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How to spot a fad diet – Mia Nacamulli

Conventional wisdom about diets, including government
health recommendations, seems to change all the time. And yet, ads routinely come about claiming to have the answer
about what we should eat. So how do we distinguish
what’s actually healthy from what advertisers just want us
to believe is good for us? Marketing takes advantage of
the desire to drop weight fast, and be stronger, slimmer, and brighter. And in the big picture, diet plans
promising dramatic results, known as fad diets, are just what they seem:
too good to be true. So where do diet fads even come from? While the Ancient Greeks and Romans rallied behind large-scale
health regimens centuries earlier, this phenomenon began in earnest
in the Victorian Era with crazes like the vinegar diet and the Banting Diet. Since then, diets have advised us
all sorts of things: to excessively chew, to not chew at all, to swallow a grapefruit per meal, non-stop cabbage soup, even consumption of arsenic, or tapeworms. If the idea of diet crazes
has withstood history, could this mean that they work? In the short term,
the answer is often yes. Low-carbohydrate plans, like the popular Atkins
or South Beach Diets, have an initial diuretic effect. Sodium is lost until the body
can balance itself out, and temporary fluid weight loss may occur. With other high-protein diets,
you might lose weight at first since by restricting your food choices, you are dropping
your overall calorie intake. But your body then lowers
its metabolic rate to adjust to the shift, lessening the diet’s effect over time and resulting in a quick reversal
if the diet is abandoned. So while these diets
may be alluring early on, they don’t guarantee long-term benefits
for your health and weight. A few simple guidelines, though,
can help differentiate between a diet that is beneficial
in maintaining long-term health, and one that only offers temporary
weight changes. Here’s the first tipoff: If a diet focuses on intensely cutting
back calories or on cutting out entire food groups, like fat, sugar, or carbohydrates, chances are it’s a fad diet. And another red flag is ritual, when the diet in question instructs you
to only eat specific foods, prescribed combinations, or to opt for particular food substitutes, like drinks, bars, or powders. The truth is shedding pounds
in the long run simply doesn’t have a quick-fix solution. Not all diet crazes tout weight loss. What about claims of superfoods, cleanses,
and other body-boosting solutions? Marketing emphasizes the allure of products associated with ancient
and remote cultures to create a sense of mysticism
for consumers. While so-called superfoods,
like blueberries or açaí, do add a powerful punch of nutrients, their super transformative qualities
are largely exaggeration. They are healthy additions
to a balanced diet, yet often, they’re marketed
as part of sugary drinks or cereals, in which case the negative properties
outweight the benefits. Cleanses, too, may be great in moderation since they can assist
with jumpstarting weight loss and can increase the number of fresh
fruits and vegetables consumed daily. Scientifically speaking, though, they’ve not yet been shown to have
either a long-term benefit or to detox the body any better than
the natural mechanisms already in place. Everywhere we look, we’re offered solutions
to how we can look better, feel fitter, and generally get ahead. Food is no exception, but advice on what we should eat is best
left to the doctors and nutritionists who are aware of our
individual circumstances. Diets and food fads
aren’t inherently wrong. Circumstantially,
they might even be right, just not for everyone all of the time.

Randall Smitham



  1. bad time Posted on April 19, 2016 at 1:21 am

    Honestly I don't get why everyone is so crazy about losing weight. Like, I get if you are obese or largely overweight or are unhealthy, however I do not find attractiveness in people purposefully making themselves as wide as Planck Length. Weight does not correspond to attractiveness.

  2. GirtheAlienGoldfish Posted on April 19, 2016 at 10:48 am

    I.e. People thinking they're suddenly allergic to gluten.

  3. Aguell cind Posted on April 19, 2016 at 11:32 am

    I was always a coffee drinker the same reason most people are I suppose, because of the boost it gave me. But after a while I started feeling bad effect from the caffeine and decided to switch over to something caffeine free. I found Weight Loss Green Store Tea completely by chance one day but after reading more about it I was interested enough to give it a shot. I never gave losing weight much of a thought but when I read it was also a diet supplement I looked at the mirror said to myself I could stand to lose a few pounds as well

  4. linguaphile Posted on April 19, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    It's simple:
    – eat (foods that aren't bad for you) whenever you're hungry, don't skip meals
    – have no psychological issues whatsoever

  5. Maryland Posted on April 20, 2016 at 1:33 am

    0:24 Bra flies out of he screen.

  6. Jesus Flores Posted on April 20, 2016 at 1:47 am

    yup that's me i eat lots of food and never get fat infact i get skinnyer

  7. Sun Posted on April 20, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    Those characters looks like the 'Mumin trolls' (Or what they are called)
    So cute!

  8. Olie O Posted on April 21, 2016 at 12:00 am

    "Lowers its metabolic rate to adjust to the shift" Ted Ed just lost all credibility, do research before you make a video. Your body doesn't just stop using its organs and doing normal functions to lower its metabolic rate because you eat less, why do you think the body stores fat in the first place?

  9. Matthew Ouyang Posted on April 21, 2016 at 6:32 am

    Fast metabolism, boom! Best diet: ANYTHING!!!

  10. Human't Posted on April 21, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    ┳┻| _
    ┻┳| •.• ) -Daddy, are all the spammers gone?

    <,︻╦╤─ ҉ – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

  11. Francis Lai Posted on April 21, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    Spinach is actually not the super food you thought. The researcher working at the lab misput a decimal, so it seems spinach had ten times the iron. In reality, a hearty broccoli will do just the same.

  12. DarkShadows713 Posted on April 22, 2016 at 5:06 am

    So what I'm hearing is, use fad diets before a high school reunion for quick, easy, yet temporary weight loss?

  13. Living Lifeform Posted on April 26, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    Nutrionists are fine, but don't listen to doctors, they have less then a days worth of nutrition training in their 5 year medical school.

  14. Do_it_for_Da_Dopamine Posted on April 27, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    I know this sounds like a fad diet, but just go paleo it works so well, I swear, I lost 20 pounds in 4 weeks!

  15. Logan Posted on May 15, 2016 at 1:56 am


  16. Kagome Posted on May 21, 2016 at 5:12 am

    Hi Ted-ed, I have a question.. Where does sexism come from? I mean do god just create woman just so man can think lesser of us? If no where does this believe come from?

  17. Campa El bob 1523 Posted on May 21, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    why some people eat fast foods and what ever want and don't get fat and please don't say to me because they are active and athletic my brother is skinny eat what ever he want and he's very very lazy dude

  18. Mr.Burger Beef Posted on June 5, 2016 at 1:17 pm


  19. Nishka Raman Posted on June 26, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    the 21st century needs this

  20. Barış ALTUN Posted on June 28, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    At least we are mostly sure about not to eat.

  21. }{ 悲しいです Posted on July 12, 2016 at 11:54 pm

    Here is why fad diets do NOT work: first of all things like burgers with less calories have more salt and sodium so u don't have as much hydration left so u thin out

  22. Caduzeus Posted on July 25, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    – Are you tired of diets that never work AND do not have any bacon in them?
    – Is 'exercise' a curse-word that limits the time you have for stuffing your face with meat?
    – Would you like a PERMANENT and TASTY solution to all your weight-related problems?

    Let me recommend you my ALL-BACON-DIET! That's right: a diet with all-bacon, all-day, every day!

    Are you too thin? Eat bacon and gain mass!
    Are you too fat? Eat bacon and lose mass!*
    Are you just fine? Eat bacon and feel great!

    Still having doubts? How about some quotes** to soothe your suspicions:

    "Eating bacon every day is the corner-stone of a balanced diet."
    – US Surgeon General

    "Bacon is great for keeping your heart healthy. I always eat bacon."
    – Every doctor in the world

    "Why even bother if it doesn't taste like bacon?"
    – Martha Stewart

    Act now and go get yours from a store near you!

    *Requires strong faith and magic. Eating bacon may cause weight gain.
    **Not direct quotes.

  23. Forte Astro Posted on August 23, 2016 at 1:24 am

    I'm okay with gaining weight/mass as I need more strength/size. mobility/cardio are a second.

  24. hihihihi Posted on August 25, 2016 at 9:07 am

    you shouldn't trust all nutritionists some of them get paid just to further promote a product like supplements or something

  25. Padraic loingsigh Posted on August 27, 2016 at 5:50 am

    health food vegan diet is ideal for all.

  26. 가나다 Posted on August 28, 2016 at 2:06 am

    Spot이 아니라 stop아닌가요?

  27. Duncan Thaw Posted on September 22, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    I wholeheartedly disagree with your conclusion. There is absolutely no ground for us to trust the doctors to know what is good for us. Let's all remember the nice little war on fat waged in the U.S. and, by extention, parts of Europe. It only saw the percentage of overweight and obese people soar. The hard truth is that where certainty of pathology ends, doctors are largely clueless.

    Otherwise, given that everybody has an access to a medical professional nowadays, don't you think we would all have learnt to eat a little heathier by now?

    Me neither. And I have been able to confirm this countless times, ranging from veteran doctors to my acquaintances who study medicine, nobody really has a clue. A practical doctor is not a nutritionist, and you should only weigh their advice as you would anybody else's. If they look like a raisin with a sagging midsection in their early forties, chances are they wont offer you any solution that you can't already figure out for yourself.

  28. Linky Posted on September 26, 2016 at 1:49 am

    0:42 Wuh… Can these guys seriously date everything back to some guy a couple thousand years ago? *But where did the ShamWow come from? It is said in Hindu folk lore passed down through generations of man that the ShamWow was a token that could absorb godly amounts of liquids with ease*

  29. PRGME7 Posted on September 27, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    I'm on a all cake diet it makes me thin!

  30. Dilni Kodippili Posted on October 8, 2016 at 4:00 pm


  31. Czesnek Posted on December 5, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    Diversity is the key to a good health.

  32. bob amelmahay Posted on December 7, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    You have no Idea what you are talking about. you never mentioned the fact that there are 4 blood types. Are you that stupid? Remember the word DIETBYDNA. You should stop making videos about things you do not understand.

  33. Lemon Curry Posted on December 11, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    I don't understand how a diet can improve your brain capacities as mentionned in this video. The idea alone is ridiculous…

  34. Ceca Siahaan Posted on December 19, 2016 at 8:04 am


  35. Maria Posted on January 14, 2017 at 5:11 am

    I've been on the South Beach Diet for over 10 years, and it has served me well. More research could have been done in regards this diet.

  36. CloudShifter Posted on January 29, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    Trust chew each bite about 17-20 times and you will be less hungry (100%), can never put on weight while having this habbit :C

  37. Brittany Michelle Posted on January 31, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    I follow The China Study. So many doctors aren't properly educated on nutrition. I really like the animation in this video, but I ended up disappointed.

  38. Kalsonic Posted on February 15, 2017 at 12:20 am

    So much flaw in their argument.

    4:07 Hah. Backtracking your statement already?

  39. Rocio Silverroot Posted on February 20, 2017 at 12:29 am

    It's not sodium that causes a diuretic effect. It's the loss of glycogen in the liver from eating fewer carbs.

  40. Dani Vieira Posted on May 8, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    Yet there are shit loads of doctors, nutritionist and scientists instigating all the FAD diets, its all economics like every thing else…most often there is money behind them to make them say that…and by the way, science is crap nowadays…they just do math correlations and associations in human study's or analises of biological function's in animals like rats and pig's…they don't know shit hehe, its sad but its a reality…

  41. SPN Normal Posted on May 15, 2017 at 10:56 am

    How much do you weigh isn't important at all. Only size does matter.

  42. AnonymMC Posted on May 15, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    Green Tea is my superfood.

  43. charles dupee Posted on June 6, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    god just use the japanese porn star diet you can eat as much as u want but only paper

  44. Faith M. Posted on June 11, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    Does anybody other than me think the representations of people in this video look like the Pianta form Super Mario Sunshine? I think so.

  45. The Pencil Cunts Posted on June 13, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    I'm that guy who can eat whatever he wants, and then it disappears in my stomach.

  46. The Sweet Shop Posted on July 21, 2017 at 8:10 am

    Ted ed is the one source I really trust im happy they made this video

  47. Lucas Layton Posted on July 23, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    I literally eat ice cream and pizza every week. I also go to the gym regularly so i got a muscular physique. You can whatever you want as long as you go to the gym.

  48. Thirsty Tweaker Posted on August 6, 2017 at 8:52 am

    Hilarious but very informative video – many thanks for uploading!! 😄👍🏽

  49. Alden Posted on September 17, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    My mom is on atkins, and it has worked wonders for her. There might be a plateau, but you can help fix that with a "carb-up" day

  50. bonanzatime Posted on November 14, 2017 at 5:47 am

    what about fasting?

  51. Froad Posted on November 18, 2017 at 5:59 am

    Atkins works though

  52. Jillian Michelle Posted on November 18, 2017 at 6:41 am

    My mom and brother religiously and periodically go on the south beach diet even though as soon as they stop they ALWAYS gain the weight back. I have tried telling them this doesn’t work and the best way is to have a healthy lifestyle but they just don’t listen. It’s so frustrating because those types of diets are so bad for your body.

  53. Zan Maxwell Posted on November 19, 2017 at 12:36 am

    I recommend "The Obesity Code" by Jason Fung.

  54. Gav123 Posted on December 11, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    Healthy food can make you gain weight, too.

  55. MIXFIT Phoenix Posted on January 3, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    Shared this with my clients. Thanks

  56. killercloud345 Posted on January 9, 2018 at 2:55 am

    I lost 30 pounds in 1.5 months cause of low carbs high protean. Cut down to 50 grams a day, but not completely out. No carbs will mess you up hard.

  57. Deandra Ramadana Posted on January 19, 2018 at 11:41 am

    terus aku kudu piye??gaboleh kabeh

  58. Acelyn Fury Posted on January 28, 2018 at 11:51 pm

    yeah i had fry brassel sprots and french twist bun for breakfast

  59. David Z Posted on February 3, 2018 at 12:58 am

    So……is this video flagged? Seem like it should.

  60. David Z Posted on February 3, 2018 at 12:59 am

    Why not exercise?

  61. Guardian of the Galaxy Posted on February 3, 2018 at 1:48 am

    Go live in the wilderness for like a month

  62. williamao the Gibsoneo Posted on February 3, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    Oh i found something you made wrong DETOXS ISN'T REAL

  63. No-Scope Pope Posted on February 8, 2018 at 6:11 pm

    How to spot a fad diet; it's called the Paleo diet.

  64. Ave Satana Posted on February 10, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    Is the Paleo Diet a fad diet, then? I've been on a modified version of it that allows me to eat legumes

  65. Thea Grey Posted on February 12, 2018 at 9:04 pm

    NEVER DO “CLEANSES” OR DETOXES PEOPLE! THEY ARE NEVER EFFECTIVE AND CAM HARM YOU! Watch the Adam ruins everything video on this.

  66. AuzzPanda Posted on February 14, 2018 at 4:34 am

    Ok but like having lots of proteins and veggies with some calisthenics (push ups, squats, dish) will give you a nice tone right?

  67. Pizza Pie Posted on February 16, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    Doctors get close to no nutritional education though…

  68. Kathleen Mejia Posted on February 21, 2018 at 12:06 am

    1:11 I'm not doing either of those things, thank you.

  69. Absolute Garbage Posted on February 22, 2018 at 1:04 am

    Let's all photosynthesize like plants

  70. Drew Campbell Posted on February 22, 2018 at 1:26 am

    Are you tired of not being allowed to eat your precious Oreos on diets? Do you want to lose weight fast and still be eating junk? Try Left Twix! Eat one Left Twix per day and you can be thin quick too! And you can even eat WHATEVER you want!
    Quotes: "Left Twix can boost your health"
    King Twixon the 4th
    "Eat your Left Twix and grow strong and fit"
    Bill Nye the Science Guy
    "Why wait? Eat that Left Twix"
    Megan Campbell, Left Twix expert
    Get yours at your local Walmart. You won't regret it!

  71. drunk astronaut Posted on March 14, 2018 at 2:06 am

    3:44, what was the animator thinking? O_o

  72. srinivas ranjan Posted on March 14, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    If you want to copy ancient people copy them completely… If you can't find your own solution…

  73. Duvmasta Posted on March 22, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    The characters are so cute

  74. ꧁𓅞 The Bird Bros𓅞 ꧂ Posted on March 22, 2018 at 8:34 pm

    You can be very thin, but not be fit. you can be healthy, but not have the body of a supermodel. You can be super swole, but be unhealthy. – jaiden aniations

  75. Jay Lckwd Posted on April 18, 2018 at 9:29 pm

    I had tape worms….once…

  76. Gary Stu Posted on May 1, 2018 at 6:50 am

    Tapeworms and arsenic are dangerous

  77. Andre Joshi Posted on May 5, 2018 at 3:59 am

    just go to the gym

  78. spacious Posted on May 14, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    Ketosis y'all

  79. nittaya sukthawee Posted on May 18, 2018 at 11:34 am

    I like this style of animation.

  80. RPDBY Posted on June 17, 2018 at 9:09 pm

    Is it really possible to change your metabolic rate? Is there any empirical evidence of that?

  81. Jacob Krafsur Posted on June 20, 2018 at 3:33 am

    What about “never eat the same thing twice until the day after yesterday”? (For example: eat a strawberry on Monday for breakfast, and u can’t have it again until breakfast on wendsday or later)

  82. Thea Montijo Posted on July 18, 2018 at 3:07 am

    My mom is on the keto diet

    she lost wheight

  83. Nerd Stark Posted on September 12, 2018 at 11:59 am

    This video is part of a new fad: Eat everything in moderation. I have tried this new fad and it make my brain foggy. Back to keto.

  84. Albert Tsui Posted on October 7, 2018 at 4:36 am

    2:26 reminds me of dhmis

  85. Maya animations Posted on October 29, 2018 at 3:08 am

    I’m 10 years old and on a diet. Is that bad?

  86. Seamus Posted on November 30, 2018 at 12:56 pm

    Fad diets are a total waste of time and do your body more damage than good. But the MOST important factor is the psychology. You lose weight. And gain it back. It's not SUSTAINABLE. The key to making progress is sustainable lifestyle adjustment. This involves looking at your whole diet, everything you eat and asking 'is this what my body needs, and is this something i should eat for the rest of my life for optimal health?'.
    Knowing WHAT to eat and what NOT to eat can be complex for many people. In my Facebook group "Secret Body Transformation Principles", https://www.facebook.com/groups/304109307100257/ we discuss these topics and the psychology of having the body you want. It all comes down to feeding your body what it NEEDS. We will support you along the way and get you to where you want to be and we don't ask for any money off anybody.

  87. Sustainble Developing Posted on December 3, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    Vegan diet is great

  88. Xiao Shen Posted on January 3, 2019 at 4:40 pm

    Instead of "Marathi" subtitles, you can put Hindi which is more spoken in India.

  89. Safir Posted on January 15, 2019 at 2:34 am

    Is exercising really that bad? I exercise on a non-regular basis, (running & skateboarding whenever I feel like it) & I love it! Running is especially good.

  90. EvilHomerSimpson Posted on January 26, 2019 at 4:58 am

    why do fads, just snort drugs

  91. Jelena Etemovic Posted on March 7, 2019 at 9:56 pm

    *Diets are the work of REGISTERED DIETITIANS

  92. Yoyle 0340 Posted on April 3, 2019 at 4:09 pm

    The perfect diet is the one that works for you

  93. The Police Department United Posted on May 9, 2019 at 5:38 am

    You just gotta prey for jesus to be slim

  94. Jardz Posted on June 24, 2019 at 11:22 pm

    That's why I eat fast food when I diet 😀

  95. Gazzara5 Posted on July 2, 2019 at 8:29 pm

    I am sick of these diets that tell you to totally eliminate this, never eat that, no this, no that. No human being can live like that forever unless they have no other options, and most of us in the developed world do have them. The interesting thing is that I never see celebrities push a diet that forbids liquor in all forms. They brag about not eating meat or not eating sugar, but they never say they've stopped drinking alcoholic beverages. It's funny how the tables of so many Hollywood vegans and vegetarians at award shows are covered with cocktail glasses. No diet can guarantee a long and healthy life. There are too many other considerations, such as lifestyle, exercise and activity, occupations, stress, heredity, allergies, environmental factors, and congenital conditions. They will take my double cheeseburger from my cold, dead hands. And no cracks about how that's going to be soon if I keep eating double cheeseburgers. If I want to be nagged I'll ask my wife. She does it gladly.

  96. Tami Ramos Posted on September 25, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    The Keto eating style (not diet) is not a fad diet. Just saying. Carbohydrates are not essential unless they are in vegetables – which also has fiber.

  97. thok ling Posted on September 25, 2019 at 5:55 pm

    The problem with videos like this is they rely on the same age-old data that may be doing more harm than good. More nutrition-based empirical data is being uncovered regularly, so keep up to speed on the online journals (there are free ones) to know how to determine, for yourself, what is good for you and bad for you personally.

    One diet does not fit all, but there are general rules that can apply.