Fad Diet Drawbacks: What Your Clients Should Know
It’s a dietitian’s job to help their clients break bad habits. Whether it be a candy addiction, compulsive snacking or skipping critical meals, dietitians are there ready to assist and educate their patients. But, one of the most common habits patients acquire, and the hardest to break, is the “get-slim-quick” thinking. Clients who want to lose a lot of weight in a short period of time often gravitate toward these tendencies or are easily sold on popular fad diets that endorse the elimination of entire food groups.
Regardless, most of these diets are unsustainable and are evidently unpopular with dietitians who focus on clients’ long-term well-being. To convince clients of the same, dietitians need to prepare themselves to refute the merits of various fad diets, which clients will undoubtedly have researched online at length. With that, here are some of the elimination diets trending this year.
Keto Diet – The idea of the keto diet is to put your body in a state of ketosis. In other words, goodbye carbohydrates, sayonara sugar. With an emphasis on fatty foods like bacon and avocados, this diet is a complete departure from the days of low-fat everything. It has its merits, but many downfalls (we’re stuck on the complete absence of fruit). Familiarize your clients with those drawbacks if they’re ready to try it.
Alkaline Diet – Made famous by celebrities like Tom Brady and Gwyneth Paltrow, this diet focuses on finding your body’s ideal pH. Alcohol, grains, eggs and refined sugars are all no’s, because these foods are acidic. Foods that are alkaline – fruits, vegetables and legumes – are okay. Scientists say that while eating fruits and vegetables is obviously healthy, the logic behind balancing acid is way oversimplified, and that it’s nearly impossible to manipulate a cell environment to be less acidic.
Paleo – The Paleo diet is meant to mirror what cavemen ate. Red meats and animal proteins should be eaten in excess, while dairy, grains, legumes, and many fruits are forbidden. Dietitians wish it would go away, because it’s both unsustainable for the body and the environment.
Whole30 – All food must be “whole” or “clean” for 30 days. What does that mean? Nothing processed – no soy, no grains, no dairy, no alcohol, no legumes, no sugar (not even honey). Those who have tried it say it helped them take a more mindful approach to eating, but that it was very difficult to follow and took the pleasure out of eating.
Lectin-free Diet – Lectin is a protein found in plants. Lectin-free dieters have to cut legumes, beans, whole grains and even vegetables. For anyone with a legitimate intolerance to Lectin, it’s a good plan. For everyone else, the risk of cutting out nutritious foods likely outweighs the benefits.
5:2 Diet - Eat for five days, then not so much for the other two (by not so much, we’re talking only 500 calories). The idea of keeping your metabolism running fast through intermittent fasting isn’t a new one, and diets of this kind have become increasingly trendy in the last few years. The problem is obviously the two days when dieters barely eat. Ignoring hunger isn’t natural and, for many, will result in irritability and loss of focus.
Dietitians know that losing weight and sustaining that new weight loss requires a lifestyle shift and long-term commitment and that fad diets can often be counterproductive to this goal. Cutting out a food group and following strict rules is tough to do for more than a few months, and dieters who fall off the wagon can end up gaining more weight than they lost.
Convincing clients of this will be much easier if you do your research and come to the table ready to discuss the information they’ve likely read online.