University of Sourthern California


Choosing the Right Diet for Your Health


Understanding Fad Diets

Fad diets like the Keto diet are on the radar of public health officials thanks to their rapid results and potential health risks.

Fad diets can take many forms, but they generally offer too-good-to-be-true results, including quick weight loss or weight loss without exercise. Other common features include the elimination of certain foods or the addition of dietary supplements. Fad diets you may be familiar with include Whole30, Keto, Atkins, or Paleo diets.

The Impact of Fad Diets: Short-Term Results, Long-Term Danger

Fad diets may offer temporary results, but they can lead to wider implications for your health. You might gain weight back, miss essential nutrients, or experience emotional distress like stress or depression — especially with food or time restrictions. Fad diets also can be unsustainable, both for budgets and for the planet.

Healthy Diets for People and the Planet

While fad diets may not be a lasting weight-loss solution, it’s possible to shape a nutrition plan that supports weight loss and a healthy planet by figuring out what kinds of changes can fit into your current lifestyle. Some considerations include an average of 2,500 calories/day, 14g of red meat/day, and key foods like milk and green vegetables. Some diets featuring healthy recommendations include the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet. No matter what, it’s essential to find the diet that’s right for you your lifestyle.

Staying on Track with Your Diet

If you’ve started a new diet but are worried about meeting your goals, there are a number of tools to help. Avoid diet fatigue with a meal plan, prepping a variety of food in advance or signing up for a food delivery service. Be knowledgeable about your eating choices with free healthy eating apps or a healthy eating class at your local library. Find support in your local or online communities and keep each other on the right track.

To learn more about the potential downsides of fad diets, review the below infographic by the online MPH degree program at Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Infographic Sources: