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How To Know If A Fad Diet Is A Scam

By Lauren Monteverde December 07, 2022

Are you on your journey to lose weight and feel healthier? If so, you may be interested in trying a diet to reach your goals faster. However, there are many fad diet scams out there, so how can you identify one? Let’s take a look at some common red flags of fad diets.

8 Fad Diet Scams To Watch For

It can be confusing to know which diets are legitimate and which are scams. Fortunately, identifying a fad diet scam doesn’t have to be too difficult. There are eight common red flags to look out for.

1. Unknown Ingredients

Many diet products include experimental ingredients or an abundance of ingredients. They may also advertise that they have new scientifically proven ingredients. These claims are often false, and many ingredients may not contribute to weight loss at all.

2. Relies on Celebrities

It can be tempting to trust a diet program because a celebrity endorses it, but many times celebrities don’t follow these diets themselves or know what is in the products. They are simply being paid to endorse and advertise it, which can scam you out of money and even be bad for your health.

3. Makes False Promises

Some fad diet scams promise that you can lose a large amount of weight in a short period. However, research shows that a safe range of steady weight loss is 1 to 2 pounds per week. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

4. Requires You to Purchase Special Products

A diet that requires you to buy special products is one of the top signs of a diet scam. Ingredients are often not disclosed, making it difficult to know if they are actually good for you. Some special items include:

  • Supplements/pills
  • Branded shakes
  • Powders
  • Special juices

5. Cuts or Restrict Nutrients

Diets promising quick results,  that require you to completely cut out certain food groups or macronutrients (fat, carbs, or protein) to lose weight are often scams. Every different food group has different vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that your body needs to remain balanced and healthy. However, there are some exclusions to this rule, the key to tell is that they do not promise quick results. An example of this would be Keto. Also, if you have dietary restrictions, allergies and health concerns sometimes you will need to cut or restrict certain groups. 

6. Promises Results Without Lifestyle Changes

Some diets promise that you can lose weight even if you eat whatever foods you want and however much you want. However, making lifestyle changes such as reducing calories, increasing physical activity, and changing food habits are required to lose weight and enjoy long-term, sustainable results.

7. Miracle Products That Fix Everything

There is no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to weight loss and no product that can immediately reverse all the effects of weight gain. So products that promise miraculous results that fix all health problems are highly likely to be fad diet scams.

8. Suspicious-Looking Before/After Photos

A final way to identify fad diet scams is when the before/after photos appear photoshopped or fake or the person in the after photo looks different than the person in the before photo.


While diets can be great for weight loss, they can lead to trouble for your health in the long run, especially if you’re looking for quick results. Paying attention to the eight red flags above and making healthy lifestyle changes can save you time, money, and potential negative consequences. For more tips about diets and staying healthy, visit our blog today!

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