Wait, wait, wait. Disclaimer: I do believe in diets for people with special medical conditions. Medical conditions sometimes require avoiding or modifying foods to maintain health.
A more accurate statement may be to say that I don’t believe in fad diets. When I hear of a diet that excludes any major group of foods, I am especially wary. When we avoid large groups of foods, we limit our means of getting nutrients.
What I do about people trying fad diets
I teach people how to get the nutrients while trying their diet of choice.
Honestly, this is one of my favorite parts of being a dietitian, because I get to be a detective in my own foodie way. Staying on top of all of the diet trends is close to impossible, so sometimes I have to do the work on the spot with my client.
Take, for example, a diet which eliminates or greatly restricts carbohydrates. This means greatly reducing or eliminating fruit, whole grains, and starchy vegetables. That means reducing choices of foods containing fiber, B vitamins, phytonutrients, and all of the other nutrients that come along with individual foods. Together, based on their new diet and food preferences, we find ways to get these nutrients. If we can’t come up with foods choices, I generally have to recommend a vitamin supplement, which is not a perfect answer either (see my next post).
Truthfully, I have found that restrictive fad diets are not enjoyable enough for most people to sustain for a long time. While this isn’t a good thing in some cases, the danger of nutrient loss is minimized when restrictions are extreme.
What fad diets have you tried in the past? Please share your experience!