Diet Marketing Red Flags


In case you missed it, we now have posts breaking down the keto, Paleo, alkaline and raw food diets, along with intermittent fasting.

The reality is, diet, nutrition and food are never one-size-fits-all. While an emphasis on whole, nutrient-rich foods is a nice feature of some of these diets, their fault consistently lies in their unsustainability and unnecessarily rigid food rules.

Here are some red flags to keep in mind if you’re considering making a change to your eating pattern:

  • Someone is charging you money for a nutritional “secret” that no one else knows about. If it really worked, we’d all know about it by now.

  • There are phases with titles that imply dramatic effects on your body in a short period of time. Your body doesn’t need to “Cruise,” “Consolidate,” or “Attack” anything. It just needs to be properly, consistently nourished.

  • After the diet you can “do whatever you want” because your body has been “fixed” or “reset.” Your body needs the same things after a diet or cleanse that it needed before. Short-term deprivation does nothing to change the energy or nutrient requirements of your body.

  • You should avoid a food or food groups that entire cultures have based their diets on. There are multiple diet plans that demonize foods like soy and rice. Meanwhile, these foods are consumed in greater proportion in southeast Asia than anywhere else in the world; and yet, these parts of the world have lower rates of metabolic disease than anywhere else! One or two individual foods are not the problem for anyone.

  • The diet suggests weight loss of four or more pounds per week. While restricting carbohydrates will initially create a significant loss in water weight, no diet approach will (or should) create a loss of four or more pounds per week. If it is, your body is in a state of severe deprivation.

  • “No physical activity needed!” Being physically fit is important regardless of what you eat or what you weigh. The fittest people live the longest, healthiest lives (on average); this is much more consistent predictor of health and longevity than weight numbers. If your goal is to take care of your personal health, you need to account for moving your body in an enjoyable, sustainable way.

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