Fad diet fiction

Fad diet fiction

Today on my talkback radio segment with Gary Adshead, we had some great callers and interesting questions.  One of the questions we were asked reminded me that the thorny issue of ‘fad diets’ never really goes away.  These fictional, often extreme and frequently money making fad diets just keep going round in circles year after year. AJ called in today to ask about his ‘fat calf’.’After a moments confusion I realised that he wasn’t referring to the four legged bovine variety.  His masseuse had advised him that his right calf was fatter than the other and as a result AJ was ringing in to see if I had any spot reducing tips.  Alas, I did not but it gave me an opportunity to remind listeners that sadly it is not possible to nominate a pesky body area as a fat loss target. Pick up any magazine or click on a myriad of Internet sites and you will find a reference to a ‘diet’ in there somewhere. The term ‘diet’ is very negative and makes people do all sorts of bizarre things, like eating a block of chocolate instead of one piece and generally makes them unpleasant people to be with. The expression “going on a diet” implies that one day you will come off the diet. Healthy eating is about changing your habits and enjoying food, not making your life (and everyone else’s) a misery. I think it is easy to forget that a diet is simply the food we eat. There will always be many wonder ‘diets’ out there in fantasyland, so how can you pick an eating plan that works?

  • Does it claim to have ‘magic’ ingredients e.g. grapefruit, seaweed or vinegar? Not a good sign, as there is no such thing as magic in the world of food, unless you count Santa eating all those cake and cookies on Christmas Eve.
  • Does it promise rapid weight loss – like the diet that guarantees a loss of 13 inches around one leg? That would look really odd wouldn’t it?
  • Do you have to exercise or do you just have to lie on a vibrating machine that ‘shakes’ the fat off? No such luck.
  • Who is selling the program – are they qualified and do they hold a recognised degree in nutrition or does it seem like the ‘diet’ is a quick way for them to make some cash?
  • Do you have to buy expensive powders; potions, pills or creams that claim to miraculously melt away fat?
  • Are you guaranteed weight loss in specific areas of your body? Not possible I ‘m afraid.
  • Do you have to eat a small range of foods that are not familiar to you and perhaps you have never heard of before?
  • Does the diet teach you new and improved eating habits or a crash course in how to count calories?

We need to be savvy when considering changing our eating habits. If you discover an eating plan that promises the world and does everything except wash your clothes, run it through the checklist. It highlights all the features of the fad diet that you should avoid plus saving your sanity and bank account. If you need help, don’t be scared to seek professional advice from an Accredited Practising Dietitian who has the knowledge to lead you in the right direction. And leave the worrying about fat calves to the moo cows.

3 thoughts on “Fad diet fiction

  1. hi julie,

    i was listening to your show today and overheard you talking about coconut oil and the fact it has alot of saturated fat content which is the cause of heart disease due to elevated LDL.
    i note there have been some major studies done in recent times which show this not to be the case and this study ive linked you to is just one of them to prove this.
    dr timothy noakes is one person id love for you to chat to on this as he like you is a qualified world reknowned sports nutritionist and doctor who in a documentary released recently called – cereal killers – exposes why its false and how he came to do studies to prove that natural fats like butter, coconut oil are much better for you than what was originally taught to him like you.
    Carbs (bread,rice,pasta – gluten) and more importantly SUGAR is what is driving the ever increasing epidemic of type 2 diabetes and obesity around the world.

    here is the link for you to the study i mention….


    and ive also put here a very very good doco link made in New Zealand recently about Sugar!!



    1. Hi Rob
      Thanks for taking the time to comment. There is so much going on in the world of nutrition at the moment and it can be difficult to work out the fad vs.the fiction. What we do know is that everyone is different and there is no one way of eating that suits everyone. Not sure whether you have seen this article at http://scepticalnutritionist.com.au/?p=844, but it is an interesting summary of the coconut oil debate.

      Too much low fibre carbohydrate and sugar are problems for many people and as a Dietitian I spend quite a lot of time educating people about the need to consume the right amount for their activity level and the importance of fibre and glycemic index.

      Thanks Rob.

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