There are over 6000 fad diets published online and a review of these has revealed some themes that nutrition professionals would appreciate:
- The Importance of Diet
Fad diets have done our field a favor by supporting the notion that diet influences many aspects of life. Compared to those who would never think of changing their diet to feel better, people who reach to fad diets are contemplating the connection between diet and body. The authors of fad diets undeniably connect dietary intake with physiology…although the devil is in the details. Be aware of this broad perspective and use this connection to help your patients.
- Dietary Awareness
All fad diets require that followers be aware of the food they are consuming. Many who try fad diets become aware of their previous eating patterns, their specific food choices, and alternative choices available to them. This is a great opportunity for nutrition professionals to encourage further awareness and increase dietary knowledge.
- Behavior Change
In one way or another, fad diets have dietary limitations and allowances. Whether it be specific foods that need to be avoided or times in which consumption can occur, followers are learning skills related to dietary behavior change. Some of these diets are extremely difficult to follow, but aside from the specific details, followers are gaining experience with behavior change, even if it is only temporary.
- Dietary Planning
Many fad diets require a lot of planning to maintain compliance. This provides the followers with practice developing grocery lists, looking up menus before eating out, and planning alternatives when eating away from home. Fad diet followers often learn to use planning as a technique to overcome barriers to behavior change. Again, these are all desirable skills that will come in handy when working to make dietary changes for life.
It is time to eliminate the notion that nutrition professionals are negative nay-sayers that will not work around the preferences of their patients. Progressive nutrition professionals recognize that not everything is in black or white. Do not choose righteousness over relationships. Try to see things from the perspective of fad diet followers and help them build on the skills that they have already acquired.
The Author: Devon L. Golem, PhD, RD
Dr. Golem earned a PhD in Nutritional Science with an emphasis in Exercise Science from Rutgers University. As the founder of the Institute of Continuing Education for Nutrition Professionals, she is dedicated to helping nutrition professionals become their best.
Request to Join one of her LinkedIn Groups: