Fad Diets

Produced By: Darren Ally

Fad Diets are like a top 40 Pop Song...they've disappeared as soon as they've arrived, quickly get annoying, and when you pull them apart you realise they're full of hot air and you've heard it all before. But with 40% of Aussie males and 25% of females fighting obesity, it's a record we play over and over again. But which diets work and which ones should we avoid? Today tonight exposes diets...Nutrition Director for Australian Healthy Food Guide, Catherine Saxelby, sifted through the most popular Diets to see what works and what doesn't.

"Like most dieticians, I don't like fad diets cos they're a quick fix. People are looking for a magic bullet to what is really a long-term problem. So people have to change the way they eat, make a plan as we say in the magazine and aim to move more... do more exercise in the day," said Catherine.

She discussed 3 diets that don't work.

" Low-carb diets are not sustainable. People lose a lot of weight on them quickly so they feel good and that's what motivates them to keep going. But you can't exercise on them and you do need to eventually go back to some fruits or vegetables, breads or cereals."

" The juice detox diets are just a gimmick. They're like going on a semi-starvation diet. I just can't recommend them. They're ok for a day or two...to atone for the sins of overindulgence. But you can't follow them for longer than a few days. They don't re-educate you and they don't teach you anything about good healthy eating for the long-term."

" Meal replacements attract people and they keep them out of the kitchen. And that's why they work. Often diets start with a meal-replacement programme because people see results quickly. But again they don't teach you anything about how to prepare meals, how to eat in the real world. They're ok for a while... but you can't eat them long term."

Diets that do work

" The low GI diet is a balanced diet but it focuses on carbohydrates... so the breads, the cereals, the pastas, and the rice that you eat. And what it tries to do is it tries to get you to shift your carbohydrate away from the rapidly absorbed high GI ones to the slowly digested GI ones. And these are usually the less refined, less processed better for you carbohydrates. So it's a good diet.

The Calorie counting Diet...

"It makes you focus on points and calories. And you very quickly realise where your calories are coming from. So if you follow this for a week, write down everything you eat or drink, you'll soon get an idea of where your problem lies. It's a good start." "I like a higher protein diet for people who want to lose weight. Cos the extra meat, or fish or chicken fills you up and stops you picking in between meals."

So...recounting what we've learnt so far...


  • Low Carb
  • Detox Diets
  • Meal Replacements


  • Low GI diets
  • Calorie-counting diets
  • High-protein diets

"Eat real food. Cut out the junk food. Look for the basic healthy foods that your mother or your grandmother would've told you to eat... and be prepared to be consistent long term. It's not going to come off in three or four days... your weight will take a couple of weeks to come off," said Catherine.