Answer this question honestly....How many diets have you been on in your life? If the answer is more than one, then
why didn’t the first, or the second, or the third (you get the idea) work? I
know the answer. You followed a diet that was either too strict, low calorie,
boring, designed for someone else, unsustainable, unhealthy, or most likely,
all of the above. Chances are you heard/read about this diet from the
manufacturer of a diet range that advertises that their products can make you
look like a fitness model in only a few weeks if you follow and consume their
The diet industry is worth billions every year and the sad truth is that the majority of these companies
who promise that you can ‘drop a dress size’, ‘loose a stone in a week’ are
only motivated by profit. These fad diets are deemed to failure, but that’s
part of the plan, after all, it would be a very short lived business if
everyone succeeded and these results could be maintained for the rest of your
life. These companies know this, and so instead of encouraging healthy diets,
they promote ‘quick fix’ diets that are unhealthy and in some cases dangerous.
If you think about it, it’s the perfect business model; design a diet that will
initially give results to get people hooked and believing that the diet works,
but make it so strict and unhealthy that even the most determined individual
will fail and give up. People will never doubt the effectiveness of the diet,
but will instead blame themselves.
Although the truth is that YOU were NOT responsible for failing; it was the DIET itself.
These fad diets are often backed by a celebrities, although sometimes I doubt whether or not the celebrity in
mention has ever actually followed the diet/used the products!
Did you know that the average diet last five and a half weeks, and the average woman will spend 31years
trying to lose weight. That’s proof in itself that fad diets don’t work.
The main problems with most Fad/Celebrity endorsed diets are...
- Unsustainable. That means that they cannot (and should not) be followed for long periods of time. A diet should be
the beginning of a new way of eating and should be versatile enough so that it
can be followed throughout the year, with only slight adjustments to account
for change in body composition/training goals.
- Low calorie. YOU DO NOT NEED TO STARVE YOURSELF TO LOSE WEIGHT. Low calorie diets may work initially, but the dangers
to your long term health and the effects it will have on any future weight loss
far outweigh any initial positives. If you’re training hard, chances are that
you actually need to eat MORE in order to fuel your workouts and recovery.
High in sugar, low in protein and healthy fats. Almost every week I see a new
weight loss product being advertised as ‘Low fat’, ‘Fat free’, ‘Reduced fat’,
but since when was all fat bad? And these low fat snacks/meals are often sky
high in sugar, leading to the release of Insulin which can cause fat gain.
Protein and healthy fats are necessary for a healthy body and should definitely
not be excluded.
Too much cardio/No weight training. This applies mostly to diets/training
routines aimed at females. Females are led to believe that the more cardio the
better, and weight lifting should be left to the guys. The truth is that too
much cardio will cause muscle loss, and may even cause fat gain. Weight
training on the other hand will help build a strong and ‘toned’ physique and
help with fat loss.
Can lead to an unhealthy outlook on food/eating disorders. Diets which are too
drastic/limiting can cause people to switch from periods of starvation, to
episodes of binge eating. This is a dangerous cycle to get into and the list of
associated health problems is endless.
No emphasis on healthy eating. Most fad diets don’t teach the dieter how to
make better food choices, instead they tell them how they can still eat their
favourite ready meal/processed food/ takeaway, as long as they eat less of it.
Instead, people should be told what foods they should be eating, and which they
should limit to a once a week treat. The sooner you change the food you eat,
the sooner you will stop craving the food you shouldn’t eat.
The diet isn’t specific to YOU. Magazines often print diets for their readers
to follow, but how can ONE diet can be suited to thousands of people of varying
weight/age/fitness levels? Everyone is different and require different amounts
Too many supplements. No diet should solely consist of supplements. Real food
should make up the majority of your diet and supplements should do just that;
supplement your diet.
The myth of the ‘magic pill’. Don’t be fooled into thinking any slimming/fat
loss pill will do all the work for you. There are some pills available that can
help you with fat loss, but their effect is very minimal and entirely dependent
on your diet and training both being spot on. Most contain stimulants such as
caffeine which will give you an energy boost/help improve your mood. This can
translate into you having more energy during your workout which in turn will
help with strength and endurance to help you through your workout. I am not
against people taking legal stimulants or pre-workout drinks/powders, but don’t
be fooled into thinking they will make you will burn fat whilst you sit in
front of the TV; you still have to put the effort in in order for them to have
Too much emphasis on weight loss instead of fat loss. Most people measure the
success of a diet by weight loss on the scales. This is the wrong way to view
the success of a diet because scales do not take into account body composition.
You want to lose fat whilst retaining, or possibly even gaining muscle. This
will mean that weight loss may be less than you anticipated. Always use a
mirror to track progress and take pictures regularly to compare.
Instead of falling for these fad diets, my advice is to do as much research
as you can into what, when and how much you should be eating. There’s no
perfect answer to this, but you will get a good idea by reading articles,
looking on forums, and asking other people for advice. You will soon begin to
see that the best diet out there is the one that is tailored to the individual.
If there was a ‘one diet fits all’, then we would all be following it and we
would all get the same results. It simply doesn’t exist. The same applies to
the ‘best training protocol’. It doesn’t exist either. By all means take advice
from people, but be careful of who they are, what they’ve achieved themselves,
and their motivation for the advice they give. Unfortunately, most famous
people telling you to follow their diet/workout DVD have only their bank
balance in mind. And ask yourself this; how many of these ‘celebrities turned
Personal trainers’ manage to maintain their new physique for longer than a few
months? That should tell you all you need to know about the kind of diets they
I have no doubt that new Fad diets will continue to pop up for years to come, but hopefully now you won’t be one of those people conned into following