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Don’t Be Fooled by 2020’s Fad Diets

January, the start of the New Year, is often considered a time for new beginnings and fresh starts. It is also the time of year when you are most likely to hear New Year’s resolutions involving weight loss and subsequently fad diets. But what makes something a fad diet as opposed to a healthy weight loss practice? Continue reading to find out!

What is a Fad Diet?

A fad diet is a diet or meal plan that promises dramatic weight loss results, usually over a short amount of time. Fad diets can be dangerous and are an unsustainable way to lose weight, often causing you to gain weight once you return to your previous way of eating. Fad diets are often low in calorie, leaving you with low energy levels. They also tend to be restrictive in food choices which can lead to nutrient deficiencies.

How to Identify a Fad Diet:

Fad diets tend to make a lot of claims regarding their success. Additionally, the claims are often unbelievable and are usually too good to be true. A diet is likely a fad diet if it:

  • Promises dramatic weight loss results (more than 2 lbs per week)
  • Promises weight loss in a short period of time
  • Forces you to buy a company’s food or products rather than promoting healthy food choices
  • Lacks scientific evidence to support the claims
  • Provides an inflexible diet plan or provides a list of “Good” or “Bad” foods
  • Involves drastically cutting calories or eliminating food groups
  • Does not promote physical activity with the diet
  • Is a “one size fits all” diet

If a diet you are considering checks “Yes” to one or more items on this list, it may be a fad diet.

There are countless fad diets that have gained popularity in Canada over the past few years including intermittent fasting, ketogenic diet, paleo diet, and blood type diet, just to name a few.

Remember, fad diets are only short-term solutions and ultimately will result in you regaining the weight you lost, and unfortunately in some individuals, gaining more weight than you originally started with. Fad diets are often dangerously limited in calories and/or food groups and therefore pose a very real risk of malnutrition and are therefore best to be avoided. It is always recommended to contact your doctor or dietitian prior to starting a new diet to make sure it is the right fit for you.

Cheers to a fad-diet-free New Year!


Contributor: Ellen Leurer

Registered Dietitian, SmartShape Weight Loss Centre

1 (888) 278-7952 |


Contact our Program Advisors at to learn more about the customizable weight loss solutions offered at SmartShape Weight Loss Centre.

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