The term fad diets can mean different things to different people, but ultimately fad diets are popular/trendy diets that tend to guarantee drastic results with no scientific backing. They can be dangerous depending on the level of restriction and now pose a bigger threat than ever before due to the influencing powers of social media. Session 4 of our Food Brand Nutrition Crash Course covers diets and trends to help educate brands about what fad diets are, how to spot them and how to be responsible with what messages are shared.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular fad diets and why they are no-nos.
Juicing is potentially the worst offender of them all. While have a juice as a drink can be a nutritious option, they are not substitutes for meals and certainly do not offer cleansing properties. Our body has two organs dedicated to removing toxins and waste: the liver and the kidneys. If there were still lots of toxins in us that needed to be cleansed, we would be very unwell and likely would die. Additionally, juices have no miracle power to remove substances from our body, they are simply digested and absorbed like all other food and drinks.
Ketogenic diets were originally designed for epilepsy patients as they change the brain cells’ fuel source, but they are now being heavily promoted as a way of losing weight. Ketogenic diets are almost the next phase of the low carb trend that has been around for a while now. Many people claim to thrive off of ketogenic diets which are very high in fats and very low or devoid of carbohydrates all together. Cutting out carbohydrates can be dangerous for a number of reasons; firstly, they are our main source of fibre which is incredibly beneficial for our overall health and helps prevent bowel cancer. Secondly, high levels of saturated fat are known to be associated with heart disease so consuming very high levels of saturated fat is never advisable. Lastly, they are our body’s preferred source of energy for a reason, they are easy to digest and burn and so are important for fuelling our everyday activities!
Raw food diets are a lot less common than the previous two, but the paleo movement, which is has similarities to a raw food diet, is gaining a lot of traction. Both have roots in the concept that we should be eating more natural foods, in a way that was similar to how our ancestors ate as that is how are bodies are designed to eat. Raw food is dangerous for obvious reasons, the risk of raw meat, fish, dairy and eggs carrying bacteria is quite high, especially if you are getting it from a shop and not straight from the animal! Many raw food eaters are mostly plant-based which reduces the risk of bacteria but still can present problems. Cooking actually increases the nutrient availability of many foods and also makes it much more digestible, which is beneficial for people with gut problems. In reality, a mixture of the two is really what is best for our health.
If you are interested in learning more about fad diets and other specific dietary cases like plant-based eating, check out our Food Brand Nutrition Crash Course.