Article

Get the Facts on Fad Diets

How not to be fooled by fads

Did you know? Weight loss programs aren’t regulated in Canada, so it’s important to be able to tell the difference between a quality weight loss program and a fad diet! Find out how to be a savvy consumer and spot the red flags of a fad diet.

What is a fad diet?

A fad diet is a popular diet that usually promises weight loss. A fad diet often sounds “too good to be true” and does not follow healthy eating guidelines that support good health. Fad diet red flags Your weight loss program may be a fad diet if it:

  • Promises weight loss of more than 2 pounds (1 kg) per week.
  • Does not provide support for long-term weight loss success.
  • Restricts you to less than 800 calories a day.
  • Is rigid and does not fit into your lifestyle or state of health.
  • Cuts out major food categories (like gluten or carbohydrates) and stops you from enjoying your favourite foods.
  • Forces you to buy the company’s foods or supplements rather than show you how to make better choices from a grocery store.
  • Uses “counsellors” who are actually salespeople. Weight management counsellors should not make a commission from anything you buy.
  • Gives you nutrition advice that is based on testimonials rather than scientific evidence.
  • Promotes unproven ways to lose weight such as starch blockers, fat burners and colonic cleanses.
  • Does not encourage physical activity.

Why fad diets may be harmful

Fad diets that are too low in calories may mean you won’t get enough energy to do the things you love. By cutting out major groups of foods, you won’t get the nutrients your body needs to be healthy. If you lose weight too quickly and there is no support to help you keep the weight off, you could get stuck in a cycle of weight loss and weight gain. This yo-yo dieting is stressful for your body.

Looking for support?

If you need help to figure out what weight loss plan will work best for you, call an EatRight Ontario Registered Dietitian at 1-877-510-510-2 or send an email. You may also want to think about seeing a consulting dietitian in private practice. Your work insurance policy may cover the cost of these services. An Eatright Ontario Registered Dietitian can help you find a dietitian in your area.

You may also be interested in

Checklist when choosing a weight loss program
eaTracker
My Menu Planner

Last Update – October 18, 2017

Mail Icon Phone Icon

If you have questions about what you've read here, or other questions about food, nutrition or healthy eating, click to email our Registered Dietitians or call 1-877-510-5102.