How do I spot a fad diet?

Fad diets typically do not support long-lasting weight loss results. Avoid fad diets, and focus instead of portion control, cutting down on empty calories like sweets and sugary drinks, and increasing exercise. While there is no set approach to identifying a fad diet, many have the following characteristics:

  • Recommendations that promise a quick fix
  • Dire warnings of dangers from a single product or regimen
  • Claims that sound too good to be true
  • Simplistic conclusions drawn from a complex study
  • Recommendations based on a single study
  • Dramatic statements that are refuted by reputable scientific organizations
  • Lists of "good" and "bad" foods
  • Recommendations made to help sell a product
  • Recommendations based on studies published without review by other researchers
  • Recommendations from studies that ignore differences among individuals or groups
  • Elimination of one or more of the five food groups

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