The Skinny on the Weight Loss Fad Diet

A weight loss fad diet is commonly believed by its practitioners to help in the improvement of their health. A typical weight loss fad diet is often promoted through published books and articles about it, while others sell their special supplements and ingredients that should be incorporated in the diet itself. However, some of these diets do not have any legitimate medical or scientific study backing up the claims.


Weight loss experts who try weight loss fad diet varieties state that these can be unhealthy especially if you cannot stick to one. Since they are termed "fad", chances are, they are only good for a certain period of time. If a person jumps from one weight loss fad diet to another, then it can be unhealthy for them since the body is exposed to several risk factors involving the diet, which can even result to more weight gain.

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There are 3 categories where a weight loss fad diet can be identified. These categories determine what kind of dieting is being promoted:

1. Certain foods are omitted from your diet since they are seen as "bad" or "harmful".

2. There is an emphasis on eating particular foods for expressing a certain lifestyle.

3. The benefits of certain foods and food groups are purported and exaggerated for curing particular diseases, so they are incorporated as the primary food to be consumed in the diet.

Extreme diets

A weight loss fad diet can contribute to a person's lack of energy, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and lack of nutrients. These diets can also contribute to a lot of nutritional disorders especially if they are enforced on children. In fact, parents who force children to participate in fad diets to the point of having nutritional disorders is considered as child abuse.


A typical weight loss fad diet can only be supported by partly scientific claims. In other words, these diets claim to be very scientific but they never follow the standard scientific methods for proving their effectiveness and validity. Some of the limitations when it comes to scientific claims of fad diets are the following:

1. They are not open to revisions

2. Observations are used as valid evidence to verify the explanation behind the diet.

A lack of knowledge

Some people from scientific and medical communities often remark that fad diets are a result of the lack of knowledge on dietary and nutritional facts in the scientific sense. According to them, there is a lack of evidence on weight loss due to calorie restriction. Furthermore, there is a lack of evidence supporting the claims that fad diets can help achieve and maintain sustainable weight loss. Also, they point out that these diets ignore the necessary associations between human health and dietary and nutritional patterns.

Examples of fad diets

An example of one of the most marketed and well-known diets is the Atkins Nutritional Approach. Plainly known as the Atkins Diet or simply Atkins, it was developed by Dr. Robert Atkins in the 60's because he came across a diet from the Journal of the American Medical Association to be able to resolve his own weight problems. Since the publication of its diet books, the Atkins diet is one of the most popular low-carb diets in the list of what people consider as fad diets. The diet consists of carbohydrate restriction to switch the body's metabolism to burn stored body fat instead of glucose. It also restricts net carbs, which are carbohydrates that contribute effects on a person's blood sugar. Foods to be eaten when participating in the Atkins diet are unprocessed foods with low glycemic content.

South Beach diet

Another example of a weight loss fad diet is the South Beach diet. It emphasizes on consuming good fats and good carbs, and it was developed by cardiologist Dr. Arthur Agatston for his cardiac patients based on his scientific research on dieting. The diet has 3 phases which gives importance to the minimizing of the consumption of the bad carbohydrates and bad fats that can lead to cardiovascular and other health complications.

Jenny Craig weight loss

According to sources, the Jenny Craig Weight Management Program does not have any formal nutritional and exercise training. However, their clients have one-on-one counseling with consultants who are composed of health professionals and nutritionists. Members are given the chance to join any of the many plans and then buy pre-packaged foods developed by the company itself. Members are still given the option to eat non-Jenny Craig foods at some days of the week. The goal of the diet is to promote a change in eating habits and lifestyle so by the time they reach their ideal weight, they can stop relying on the Jenny Craig food, menu, and consultations.

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