Anti-Diet Culture

Fad Diet Red Flags

fad diets
I'm Andrea!

I help women ditch dieting and find food freedom. I'm a wife, mother, daughter, sister.  I am a dog obsessed wine living ,Netflix bingeing  wellness enthusiast! 

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If you are reading this, chances are you have tried at least one fad diet in your life.

But, don’t worry, millions of people join fad diets every day because they promise rapid weight loss with minimal effort. Who can resist that?

According to The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, if this sounds too good to be true, it probably is. They define successful weight loss as losing weight and keeping it off for at least 5 years. The difference between this definition and the results that fad diets “promise” is that fad diets offer short-term results through unsustainable habits that leave you feeling deprived, low on energy, and unsatisfied.


If you are looking for sustainable changes to make to find your healthy weight, fad diets are not the way to go!

Here are some fad diet red flags to look out for:

  • Promising rapid weight loss:

    Rapid weight loss is actually very unhealthy. Realistically, you should aim to lose 1-2 lbs per week in order to lose weight in a healthy, sustainable way. Promising rapid weight loss is an advertising tactic and is usually only resulting from being in an unhealthy caloric deficit. 

  • Banning a specific food group:

    Fad diets that eliminate or ban a certain food group are not sustainable in the long run. In order to seek results that actually last and leave you feeling your best, you should make small changes that you can keep up for long periods of time. Instead of elimination, balance is key.

  • Eating supplemental bars and shakes instead of real food:

    The only time you should be “supplementing” food is to add in nutrients, such as having a protein shake after a workout; not in place of real food or meals. The best fuel you can give yourself is from real food, not fake supplements mostly made up of harmful chemicals and artificial ingredients. 

  • Advocating for no exercise:

    If a diet insists you do not exercise, this means you are not obtaining adequate calories and energy each day. Long term balance comes from eating adequately and moving your body for lasting health.

  • Labeling foods as “good” and “bad”:

    In my book, there are no “good” and “bad” foods. All foods fit; it just means finding a healthy balance that allows you to fit in all of your favorite foods in moderation without deprivation.

  • Requiring specific times you have to eat (rigid structure):

    One thing I try to preach in my practice is listening to your body’s signals and eating when you’re hungry. Diets that make you eat when you are not hungry or not eating when you are hungry mess with your body’s natural hunger and fullness clues. Your body is very smart; it knows when you need energy!

  • Detoxing and cleansing/pills:

    Once again, your body is smart. Our bodies naturally know when to eliminate waste (AKA, POOP) and you don’t need fake “detoxing” agents to do so. If you fuel your body with adequate nutrients and fuel, it knows what to do.

Now that you have all the facts, here are some questions you can ask yourself before starting a fad diet.

  • Can I do this diet forever?

    If the answer is no, chances are the results will only be temporary. 

  • Do I have to eat meal replacements, or can I eat real food?

    (hint: you want real food!)

  • Will I have to give up a whole food group?

    (I hope not!)

  • Do I have to eat at specific times or at regular intervals to be successful?

    Like what I said above, it is best to train your body to listen to its hunger and fullness signals. 

  • Can I exercise?

    Moving regularly is a vital part of keeping your body healthy- regardless of whether or not you’re trying to lose weight!

  • Can I eat out?

    This is an enjoyable experience, and your diet should not deprive you of these experiences. 

In conclusion, sustainable weight loss is slow and steady. If you want to make changes that leave you feeling satisfied, energetic, and healthy, fad diets are not the way to go; instead, aim for a balance in your everyday life and an all-foods-fit mindset!


If you liked this post, check out Top 4 Weight Loss Mistakes Women Make.



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As a certified health and weight loss coach, I help women who are stuck in food prison lose weight without the strict limitations of extreme dieting.

Years ago, my diet was a mess. Mindlessly snacking on cereal and chips, I was up 15 pounds and never stopped to consider what I was really putting in my body.

Then I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, which completely rocked my world. I went from mindless munching to obsessive & restrictive dieting... a lifestyle I had no hope of maintaining.

After being stuck in “food prison” for far too long, I finally discovered that balance, moderation and mindset are the keys to healthy weight and a thriving wellbeing. 


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