Weight loss miracles left and right, fast and easy, approved by doctors, their mothers and their grandmothers. Here are eleven claims from fad diets that promise more than they can keep.
Who is to say what is easy for you and what not? When I lost weight, I found it comparatively easy to daily calculate the calories of the foods I ate, using a kitchen scale and calorie lists. You on the other hand might rather want to pull out your nails than do all that bookkeeping.
Oh, you will lose a lot of weight by following the “4 week cardboard diet”, but will it be healthy? And what will you be eating after you finished the diet? As soon as a diet promises weight loss faster than 2 lbs (1 kg) per week, it wants to put you on a caloric restriction so severe that you may damage your health and after finishing it won’t be able to sustain the new weight, because you learned nothing about what made you overweight.
3. “No Calorie Counting”
There are tons of diets out there that promise you exactly that, but all they really do is do the work of calorie counting for you. They will have you eat foods that are low in calories or restrict the amounts you eat – often through expensive pre-packaged meals or supplements sold by the company behind the diet.
Notice whenever detox diets claim you need to “cleanse” your body to lose weight, they never mention what exactly they’ll cleanse from your body, it’s just that some ominous “toxins” have to get out? Real toxins can be measured and have really, really bad effects on your health – but none are related to gaining weight.
5. “Don’t eat this (and that and that and that)”
Some diets want you to drop entire food groups from your palate, because those supposedly are the ones keeping you fat. In reality, you can lose weight with any food and being very restrictive about food choices can lead to deficiencies.
“Linda Sue from Fat Falls lost 87 lbs with our plan”. Good for Linda Sue, but for all we know the dear woman might not even exist or may have lost weight due to entirely unrelated circumstances. Even if she did lose weight with the advertised diet, it still might not work for you, because you don’t share Linda Sue’s like of boiled turnips that are the main staple of that diet.
7. “Studies have shown that…”
Fad diets often like to mention studies, but unfortunately forget to tell us where we can read them. If they do and you scrutinize those papers, you’ll often find people conducted them who are working for or are sponsored by the company behind the diet program. Reputable studies go through the process called “peer-review”.
8. “Works for everyone!”
Amend that with “…as long as you can stick to it”. Each and every one of us is an individual and we all have our personal likes and dislikes and health conditions that are different from the next guy. While all diets that get you into caloric deficit land work, you have to pick the one that caters to your taste and your situation.
9. “100% Safe”
No diet can be absolutely safe for everyone, see #8. If you are allergic to apples or nuts, for example, it could end in tragedy to make you go through with a diet containing those.
10. “Miracle Breakthrough!”
With the rate that “miracles”, “wonders” and “breakthroughs” appear in the world of the weight loss industry, they should have taken care of the entire world obesity problem by now. As that hasn’t happened we can safely assume that miracles aren’t what they used to be.
11. “Doctor’s agree”
My doctor agrees with me that pink pants look ridiculous on men, but that makes neither of us a fashion expert. So when reading the claim about agreeing doctors, ask yourself what doctors agree with the diet and why. A dentist and an ophthalmologist aren’t likely to know more about weight loss than you and me – if they feel qualified to endorse a diet, they should have some pretty good reasons and be able to back them up.
If It Sounds…
…you know the rest. I hope you found this guide handy and if you know more outrageous signs of fad diets that should go onto the list, add them in the comments!
Picture courtesy of “jefilias“.