Junkfood Science: Hard to tell the players without a score card

March 07, 2007

Hard to tell the players without a score card

“It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle!”

How often have we heard that one? Regardless of what they're called, the adage “diets don’t work” is more than a saying. Even the FTC’s scientific expert committee recently acknowledged that no weight loss method has ever been proven to be effective long-term and that virtually all weight is regained within five years. It’s the rule, not the exception.

Which always makes the attempts of various interests to differentiate their diet and weight loss techniques from a “fad” diet — as if that distinction somehow makes a difference — a source of endless amusement for obesity researchers. (Those not selling their own weight loss programs and research, of course.)

March is National Nutrition Month and the Midland Reporter-Telegram attempts, once again, to make the distinction:

Dieters should avoid fad diets that promise rapid weight loss

....As nutrition professionals, we stress all Americans try to be "100 percent fad-free." That sounds great, but how many people actually know what a fad is? The answer is — not many. But I want to change that. A fad diet is one that promises quick weight loss and usually consists of eating unhealthy foods or unbalanced meals. All diets, diet pills, or any other product that is advertised to help you to lose weight can be considered a fad.

To determine if a diet is a fad, you may want to ask yourself the following questions....

Does it sound too good to be true?

Does the diet help a company sell products?

Does it lack scientific evidence or support?

And does the diet provide a list of "good" or "bad" foods?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, then the diet in question is a fad diet and not worthy of your time....

Tomorrow, we’ll look at the latest study that’s added fuel to the dueling diets — you know the one! — and discover facts about the study and body of evidence that have’t been reported anywhere else.

Bookmark and Share