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Are fad diets healthy?

Are fad diets healthy??noresize

It’s no secret that wellness and fitness are all the rage right now. You can snag a green juice on every corner and a new workout top practically anywhere. Macros, keto, gluten-free… the list goes on and on of the words we overhear in the gym and skim over too many times on the web. If you’re unsure, look no further. I’m here to break these health buzzwords down so you can be a part of the convo and convince your friends and colleagues that “diets” may not be so cool, but lifestyle changes are!


The Keto Diet is one of the most popular fad diets out there today. You may also know it as the ketogenic diet, low carb diet or low carb high fat (LCHF)… pretty much, the diet that primarily focuses on fat. Keto emphasizes a diet high in fat, moderate in protein and very low in carbohydrates. The Keto diet’s goal is to train your body to burn ketone fats as a primary energy source instead of glucose, which we get from carbohydrates. Ketosis is the state in which you’re striving for – a natural process initiated by the body when food intake is inadequate. This is an extremely restrictive diet because the lower your carbohydrate intake, the sooner your body will enter ketosis. Obviously, any highly restrictive diet is difficult to sustain over long periods of time. While people see quick weight loss following the Keto Diet, the initial “weight” is water weight and unfortunately, any fat loss is quickly regained once normal eating resumes. We and our friends at Today’s Dietitian like to remind people that a Ketogenic Diet is only medically used to treat refractory seizures, typically for children…


The main idea of the Paleo Diet is if cavemen didn’t eat it, then neither should you. Advocates of the Paleo lifestyle argue that humans did not evolve to digest a variety of modern foods. It all sounds fun until you realize what’s excluded: dairy, grains and legumes (peas, beans, peanuts). The foods that are allowed when following a Paleo diet is practically anything you could hunt or gather back in the Stone age – fish, nuts, meats, vegetables, fruits and seeds.

Intermittent Fasting

Not exactly a diet but more-so a way of eating, Intermittent Fasting, or IF, is all about when you eat, rather than what and how much you eat. IF follows eating patterns that cycle between periods of eating and fasting and can be done in a few different ways. The first approach combines days of normal to high caloric intake with a few days of extreme restriction. The second and most common method is to eat your entire daily intake in a small window of time. The bottom line - this is not the most sustainable way of eating. The most difficult part about IF is that you can relapse, easily and quickly, back to your old eating habits losing all progress that was made.

Gluten-free, Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Disease

“Gluten-free” is taking grocery store shelves and restaurants by storm. Anyone who’s anyone has heard the term, but how many of you know what gluten really is? Gluten is a protein composite found in wheat and other grains; it’s an important component that gives many foods their nutritional value. 

Celiac Disease is a true gluten allergy. It is an auto-immune disease in which the gluten protein activates a specific immune response to attack the villi, the tissue within the small intestine responsible for nutrient absorption. Celiac disease is difficult to diagnose, hereditary and affects a small population of individuals in the US - approximately 1% of people in the US and UK. Recent findings suggest that there is also a natural range of gluten sensitivity within normal populations. Celiac and gluten sensitivity are two very different things. While Celiac is rarer, research suggests that there may be an additional 18 million individuals with some form of gluten sensitivity in the US.  When individuals with gluten sensitivity consume gluten, they do not experience small intestine damage or test positive for the antibody produced during a Celiac autoimmune response. The list of symptoms for gluten sensitivity is a long one and may include: abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, “foggy mind”, depression, bone or joint pain, headaches and/or fatigue. The only true treatment for Celiac Disease or gluten sensitivity is to follow a strict gluten-free diet.

If you believe you may have Celiac or be gluten-sensitive, consult a medical professional. Going gluten-free, may it be a personal choice or recommended by a health care professional, does not guarantee automatic weight loss. However, a nutritious gluten-free diet may lead to a person eating more unprocessed foods, which are nutritionally rich, lower in calories and higher in fiber. The result could be an improved diet and a greater likelihood of weight loss. Even if you do not have a gluten sensitivity, replacing processed foods (that may or may not contain gluten) with nutritious non-processed fruits, vegetables and lean meats will likely improve your energy levels and reduce bloating and water retention. You can achieve this result with both a gluten-free diet and a gluten-containing diet. This balanced diet, eaten in proper portions, can lead to successful weight loss.

We at OnPoint Nutrition believe the best way to eat incorporates a balance of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, nuts and seeds. We teach our clients how to balance their food intake to include all food groups in moderation, creating a sustainable lifestyle that can be sustained for the long haul. We stand behind the belief that whole grains, legumes, dairy and healthy fats play an important role in every diet, whether you’re looking to lose, gain or maintain your current weight. Keep in mind that everyone is different and has diverse needs. If you want to try something new, go for it (after you do your research and consult your doctor)! Just remember, listening to and taking care of your body is the most important aspect of all things health and wellness. 

To learn ways to avoid fad and yo-yo dieting and apply sustainable approaches to weight loss, download our No Diet Nutrition Guide

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With so many rigid diets and information about quick fixes on how to look and feel great, it can be hard to find which program is right for you. At OnPoint Nutrition, our personalized programs offers one-on-one coaching from a qualified team of dietitians and nutritionists to help you reach your health goals.