Have you heard about the latest diet trend? You drink nothing but cranberry juice for seven days and drop 10 pounds. The next week, you go back to your regular eating habits, and the weight miraculously stays off. It sounds too good to be true, right? That's because it is.

When looking into a weight-loss plan, it's important to beware of fad diets those that promise major results with minimal time and effort. Although some of these plans may seem to work initially, any pounds you shed on them tend to come back quickly and in greater numbers. What's more, fad diets can pose serious health risks.

Spotting the Fakes

To start separating diet fact from fiction, ask yourself the following questions. If you answer yes, there's a good chance your diet is just a fad.


  • Does it promise a quick solution?
  • Does it eliminate at least one of the five food groups?
  • Does it pinpoint certain food categories as off-limits completely?
  • Does it make recommendations based solely on one study or testimonials?
  • Does it promise results without any physical activity?
  • Does it require a drastic change in your eating patterns?
  • Does it make promises that sound too good to be true?

Finding Healthy Solutions

Unlike fad diets, healthy plans generally encourage you to eat a variety of foods, and promise realistic results over a longer period of time. If you answer yes to the following, chances are, you're on the right track.


  • Does it include items from every food group?
  • Does it strongly encourage or require exercise?
  • Does it allow for food substitutions and a little wiggle room?
  • Does it include eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains?
  • Does it encourage you to reduce your intake of saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol?
  • Does it limit sweets, fast foods, and salt?
  • Does it limit or eliminate alcoholic beverages?
  • Does it control portion sizes and the total number of calories you consume?

Although fad diets may sound tempting because of their promises of quick weight loss, it's important to follow a realistic plan so you can lose and maintain a healthy weight.