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Nutrition Notes With Ilana Muhlstein—7 Fad Diet Truths You Can’t Ignore

Posted: Tuesday, June 28, 2016 – 11:04 AM

Diets do not work, and it has been proven over and over again. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and countless peer reviewed research journal articles keep reporting the same conclusion; that fad, too-easy-to-be-true diets do not work. Losing weight and keeping it off requires a whole new lifestyle and behavioral approach that requires focus and effort, like all wonderful things in life.

The most ironic line people tell me is “I did Atkins/paleo/cleanse/shakes/grapefruit/etc. and it worked really well, but then I gained it all back and then some.” That line, in and of itself, means that the diet didn’t work! I think we can all agree that just about any catchy sounding diet that interferes with your past unhealthy habits can get you to lose weight very quickly. However, a true measure of a successful weight loss program is one that is realistic and attainable, and results in long term weight maintenance.

1. Diet stands for “Did I Eat That?” They actually increase your obsession and preoccupation with food, making your thoughts and cravings for your comfort foods even more intense and harder to ignore. 

2. 99.5 percent of fad dieters regain their weight, which makes the diets’ failures, not you.

3. Those before and after pictures are all photoshopped. I used to know somebody who was responsible for editing them and would brag about getting someone to look like they had lost 60 pounds in a matter of 10 minutes. 

4. 1-2 pounds is a lot of weight! A lot of people have tried a horrible fad diet in the past and lost a silly amount of weight in a short period of time and gained it all back just as quickly; yet still keep that unrealistic weight loss expectation. Just remember, if you lost 1-2 pounds a week, you’d be down 15-30 pounds by Labor Day alone.

5. It is all a money game. The weight loss market is a $64 billion dollar market, it all comes down to trying to sell you something new every bathing suit season. If there were really a magic pill or shake, wouldn’t everyone be taking it?

6. There is no one size fits all solution. Working one-on-one with a registered dietitian, to uncover your unique emotional and behavioral circumstances, has been consistently proven to be the most effective tool for getting people to lose weight and keep it off.

7. And no, “health coaches,” “lifestyle coaches,” “nutritionists,” “acupuncturists,” “holistic nutritionists,” “wellness leaders,” and personal trainers are not the same.

And in the meantime, focus on “water first, veggies most ” and you will start being well on your way to that Labor Day goal.

 Ilana Muhlstein, R.D.N. is a Beverly Hills-based registered dietitian nutritionist. At UCLA she has led a benchmark weight loss and health promotion program, titled the Bruin Health Improvement Program (BHIP), and is the dietitian on the hit show Fit to Fat to Fit on A&E.


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