Fad diets are everywhere, and it seems like they’ve been around forever. Some come with a very strict list of what you can eat, and some are more lax. Some of them seem somewhat realistic, while others are unusual if not downright bizarre. So what exactly is a “fad diet”? Do any of them actually work? And can some do more harm than good?
In this episode of DataDish: Your Trusted Serving of Science, we talked with Alyssa Ardolino, RD, coordinator for nutrition communications at the IFIC Foundation and an eating disorder dietitian at an outpatient center in Northern Virginia.
Some highlights from the podcast include:
- Defining fad diets: Alyssa tells us what a fad diet is, and what exactly makes it a fad.
- Why do people go on fad diets?: Alyssa says it usually boils down to one thing: the hope of achieving weight-loss goals.
- Some common fad diets and what they promise: Some of the more popular fad diets include low-carb diets such as Paleo or keto, intermittent fasting and juice cleanses. All of these diets promise quick weight-loss but usually don’t work long-term.
- What the research says: Alyssa reviews cultural perceptions of larger bodies, weight stigma, yo-yo dieting, changes in metabolism and whether people who follow fad diets (or regular diets in general) can actually keep the weight off.
- Tips for a better, more sustainable eating pattern: Mindful and intuitive eating can improve your relationship with food. MyPlate offers good guidance. When in doubt or overwhelmed about what to eat, incorporate fruits, veggies, healthy fats, lean protein, nuts, seeds and legumes, while also acknowledging that an indulgent treat is part of life.
Enjoy the podcast! Hopefully you’ll learn a more balanced way to eat instead of falling for the allure of fad diets.