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Fad Diets = Bad Diets

Doctor Q&A

Dietitian with Shawnee Mission Health

Tempted to drop some calories from your daily intake by skipping a meal or two?

Lured by the idea of drinking all of your daily calories?

Toying with the idea of crash dieting before that upcoming wedding or class reunion?

Don’t do it!

How do I know?

As one of the outpatient dietitians at Shawnee Mission Health (SMH), I see patients with a wide range of nutritional issues. From general wellness to the most concerning of diagnoses, people come to me seeking a healthier future through healthier eating.

And although the pitfalls of fad diets are generally well-known, a significant number of my patients admit to having tried at least some form of a “quick fix” to losing weight, usually to no avail. 


Fad Diets Can Set You Up To Fail

A trendy diet does serve a purpose. It gets your attention. It gets you thinking. It may even get you to take that first step toward healthier living.

But many of these diets fail to follow the basic rules of eating sensibly, resulting in these negative outcomes:

  • Fast weight loss is generally regained more quickly and doesn’t promote long-term weight management.
  • If you lose weight quickly, you'll lose muscle, bone and water.
  • You may miss some critical nutrients if the diet eliminates or severely restricts entire food groups.
  • Most fad diets are very restrictive, making your commitment to it hard to keep.
  • Fad diets can be a social burden, keeping you from enjoying food with family and friends.

There Is A Better Alternative

Although fad diets successfully grab headlines and have created some buzzwords like Paleo, carb cycling, gluten-free and juicing, their fame is usually short-lived. They may have some beneficial health effects, but generally you will gain the same benefits by following this tried-and-true advice:

Stay active and eat a balanced, healthy diet with a lot of fruits and vegetables.

A study by the National Weight Loss Registry reports that among people who have lost an average of 66 pounds and kept it off for five years, the following applies:

  • 98 percent have made some kind of change in their eating habits.
  • 94 percent have increased their physical activity.
  • 78 percent eat breakfast daily.
  • 75 percent weigh their bodies at least once a week.

There’s Just One You

Scientists are also finding that what works for one person may not always work for another.

A low-carb diet may be helpful to some people, especially those prone to sugar cravings who might find reduced hunger by decreasing carbs and increasing proteins. But for others, a lower fat diet may work better.

And keep in mind that two individuals may get very different weight loss results, even though they follow the same food plan. 

What We Can Do For You

By meeting with a registered dietitian at SMH, you will receive a personalized, healthy approach to weight loss that will work best for you. Key to your success will be follow-up visits that provide accountability and support.

Our healthy eating plans rely on these things:

  • Getting enough fruits and vegetables.
  • Carefully reading food labels and choosing your food accordingly.
  • Incorporating regular movement into your daily routine.
  • Pre-planning your meals in a well-balanced way.

We suggest using the USDA’s MyPlate formula for meal planning. Click here for details.

To learn more about our nutrition services, call (913) 676-2548.