Nutrition council nixes ‘fad diets’

THE National Nutrition Council (NNC)-6 said it is not recommending fad diets for rapid weight loss as it may pose health risks.

In its policy statement, NNC claims “several studies have proven that fad diets are nutritionally-imbalanced, challenging to comply with in the long-run, and induce stress, lead to disease to certain organs and lack of focus on physical activity, and may have psychological implications.”

Fad diet is any dietary regimen or practice promoted for weight loss and improvement of health that does not form part of standard dietetic-led weight management advice.

It is characterized by dramatic claims that are not supported by evidence; promise of rapid weight loss (one kilogram in one week); does not include improvement in health and exercise; no health warning to those with pre-existing medical conditions; and being based on anecdotal evidence and testimonials.

It comes in the form of very low energy diet (VLED), ketogenic diet, gluten free, intermittent fasting, and juice fast, among others.

Studies have further shown that “a short dietary regimen is medically unsuitable and unsustainable.”

NNC-6 regional nutrition program coordinator Nona Tad-y said the council is recommending that losing weight must be complemented with population-based interventions and public awareness to prevent further increase in overweight and obesity prevalence in the country.

“Losing weight can be done with an active lifestyle and self-discipline. We do not recommend fad diets,” she said.

The policy statement also encourages nutritionist-dieticians and other health professionals, both in private and public practice, to advocate for a safe, healthy, holistic dietary exercise and behavioral plan.

It is being disseminated to the public, health and nutrition workers, and those in the medical and allied professions.

Department of Health (DOH) secretary Francisco Duque III approved on June 21, 2018 the NNC Governing Board Resolution No. 4 series of 2018 adopting the policy statement on fad diets.

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