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The Science Behind Why Fad Diets Fail

September 8, 2021

The Science Behind Why Fad Diets Fail

It seems like we’ll never see the end to the nonstop churn of fad diets. If you feel like you’re hearing about a new fad diet every week – one that promises DRAMATIC WEIGHT LOSS – you’re not alone. But here’s a secret: fad diets never work for long. Despite our best efforts, we can’t seem to dodge the inevitable boomerang cycle.

And there are good scientific reasons for why that is. Here are four reasons diets fail and how you can reasonably hit your goals and avoid regression.


4 Scientific Reasons Why Fad Diets Fail

You might be surprised at how many diets fail each year. It’s been estimated that up to 80% or 90% of all weight loss is regained within a one-year period. Here are four scientific reasons that fad diets won’t lead to sustainable weight loss and healthy eating habits.


1. You’re Missing Out On Key Nutrients

Most fad diets cut out whole food groups. This is a quick and easy way to deprive your body of the vitamins and nutrients that it needs to function at its best. One primary reason why fad diets fail is because they leave you feeling run down and sluggish due to unnecessary dietary restrictions.

Carbs aren’t your enemy. Neither are starches or dairy products. The reality is you shouldn’t cut out entire food groups without understanding how your body reacts to them. This is where a registered dietitian or doctor can help you figure out which foods help your body thrive and give you the energy you need to power through your days.


2. Diets Don’t Work – Lifestyle Changes Do

Fad diets fail because of what they are: fads. They’re temporary. They’re not meant to be long-term solutions to help you hit your health and fitness goals. Sure, you might see some quick progress but it probably won’t last.

Long story short – diets don’t work. Lifestyle changes do. Instead of getting suckered into the promises of quick results, be patient with your body. Make simple lifestyle changes to help get you closer to your goals. 

Increase your daily step count. Drink a few more ounces of water each day. Swap processed snacks for whole fruits, veggies, and nuts. Before you know it, you’ll create sustainable lifestyle habits that pay off in the long run.


3. You’re Still Skipping Workouts

If you’re skipping workouts because you’re tired or grouchy, chances are that your fad diet might be doing more harm than good. Even if you’re starving yourself or depriving yourself of junk foods or carbs – you might not be getting any closer to your goals. In fact, you might even be seeing weight gain.

Most fad diets fail because we stop seeing results. Though you might have seen quick progress, it’s not uncommon to stagnate as your energy dwindles and your body begs you to go back to the way things used to be.


4.Your Portions Are Unbalanced

You can’t out-exercise a bad diet. Yes, even a fad diet. If you’re filling your plate with processed foods or “healthy” frozen or fast foods, then you’re probably not going to see the desired effects and results that your fad diet promised.

Focus on balancing out your portion sizes. Your plate should incorporate healthy, lean proteins and a good dose of fresh fruits and vegetables. It will be easier to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight by simply cutting back on processed, high-fat, or high-sugar foods.


How to Hit Your Goals & Lose Weight Without a Fad Diet… Sustainably

Ok, so fad diets don’t work. But figuring out what the key is to lasting change can be a little bit tricky. The first step towards hitting those goals is digging into the why of the goals you’ve set.

There’s a reason that our society has become obsessed with diets; it’s because we’ve come to believe that skinny = fit & healthy. If you’re wanting to lose weight simply to fit that stereotypical mold, it might be time to reevaluate those goals.

The other key to creating sustainable lifestyle change is to pay attention to how your body responds to things. Keeping a food or fitness journal can help you track your gradual progress over a long-term period. Because eventually, all those small changes will add up to big improvements. It’s simply a matter of finding what works best for you and your body.


Conclusion: Ditch the Fad Diets for Whole Foods & Regular Physical Activity

People don’t fail diets. Instead, fad diets fail people. They set you up for failure from the beginning. Instead of getting stuck in the vicious cycle of fad dieting, making small, simple lifestyle decisions can help create sustainable change and get you closer to your health and fitness goals. 

It’s time to ditch those fad diets for platefuls of healthy foods and regular physical activity. Now, all that’s left to do is grab your high-quality activewear and get to sweating towards those goals.

Note: This blog provides general information and discussions about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.

Before you start any new diet or fitness regimen, always consult a registered dietitian or your doctor for professional medical advice and guidance on what’s best for you and your body. 

If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your health care provider or seek other professional medical treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that have read on this blog or in any linked materials.

The opinions and views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, health practice or other institution.


Ryan H


Ryan Hoang is a former fitness trainer, fashion entrepreneur, and creative force behind the modern activewear brand Centric. As a fitness enthusiast and apparel industry professional, he always strives to design and create high performance athletic apparel without compromising fashion for function. When he is not busy working on Centric, you will find him at the gym sweating it out or in the kitchen trying out new recipes.