Stop wasting time and money on fad diets, say dieticians

Dieticians say that Aussies are wasting time and money on pricey fad diets.

Single pea with knife and fork for weight loss

For most of us, losing weight is difficult enough – we don’t want to think about it as well. New research shows that Australians are forking out hundreds of dollars for quick-fix diets for weight loss solutions each year. But dieticians are warning that this is a waste of time and money with short-lived results.

Australia’s peak body for nutrition professionals, the Dieticians Association of Australia (DAA), has revealed the results of a national survey in which 1033 Australians aged 18–64 years were asked about their dieting habits. Over the last year, nearly half (46 per cent) of adults had actively attempted to lose weight. What’s more, 47 per cent of those adults spent money on a specific diet or diet program in order to facilitate their weight loss.

For the 10th annual Healthy Weight Week (13–19 February) the DAA wants to make Australians aware of the helpful tailored advice and support on offer by Accredited Practising Dieticians (APDs).

While many people happily pay up to $200 for an eight-week meal plan and do see some positive weight loss results, it isn’t necessarily a long-term solution.

With 11.2 million Australians overweight or obese, it’s clear that popular fad diets simply aren’t working. Clare Collins, DAA Spokesperson Professor, wants Australians to know that having the proper support is key to not only losing, but also keeping the weight off, for good.

“The greatest success is seen with ongoing counselling and support. Studies comparing different diets, such as the 5:2 diet and a reduced-kilojoule diet, show that weight loss slows once dietician follow-up stops, regardless of the diet followed. Having that regular touch point for support is key,” said Professor Collins.

Professor Collins also said that many one-size-fits-all diet plans also push customers to buy costly recipes and ingredients that may be similar or even nutritionally inferior to everyday health alternatives.

“Coconut oil pops up in many popular diet plans these days, but it’s around four times the price of heart-healthy olive oil, and ‘sugar-alternatives’ like maple syrup, at $9.00/100ml, will hurt your hip pocket, without saving you kilojoules.

“And beware of products piggybacking onto health trends, like Paleo and protein bars, some of which will set you back $3.00 for a tiny 40g bar, whereas you can buy an apple for less than a dollar,” said Professor Collins.

The DAA’s National Health survey found that most Aussies are missing out on vital nutrition. Less than half (49.8 per cent) of adults meet the Australian Dietary Guideline’s daily recommendation for fruit, while just seven per cent of adults eat the recommended daily serve of vegetables.

Geoff Furlong, a 56-year-old project manager from Sydney, gave up on one-size fits all diets this year when he decided to see an APD for weight loss.

“Previous diets were just ‘weight loss attempts,’ treating a few of the symptoms rather than dealing with the real issue. But life is longer than eight weeks. If you want to make a real, lasting change, you have to make real changes to your lifestyle. Few of us are able to do this on our own. For me, seeing an APD has been invaluable and has taught me skills and strategies to manage my weight long term,” said Mr Furlong.

For information about healthy eating for you, visit Dieticians Association of Australia. You can also access hundreds of healthy recipes for free on the Healthy Weight Week website.



    To make a comment, please register or login
    16th Feb 2017
    "The greatest success is seen with ongoing counselling and support."

    So turn up for a weigh in each week and all is well. Don't have the weekly weigh in and weight loss stops! Well well who knew? When accountability is missing, diets fail!

    Who paid for the survey of the bleed'n' obvious?
    16th Feb 2017
    I have no idea what Accredited Practising Dieticians charge but I would imagine it wouldn't be cheap and a lot of people wouldn't be able to afford it, especially over the long term. Once they have the lost all the weight, do they keeping going to the dietician indefinitely or do they end up like nearly everyone else on every other kind of weight loss programme and put the weight back on? I expect a lot do. Losing weight and keeping it off, no matter what diet and/or exercise plan you follow, requires a certain mindset (brain training maybe) an epiphany, a light bulb moment, a lightening strike or an awakening of some sort where you finally break through a barrier and are finally successful at sticking to a weight loss plan, losing weight and keeping it off. Unfortunately, it's a rare occurrence and that's why we fail at losing weight time and time again. If we could work out how to get ourselves into that state of mind, I'm sure our problems would be over.....or not.
    16th Feb 2017
    Amelia: please cut through the BS. Here is the way forward:

    1. eat sensibly and have a balanced diet. That means fruit and vegetables not high fat takeaway every other night and/or prepared foods which mostly have the same.
    2. don't over-eat.
    3. do EXERCISE. That means walk or something as little strenuous a few times a week.

    Do the above and people will not have a weight problem. Sadly we have become a lazy and slovenly population which drives everywhere, avoids physical exertion of all types and eats all the time. So what does one expect as the result?

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