies.

As is the case for many diets, it is important to perform thorough research prior to following a macrobiotic lifestyle and to meet with a dietitian to ensure that all of your dietary requirements are met.

Danger of a Fad Diet

You Would Get Dehydrated

When you lose weight too fast, the bulk of the weight you lose is water weight, which can result in rapid dehydration. Your body loses calories and extra weight in stages, and forcing your body to lose weight faster than it naturally desires will result in serious health problems.

Tip: Remind yourself that water is your buddy while trying to lose weight.

Consume one or two glasses of water prior to a meal to avoid overeating and to remain well hydrated. Additionally, if you exercise regularly, make sure to raise your water intake to compensate for the water lost by sweating.

What are Fad Diets and How Do They Work? Bariatric Station

You’ll Become Exhausted Very Quickly

Although fad diets entail depriving yourself of calories, calories are what convert into the energy the body requires to function. If you fast or consume less food than your body needs in order to lose weight quickly, you will feel exhausted for the majority of the day.

Tip:     Consume a variety of small meals during the day. This will aid in the acceleration of your metabolism and provide you with additional energy to assist you in losing weight in a healthier manner.

What are Fad Diets and How Do They Work? Bariatric Station

You Can Experience Malnutrition

Crash diets and dieting are harmful because they are concerned with depriving your body of the fat and carbohydrate your body requires, but keep you from depriving your body of essential vitamins and minerals. If you deprive your body of vital nutrients for an extended period of time, you will become seriously malnourished.

Tip: Good weight loss requires a regular, well-balanced diet. Consult your physician or pharmacist for dietary supplements if you are worried about your nutrient intake.

What Is the Difference Between a Healthy and a Fad Diet?

The basic question here is, is, what’s the difference between a balanced eating and going on a diet? [7] To which anyone can easily find an answer. The primary distinction between a balanced diet and a fad diet is the foods that are excluded.

Aspects of a Balanced Diet

  • Restricts foods that have been clinically shown to be nutritionally ineffective, such as sugar and highly processed foods.
  • Some food classes, such as carbohydrates or fats, may be restricted more seriously.
  • A safe diets and well-balanced diets each provide a wide range of food groups, from which everyone gets enough vital nutrients (e.g., protein, carbohydrates, fats, and fiber).
  • Healthy diets should not be restrictive and should include foods you like in moderation.

Aspects of a Fad Diet

  • A fad diet’s main characteristics include the following: it eliminates entire food groups that are considered to be nutritionally beneficial, such as carbohydrates or fats.
  • It can encourage consumption of specific food like the cabbage soup, such as the treatment that lasts seven days where one can eat as much as one can soup per day containing four giant cabbages.
  • The promise of substantial weight loss within a short period of time. You can see something along the lines of “lose up to ten pounds in seven days.
  • Very restrictive in terms of what you can eat. It is one of the Military Diet sample meals that provides as part of its meal plan to include five saltine crackers and one slice of cheddar cheese, as well as an apple. Bear in mind that everyone’s body is unique, and a diet should allow for personalization.

As you can see, there are some fairly substantial distinctions between a balanced diet and a fad diet. If anything seems to be too stringent or meticulous, it is most likely a fad diet.

The Solution is a Well-Balanced Diet

Do not be concerned. There is a diet that produces results. When it comes to weight control, you can eat anything in moderation, such as balanced meals without eliminating any portion sizes or having to completely eliminate food groups of food.

What are Fad Diets and How Do They Work? Bariatric Station

This is referred to as a healthy eating strategy, and it is not fresh. When combined with moderate physical activity, it has the potential to transform your life. What matters most in a healthy eating plan is what you leave out. You need to match your eating schedule by including tomatoes, legumes, fruits, and vegetables to maintain good health.

Include lean beef, fish, poultry, or other lean protein sources. If you like milk, give yourself plenty of yoghurts; if you’re lactose intolerant, use normal or lactose-free yoghurt.

The best possible way is to go with Keto diet which is one of the best diets if done correctly. You can read our detailed article on Keto Diet and have plenty of knowledge about it.

Founder, Certified Ketogenic Diet and Ketosis Health Coach.

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