A practical guide to fad diets

Clin Sports Med. 1984 Jul;3(3):723-9.


This discussion of fad diets may be concluded by comparing the 14 selected diets with the standards previously outlined for desirable weight reducing plans. Many of the popular diets supply large quantities of saturated fat and cholesterol, which are dietary components that have been associated with cardiovascular disease. Ketogenic diets are not appropriate for athletes because of problems with secondary dehydration and hyponatremia. Almost all of the diets are nutritionally inadequate. The rate of anticipated weight loss will vary according to the age, sex, weight, basal energy requirement, and activity level of an individual. However, it is expected that weight loss will be excessively rapid if a competitive athlete consumes a diet of less than 1000 calories per day. These hypocaloric diets cannot meet the training demands of athletes and will promote loss of lean body mass and carbohydrate stores. Many of the ketogenic diets do not restrict calories; therefore, weight loss will depend upon individual daily caloric consumption. The Cambridge Diet and starvation diets produce weight loss far in excess of that desired for an athlete in training. Long-term eating patterns to maintain weight loss are not encouraged in any of the 14 selected fad diets. In fact, most of these diets promote patterns of poor nutrition. Not one of the diets provides options or choices for dieters to use in accommodating food preference and lifestyle patterns. Some of the diets are fairly easy to comply with and others require special foods and supplements. None of the 14 diets reviewed fulfull all of the standards for a sound weight reduction diet plan.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Diet Fads*
  • Humans