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Fad diet

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Fad diet

The phrases fad diet and food fad originally referred to idiosyncratic diets and eating patterns that promote short-term weight loss, usually with no concern for long-term weight maintenance, and enjoy temporary popularity.[1]

The term "food fad" may also be used with a positive connotation, namely, to describe the short term popularity among restaurants and consumers of an ingredient, dish, or preparation technique.[2]


A fad diet is an eating regime that focuses on a particular food or food group.[3] They are often endorsed by celebrities or medical professionals who style themselves as "weight loss gurus" and profit from sales of branded products, books, and public speaking.[4] Fad diets attract people who want to lose weight quickly and easily and keep that weight off; this is not actually possible and while some people following fad diets may lose weight in the short term, the loss is generally not sustained.[5]

In 1974, the term was defined as three categories of food fads.[6]

  1. A particular food or food group is exaggerated and purported to cure specific diseases.
  2. Foods are eliminated from an individual’s diet because they are viewed as harmful.
  3. An emphasis is placed on eating certain foods to express a particular lifestyle., a publication of the American Academy of Family Physicians, for example, proclaims that fad diets "typically don't result in long-term weight loss and they are usually not very healthy. In fact, some of these diets can actually be dangerous to your health."[7] They then offer a long list that includes low-carbohydrate diets in general and Atkins, the Zone diet and three others by name. One scientific study contradicts the website's assertions. A 2007 study published in the Journal of American Medicine concluded that overweight premenopausal women age 25 - 50 without any heart, renal, kidney, or diabetic disease on the Atkins diet lost more weight than those on specific low-fat diets after 12 months. The researchers concluded that low-carbohydrate diets are a "feasible alternative recommendation for weight loss."[8] However, this study did not compare the Atkins diet to calorie restriction diets.


Some programs considered fad diets:


  1. ^ "WordNet Search - 3.1". Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  2. ^ "Illegal milk: the new US food fad". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2008-06-24. 
  3. ^ Ashraf H (2013). Smith AF, Kraig B, ed. Diets, Fad. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America. volume 1 (2nd ed.) (Oxford University Press). pp. 623–626.  
  4. ^ a b Tina Gianoulis, "Dieting" in the St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture Ed. Thomas Riggs. Vol. 2. 2nd ed. Detroit: St. James Press, 2013. p106-108. ISBN 9781558628472
  5. ^ Alters S, Schiff W (22 February 2012). Chapter 10: Body Weight and Its Management. Essential Concepts for Healthy Living (Sixth ed.) (Jones & Bartlett Publishers). p. 327.  
  6. ^ McBean, Lois D. M.S., R.D. and Elwood W. Speckmann Ph.D. (1974). Food faddism: a challenge to nutritionists and dietitians. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol 27, 1071-1078.
  7. ^ "Nutrition for Weight Loss: What You Need to Know About Fad Diets". Retrieved 13 October 2012. 
  8. ^ JAMA
  9. ^ Hiatt, Kurtis. 1 March 2011, U.S. News & World Report, "'The 4-Hour Body'—Does It Deliver Results?".
  10. ^ a b
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Nutrition for Weight Loss: What You Need to Know About Fad Diets". 2004-02-01. Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  12. ^ a b c d Crosariol, Beppi. 9 January 2014,The Globe and Mail, "Feeling frugal after the holidays? Try these 11 affordable wines". Accessed 3 February 2014.
  13. ^ a b c, 22 April 2011, "Are Fad Diets Worth the Risk?". Accessed 3 February 2014.
  14. ^ Forbes, Gilber, American Academy of Pediatrics, 1980. "[Food Fads: Safe Feeding of Children]" Pediatrics in Review. 1980;1:207-210. doi:10.1542/10.1542/pir.1-7-207.
  15. ^ a b c d Sandra Bastin for University of Kentucky Extension Service. August 1998; revised March 2004. University of Kentucky Extension Service: Fad Diets
  16. ^ Jonathan. "How to Spot Fad Diets". ahm Health Insurance. Retrieved 2012-07-25. 
  17. ^ a b 8 January 2014, "The worst diets of 2013 - and the best for 2014". Accessed 3 February 2014.
  18. ^ Toyama, Michiko. Time, 17 October 2008, "Japan Goes Bananas for a New Diet" Accessed 1 July 2011.
  19. ^ "Caveman fad diet". 
  20. ^ Fad Diets Sandra Bastin, Ph.D., R.D., L.D. Cooperative Extension Service. University of Kentucky - College of Agriculture. March 2004. Retrieved August 28, 2015
  21. ^ Dr. Paul Martiquet, Medical Health Officer, Vancouver Coastal Health. Muscles for brains: How fad diets can hurt you.
  22. ^ Jane E Brody for the New York Times. June 3, 1981 Personal Health: Another Entry in the Annals of Fad Diets
  23. ^ Southern Nevada Health District. 2015 Back to the 80s: Fad Diets
  24. ^ DeBruyne L, Pinna K, Whitney E (2011). Chapter 7: Nutrition in practice — fad diets. Nutrition and Diet Therapy (8th ed.) (Cengage Learning). p. 209.  
  25. ^ "People to watch". Nature Medicine 12 (1): 29–29. 2006.  
  26. ^ "Fad diets: Low Carbohydrate Diet Summaries" (PDF). 
  27. ^ Cohen, Larry et al. Prevention Institute, San Jose State University. "The O Word: Why the Focus on Obesity is Harmful to Community Health". Accessed 3 February 2014.
  28. ^ a b Daniels, June RN, MSN. Nursing: December 2004 - Volume 34 - Issue 12 - p 22–23, "Fad diets: Slim on good nutrition". Accessed 3 February 2014.
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