National Nutrition Month is a Reminder That Fad Diets Fade
By Emily Wetzel, RD
Every year, March rolls around and dietitians get busy planning and promoting new ways to involve the community in eating healthy. In recent years healthy food trends have been on the rise. I am sure you have seen a few of them on your local news or maybe have tried them for yourself. According to CBS news one of the most popular 2016 diet trends includes the Paleo diet, a restrictive diet that encourages you to eat as cavemen have eaten: No dairy, refined sugar or processed foods, in combination with high resistance training. You might also have seen an abundance of foods high in probiotics such as keifer or Kombucha pop in your local grocery store with the claims that it will fix your digestive problems and help regulate weight.
Following national nutrition month’s theme of “Put Your Best Fork Forward” it is important as a nutrition professional to direct clients in the right direction to obtain accurate nutrition information. With so much nutrition information in the news, it is easy to be confused or muddle things together. According to the American Press Institute, 69 percent of Americans receive their news via tablets, laptops or smartphones and of that 69 percent, nearly half are receiving that news via social media.
Although social media can be a great resource to provide information to the public, it can also be easily misunderstood. For example, the Paleo diet has some valuable components to living a healthy life. The diet encourages foods that are less processed, and by eliminating highly processed foods, our health can improve drastically. However, the Paleo diet also encourages you to eliminate all grains, which are part of a balanced diet. If someone were to adhere to the Paleo diet without first consulting a health professional, it could potentially harm their health. Regardless of what we hear, there is no specific food or food trend that will fix all your health problems. If you plan to start a new diet trend be cautious for these “fad diet signs:”
- Any diet that promises that you may lose significant weight in a short period of time.
- Claims of weight loss with a supplement without changing your diet.
- Any diet that eliminates whole food groups.
When in doubt, consult a health professional and discuss what your goals are. You can find a local dietitian at Eatright.org or through your local hospital.
Emily is a Registered Dietitian in Chicago. She has worked for Dietitians On Demand since 2013.