I’ll go out on a limb and say that you’ve probably tried quite a few FAD diets. Fuck, you might be on one of them now.
The problem with FADs is, as one of my clients, Kerry, put it,
Too many rules and no fun = no way to live. There has to be a way to do it (lose weight) right and not feel so deprived and/or guilty.
Indeed there is.
But first, you need to know if your diet is FAD-Zoned. If a diet you chose has one or more of the following characteristics, get a new friggn’ diet.
Disclaimer: Strong language with 13 “fucks” used. But fuck it, who cares?… Shit… 14 “fucks.”
1. Lack Of Compelling Scientific Support
There are real, science-based approaches to nutrition, and then there are approaches (diets) that have no consistent scientific support. Detoxes, cleanses, Paleo, carnivore, etc. sound sexy (and sex sells).
But you gotta look beyond that.
Check if a diet you want to hop on has at least some scientific backup.
However, as the saying goes—you can prove anything with one study. That’s why you want to look into meta-analysis and systematic reviews.
These are reliable studies to determine conclusions because they review all relevant scientific research on the topic (a single study may be biased).
2. Lack Of Focus On Personal Preference
As I said in what’s the best diet article, your diet should honor your personal preferences. It shouldn’t ignore your food choices or macronutrient distribution (protein, carbohydrate, fat).
For example, if you love carbohydrates, going full-blown keto is very fucking stupid (here’s why keto is a dumb diet). Likewise, if you like grains and fruits, traveling back through time to the Paleolithic era, and Paleo-ing the shit out of yourself is even more stupid.
Don’t do dumbfuck things with your nutrition. Honor your food preferences. Don’t let a certain diet dictate what you can and can’t eat. That’s your choice to make. Only you have this freedom of choice.
3. Mandatory Rules For Foods To Eat & Avoid
A paleo diet allows lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and forbids dairy products, legumes, and grains. A carnivore diet tells you to exclusively eat meat and eliminate all plant foods.
How fucking retarded is that?
As James Fell, a writer for the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune noted,
Food should be a source of enjoyment and placing a bunch of unrealistic and unnecessary restrictions on what we can eat creates a mentality where food transforms from being a welcome friend to a detested enemy.
How fucking smart is that?
You don’t have to eliminate ANY food from your diet and you don’t need to rip up your current diet and start a different diet to lose weight. What you need is to understand your current diet a little bit better and make appropriate tweaks that would lead to reduced caloric intake.
4. Macronutrient Restriction Without Objective Clinical Justification
The keto diet was developed to stop seizures in epileptic children. It somehow became the most popular diet these days where you restrict carbohydrates to ~50 grams for no fucking reason at all.
Neither carbohydrates, neither fat nor protein in isolation makes you fat. The only way to gain fat is by consuming too many calories on a consistent basis.
So if you have no clinical reason to do it, don’t fucking cut carbohydrates from your diet in hopes of faster fat loss. Cuz’ studies investigating the keto diet vs a high carb diet find no difference in fat loss when calories and protein are equated.1
You’re restricting nutritious foods for no reason whatsoever.
5. Reliance On Testimonials Instead Of Scientific Data
Have you seen “The Game Changers,” the Netflix “documentary” about the benefits of a vegan diet?
It’s more like a comedy-drama than a documentary. People just sit there and give rubbish testimonials that appeal to emotions rather than actual data.
And even when they do present data behind the supposed superiority of a plant-based diet, it’s twisted, it supports only their side, or it’s plain incorrect.
Always beware of testimonials that start with “It worked great for me…” because it usually ends with “…therefore you should try it too.”
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6. Promises Ease But Lacks Sustainability
Any coach worth their salt will tell you that the most important part about ANY diet is that you should enjoy it and SUSTAIN it long term.
If you picked a diet that you can’t sustain for long enough to get lasting results, then what the fuck are you doing? What’s the point of it?
Keto promises easy results—just forego carbohydrates and step into a wonderland called “ketosis.” A shredded midsection—g.u.a.r.a.n.t.e.e.d. Atkins diet shares the same idea and the Dukan diet consists almost entirely of unlimited lean-protein foods.
But can you sustain it? Can you see yourself keeping this up for a year? If the answer is “NO,” then stay the fuck away from that idiotic diet.
7. Promises Quick Weight Loss But Forgets To Mention Risks
“Clean” eating promises quick results and encourages you to consume more whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats.
Holly fuck! Sounds like capital-A Awesome diet, aye?
But no one tells you that “clean” eating also leads to labeling food as “good” and “bad.”
As Alan Aragon noted,
Calling a food “good” or “bad” gives it undeserved power because if there’s “clean” food, there has to be a “dirty/bad” too. “Bad” foods become forbidden fruits. This is a shitty situation where overeating and binging on those “bad” foods often occur because, remember, you crave what you are not allowed to eat.
The same goes for keto, low-carb, Atkins diets, etc.—you swear off carbohydrates just to end up binging on them once willpower to resist them chips away. Your life turns into a cycle of deprive and binge, deprive and binge.
If you have to kill yourself and ruin a healthy relationship with food to lose weight faster, it might be worth finding a new way to get there.
8. Incomplete Provision Of Essential Nutrients
“Hey, wanna be my friend? Become vegan” – Me: Nah, dairy improves bone health and comes with vital nutrients for health such as calcium, potassium, vitamin D.2
“Uhm… Keto then?” – Fuck off. I love carbs. I need them to perform my best in the gym and not just to survive. Just because you can survive without carbs doesn’t mean it’s optimal.
What I’m trying to say is that if you become vegan and all of a sudden you are deficient in iron and zinc, it tells me that your diet is suboptimal.
The same goes for all diets—they should ensure that most of your main meals are balanced in all three macronutrients to get essential nutrients. No food or food group should be off-limits unless you have an allergy.
9. Promotes Special Products Or Supplements
If you go to Mark Sisson’s (the “father” or Paleo diet) website, you would be greeted with “primal fuel drink mixes,” “keto reset mastery course,” “the NEW primal blueprint book.”
Gotta buy them, of course, because, you know… you can’t start Paleo without all that crap apparently.
Always be a skeptical bastard—if starting a diet requires buying a bottle of “keto-compatible” organic hot dog water for $38 a bottle, you better check your FAD Diet Bullshit Detector readings. They are probably off the charts.
If overly restrictive, rigid FAD diets worked, you wouldn’t be reading all those “fucks” right now. If FADs worked, you’d be at your desired body weight. But they don’t work for most people.
So before you dive straight into the latest FAD and get caught up in all the hype, remember that most of the time, the hype is all that is. Instead of falling for FADs, you should:
- Eat a wide variety of foods that you enjoy.
- Eat an adequate amount of ALL foods to support your training.
- Avoid absolutism in your diet.
- Be patient and consistent with a focus on long-term dietary sustainability.