Diet programs that restrict the consumption of certain food groups, focus mainly on weight loss, and do not promote physical activity are a scam and should not be patronized.
A nutrition expert said people who want to achieve a healthy and sustainable diet should be careful not to fall into the false promises offered by fad diet programs.
Jennilyn Anacioco, nutritionist-dietician of the Ospital ng Lungsod ng San Jose in Nueva Ecija, said losing weight is not always equivalent to being healthy.
The warning was issued in relation to the trend where people who want to manage their weight resort to the fast and convenient way, which is offered by fad diets.
During the webinar series on nutrition organized by the National Nutrition Council and Cordillera Media Educators on Nutrition, Anacioco said it is a red flag when a diet program restricts the consumption of certain food groups.
“When you are restricted from eating food from a certain food group, that is considered a fad diet. People who follow this may become nutritionally deficient,” Anacioco said.
She added a diet program should not also be mainly focused on weight loss because losing weight is not the only criteria to determine one’s health.
Programs that promise weight loss without the absence of exercise are a red flag to watch out for if one intends to go on a healthy diet.
“Fad diets often offer quick approaches, such as rapid weight loss even without a physical activity. These are not sustainable and often lack scientific evidence,” she said.
She said inactive lifestyle and faulty diets, which are the main selling points of fad diet programs are the reasons there is a pandemic of obesity and overweight.
Anacioco said people advocating fad diets indeed use researches, but they either twist the conclusions or their recommendations are based on a single study. Some use researches that were not peer reviewed as their basis in promoting a certain diet.
She added others use the recommendations from studies that are biased or those that ignore the differences among individuals or groups of people.
She lamented the fact that while fad diets are not sustainable and are not backed by scientific evidence, they are still popular.
The best way to manage one’s weight, according to Anacioco is still a balanced diet and an active lifestyle.
“Mas marami lang kasing testimonials ang fad diets especially on social media, that’s why they remain popular. Maybe it’s also high time that we promote people who have lost weight by practicing sustainable diets,” she said.
She advised those who want to manage their weight to consult a dietician who can give them a plan without too much restrictions.
She added the best way to make a diet plan work is for the patient and the dietician to do the meal planning together and for clients to understand that there is no quick fix when it comes to weight management. – Jane B. Cadalig