Fad Diets


At least 50 percent of all people who put themselves on a diet every year opt for a fad diet. 

The dictionary defines a fad as an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short-lived, a craze.

Generally, fad diets can sound promising and offer a quick fix, but many require extremes that can put your body at risk for other issues. While supplements and programs can be helpful, many are unsustainable and will not bring the same results as a lifestyle change.

How do you know if it’s a fad diet?

  • It claims that you can lose weight quickly and easily.
  • Extreme elimination of ordinary foods is required
  • You may only be expected to eat one food group or food type ie. Grapes, grapefruit, or soup
  • There is a need for supplements that burn fat or boost metabolism to accompany the diet
  • There’s no focus on exercise or lifestyle

Fad diets gain popularity because they can appear to be effective in the short-term, but the weight that is lost usually comes from the loss of lean muscle mass and water. Not long after you have started a diet like this you can start to feel weak, tired, and hungry which leads to binge eating. This makes you think that you have no will power and you can feel very discouraged at your failure to keep it up.

Many fad diets do not provide for your nutritional needs so they can lead to vitamin, mineral and other nutrient deficiencies.

They can cause hormonal imbalances and they can also impact your metabolism negatively, making future attempts at weight loss more difficult.

Apart from physical symptoms, fad diets can also have a profound impact on your mental health. Feelings of guilt, failure, stress, and anxiety are common, but apart from those, deficiencies can interfere with the productions of neurotransmitters that are essential for good mental health.

Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is not so much about short-term changes but rather long-term lifestyle choices that lead to better wellbeing.

The consequence of these choices is usually a healthier body composition and weight.

A healthy lifestyle includes healthy food choices to ensure that all your nutritional needs are met.

It also includes the right amount and type of exercise for your body and good quality sleep as well as adequate stress management and rest.

If you are wanting to shed some weight this year my suggestion would be to cut out the junk – sugary treats, refined carbohydrates, fizzy drinks, and unhealthy snacks. Watch your portion sizes too. Simply reducing your portions at each meal can make a difference. 


Replace the junk with nutritious foods and snacks such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, proteins, and healthy fats, and drink enough water.

Listen to my interview with Brad Kirsten from Radio Cape Pulpit on 27 January 2022 to learn more. Listen to my next interview on Thursday at 7.45am