Say NO to Fad diets


The world is in the grip of an obesity epidemic; additionally, a “fad diet” industry has arisen. Worldwide obesity has tripled since 1975. It is a chronic and multifactorial disease and one of the most important causes of morbidity and premature mortality worldwide. In my post, Is obesity a disease or risk factor for other conditions? I had discussed the magnitude of obesity and had also highlighted that today most of the major international and national health organisations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), World Obesity Federation, and American Medical Association recognise obesity as a disease. In my post, Childhood obesity: a serious public health challenge and Complications of obesity: the mother of all diseases, I had discussed the health implications of obesity.

The image depicts fronts covers of various diet books with a caption 'Say No to Fad Diets'.
Some popular fad diets.

In my post Diet Plan for Weight Loss – It is going to be a journey, I had discussed in detail, the dietary interventions for the management of obesity. However, in general, our beliefs about food are highly irrational and when we are struggling with weight, we want a magic pill, or in the least, a diet plan for weight loss that’s a functional equivalent of a pill. In my post Diet Plan for Weight Loss, referred to above, I had discussed the issue of weight loss and regain and had highlighted that due to the strong physiological tendency to regain weight, long-term weight loss maintenance remains the main challenge of obesity treatment. Another important aspect that I had discussed in this post was the dramatic disparity between the patient’s expectations from a weight loss regimen and the professional recommendations or reasonable weight loss that can be accomplished and maintained in most cases. The patient’s frustration and anxiety arising as a result of the gulf between the patient’s unrealistic expectations and professional recommendations have been exploited up to the hilt by the dieting industry.

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