Top 5 Ways to Spot a Fad Diet


There are a lot of great reasons why you should improve your diet, and managing your weight is absolutely one of them. But whatever your reason for starting your weight loss – or weight gain – journey, determining what dietary changes to incorporate into your routine can seem overwhelming. It may also seem like it’s common sense to figure out which foods you should be eating and which to be avoiding. Unfortunately, bad advice is just about everywhere you turn, with so many sources telling you what dietary practices are right and wrong. You might find that you’re confronted with conflicting advice every which way you turn. Much of the advice you hear is most likely contributing to the use of Fad Diets – trendy and often ineffective ways to lose weight or improve your health.

At Viome, we’ve compiled a list of things for you to look out for. If you see any of these items, or more than one, you’re most likely not looking at a beneficial weight loss plan – you’re more likely looking at a waste of time and money. The wrong diet for you can actually put your health at even greater risk, not to mention lead your gut down a path that may take much longer to heal.

1.     Extremely Rigid Rules You Must Abide By

If the first thing you see is a shortlist of do’s followed by an extremely long list of don’t’s, that restrictive diet is bound to be a Fad Diet. Studies have shown that extremely restrictive diets reduce how likely an individual is to stick with a diet, increasing incidences of binge-eating and yo-yo dieting. In truth, a healthy and optimal diet will include a variety of foods that may even shift based on the needs of the individual as time passes.

2.     The Promise of a Quick Fix

Unfortunately, healthy weight loss can be a slow and gradual process. Stories of rapid weight loss should immediately make you feel uncomfortable as our bodies are not meant to undergo extreme weight changes. In fact, this can be a sign of very unhealthy practices or yo-yo diets. In many cases, rapid weight loss can result in unwarranted harm to your body. It takes time for healthy practices to take effect, but with patience, your steady results are also more likely to be long-term.

3.     Requires the Use of “Brand X” Supplements

Making significant changes in your diet can seem overwhelming, which is why finding supplements to ease the burden might seem like a smart move. Despite the prevalence of supplements on the market, not all supplements are created equal. It can be a tedious task to research and determine the best products on the market. Unless you know exactly where a product quality stands, any diet that solely suggests supplements from one company deserves caution. Supplements can be beneficial – if chosen carefully – but any diet that absolutely requires their specific supplements to achieve results most likely cares more about sales than health.

4.     Makes Claims Not Backed by Science

This one hits us at Viome hard. In case you forgot, nutrition is a science and requires clinical relevancy. Any nutritional claim should always be backed by science. If you’re considering a diet that only provides anecdotal evidence without any sign of clinical research, that diet might have an issue with transparency. You can typically find this information with ease on a company’s website. If it’s backed by science, they’ll be very forthcoming with information. Many diets are fraught with stories of how this diet or this food made someone lose weight, but if these results cannot be repeated – you have a Fad Diet on your hands, and most likely not a very good one.

5.     One-Size-Fits-All Approach

One of the most fundamental issues with generic dietary advice has been the assumption that there is such a thing as a universal optimal diet. If the recommendations of a plan suggest that there is one particular diet or food that always results in changes in weight, they’re most likely bluffing results. Variances in hormones, activity, food sensitivity, digestion, and gut microbiome have all been shown to impact how we respond to different foods – Viome has even conducted such a clinical trial that showed differences in blood glucose levels among individuals who consumed the same foods. This remains a classic example of how Fad Diets fail to address the unique requirements of each person.

Fad Diets often cut out key foods, putting you at risk of dehydration, weakness, constipation, and often resulting in inadequate intake of many vitamins and minerals. Instead of taking an approach of restriction, it’s better to welcome an opportunity to find what’s right for you – which is why Viome goes against the grain of Fad Diets.

Instead, we focus on whole foods that help stabilize your gut microbiome and optimize your health. This means incorporating foods that fit the needs of your body today, maximizing their access to vitamins and minerals through real foods, and recommending supplements only when your health requires an extra boost. At Viome, we do more than just list what microbes live inside your gut, we assess various physiological pathways to determine how healthy your gut ecosystem is. This allows us to truly provide foods that will take your gut health to the next level. Following your Viome dietary recommendations won’t lead you down a path of nutritional compromise – it’s there to guide you toward optimal health by expanding what you know about food and building you a plan that’s specific and unique to you.

Improving your health doesn’t have to be hard. Take the thinking and the hours of research on your laptop out of the equation and consider placing your trust in a company willing to see you for the individual you are. We’ll stand with you every step of the way and our results aren’t just anecdotal – we have the research to back it up. Don’t waste your time on a fad diet sure to fail, or even a lengthy elimination diet that requires months to see results. See what Viome may do for you and finally see the results you’ve been waiting for.