Fad diets

There are so many diets on the market, many making claims that sound too good to be true. The reality is if they sound too good to be true then they are too good to be true! In fact a recent survey found that half of people ended up heavier than their original weight after dieting.

What is a fad diet?

These diets tend to be very restrictive or include an unusual combination of foods to promote rapid weight loss. It is normally unsustainable.

How to identify a fad diet?

  • It may suggest easy, rapid weight loss and promise a quick fix
  • It may recommend magical fat-burning effects of foods (e.g. grapefruit)
  • It may promote avoidance or severe limitation of a whole food group (e.g. low carbohydrate diet)
  • It may suggest large doses of vitamin and mineral supplements as a replacement to food
  • It may promote eating mainly one type of food (e.g. cabbage diet/soup diet)
  • It may recommend eating foods only in particular combinations
  • Be careful if the claims sound too good to be true or if the main focus of the diet plan is on your appearance rather than on health


  • Be realistic about weight loss; aim to lose 0.5-1kg a week
  • Be active. Aim to exercise 30 – 60 minutes on most days
  • Watch your portion sizes
  • Follow a balanced diet and include a variety of different foods into your diet
  • Eat regular meals
  • Have fruit and vegetables daily

When in doubt rather seek the advice of your dietitian. Dietitians will be able to give you safe, unbiased, evidence-based advice.