Frequently I get asked what I think about diet books and fad diets. Since there are so many fad diets, here are tools and questions so you can decide for yourself whether this is a sustainable way of eating.
1. Who created the diet or wrote the diet book? What education and credentials in human nutrition or metabolism do they have?
There are educated and trained nutrition professionals like registered dietitians and individuals with a PhD in nutrition that are qualified to give nutrition advice. Most physicians have little/no training in nutrition.
2. What does the diet recommend? Is it highly restrictive and does it exclude entire food groups?
Different food groups have different important nutrients and micronutrients. If one food group is eliminated where will those nutrients come from? If food groups are eliminated how sustainable is the diet in the long run?
3. What makes this way of eating different or special? What sort of claims are being made and how are they supported?
Is the diet or way of eating backed by scientific research or is it based on anecdotes and testimonials?
4. Are they selling a specific brand of supplements? Recommending unproven tests (not reimbursable by insurance) that can only be done by a specific lab?
These are both red flags of a diet that is not about making you healthy but about making money for someone else.
Bottom Line: Be a smart consumer and be skeptical about fad diets that aren’t sustainable. You may lose weight in the short term but the only thing you may lose long-term is time and money!
Leah McGrath, RDN, LDN
Ingles Markets Corporate Dietitian