How to Spot a Bogus Diet
Unfortunately there is a plethora of fad weight loss diets (e.g. detox, food combining, blood group diet etc.) that are not supported by scientific evidence in terms of their efficacy and/or safety but which make enticing promises about the speed and ease of weight loss and may advocate dietary and lifestyle approaches out of line with current scientific thinking. They may detract from the important long term means of managing weight and confuse people on what are helpful approaches. It can be useful to guide patients to recognise fad diets and resist their quick fix solutions where possible. The American Heart Association [www.americanheart.org] suggests the following points may guide people in being able to identify, and therefore avoid, fad diets.
- Magic or miracle foods that burn fat.
- Bizarre quantities of only one food or type of food, such as eating only tomatoes or beef one day or unlimited bowls of cabbage soup or grapefruit.
- Rigid menus. Many diets set out a very limited selection of foods to be eaten at a specific time and day, exactly as written.
- Specific food combinations. There is no scientific evidence that eating foods in certain sequences or combinations has any medical benefit.
- Rapid weight loss of more than two pounds a week.
- No warning given to people with diabetes or high blood pressure to seek advice from their physician or healthcare provider.
- No increased physical activity. Simple physical activities, like walking or riding a bike, are one of the most important ways to lose weight and maintain weight loss. Yet many "fad" diets don't emphasize these easy changes.