Though a new one seemingly arrives each year boasting the potential for bigger and better results, fad diets might actually do more harm than good.
According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), fad diets often overemphasize one particular food or type of food, contradicting the longstanding medical emphasis on the health benefits of a balanced diet.
Whereas a balanced diet recommends eating a variety of foods from the Food Guide Pyramid, fad diets often place too great an emphasis on one specific group while minimizing if not completely ignoring the rest of the food groups.
While fad diets might show instant results, the FDA notes that long-term positive results, such as keeping weight off, are not common.
In addition, certain fad diets might promote weight loss but result in other, less noticeable side effects. For example, a high-protein diet could also be high in fat.
A diet high in fat could increase cholesterol levels in the blood, thereby increasing a person’s risk for heart disease and certain cancers.
The FDA also notes that no evidence exists to suggest that high-protein diets are effective in helping people maintain initial weight loss.
So, while fad diets might provide instant results, their effectiveness in the long term is unproven, and dieters could be putting themselves in a worse position than they’re already in.