If you are looking to shed kilograms or start eating better, there is no end to the number of fad diets on the market — promising everything from weight loss and detoxification to cures for cancer.
And while some are grounded in solid principles of nutrition, many offer advice that is not backed by any evidence and require drastic lifestyle changes that are unachievable for the average person.
Tim Crowe, Associate Professor of nutrition at Deakin University, said nutrition was a field where people were often considered experts “simply because they’ve got a story to tell”.
So how can you spot the diets to avoid?
Here are Associate Professor Crowe’s top three tell-tale signs of a dodgy diet.
1. Contradicts accepted nutrition and health guidelines
According to Associate Professor Crowe, the first thing to examine is whether the diet you are considering is following the same themes and general messages that are recommended by peak health bodies and credible experts.
“It’s the consistency of the message that’s important,” he said.
“If organisations like the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the Cancer Council, the Heart Foundation, Diabetes Australia, and so on are all saying the same thing and you’re hearing something very different, you’re right to question it.
“There is no government conspiracy to make us sick. They want to make us better.”
2. Cuts out whole food groups/focuses on foods with ‘disease-curing’ properties
Associate Professor Crowe said dodgy diets often have a fixation with a particular type of food or a way of eating.
“Buttered coffee comes to mind … loading up on butter, coconut oil, particular foods that are meant to have some additional health benefits,” he said.