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Why fad diets don’t work

September 2018

Written by Jessica Worth, Nutritionist, Sydney, Mona Vale

It’s that time of the year again! Everyone is touting an amazing weight loss pill, potion, fad diet, slim down for summer… I’m sure you’ve seen the ads, or maybe because I work in the health space I’m more aware of it. Who knows! But I wanted to breakdown why many of these “gimmicks” don’t work long term.

How to spot a fad diet?

A fad diet is a short-lived, craze diet that everyone follows in the short term. They may get amazing results. They may keep that weight off. But in many instances, the weight comes back, often more weight than last time and this is what we call yo-yo dieting. I won’t name and shame, but in my nearly four years of being a nutritionist I have seen more than 5 fad diets come and go. Often, but not always these diets are also associated with some kind of multi-level-marketing program. If this is the case, I’d be questioning the quality of the products you’re getting.

Why don’t fad diets work?

When I work with clients, I work on the principle of food first and from every food group. Many fad diets follow strict guidelines, often removing a food group of a specific type of food from the diet. You’re missing out on a load of nutrients if you do that. Other fad diets swap real food for a shake, a pill, a bar.

Eating in this way is not educating yourself on how to best eat for your body type. Skipping meals, or meal replacement takes the power away from you. You don’t learn portion control; you don’t learn how to prepare a meal for yourself that is nourishing; you don’t learn what works for your body and what doesn’t.

A component of that meal replacement or “magic pill” may be a diuretic, so you’ll lose a lot of water, you may experience loose bowel movements and hey presto, the number on the scale has dropped. You get excited, you’ve lost XXkgs this week. It could be fat loss. But it could also be water and muscle mass.

Best way to lose weight

– Focus on eating fresh food. Stop eating from a packet.

– Learn to cook a nutritious meal. If you don’t know where to start, invest in a simple cookbook and start picking meals you’d like to cook. Here are a couple of great options: The Healthy Chef and Shannon’s Kitchen

– Realise when you’re actually hungry, versus bored, stressed, tired, emotional. If you’re hungry and you’re offered an apple, you’d eat it. No one wants to eat it when they’re feeling any of the other times.

– Stop when you’re nearly full. It takes 30mins for your brain and stomach to communicate that you’re full. Don’t keep eating until you burst. Learn to stop. Understand its OK to put leftovers in the fridge to be eaten the next day. Eventually you’ll learn how to stop over piling your plate.

If you’re still struggling to lose weight, or you’d like support reach out to a nutritionist or other health professional and let them help you.

Until next time… x



Jess is a passionate nutritionist who loves helping women with weight loss, she is the Thelma to your Louise in your weight loss journey. If you’re interested in working with Jess (minus the drive off a cliff and Brad Pitt smiles), she’s the nutritionist for you. Book in for a consultation today!

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