Every year, a new set of fad diets seems to take the stage as the next catch-all diet that will whittle waists, drop dress sizes and grant glowing skin. The newest fad diet to hit the scene? The “carnivore diet,” also called the zero carb diet. The carnivore diet is what it sounds like: eating only animal products. No vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds or starches. The only carbs allowed are those found in dairy products. Financial Educational Benefits Center (FEBC), a membership benefits company that offers nutritional resources, suggests that dietitians may be a better option for nutritional advice than the newest diet endorsed by a celebrity or magazine.
“If you’re thinking of switching up your diet, it’s probably best to talk to your doctor or dietitian,” said Jennifer Martinez, manager at FEBC. “Fad diets come and go, but your medical or dietary professional is more knowledgeable than the celebrity endorsing the newest trend.”
What makes a fad diet a fad diet? According to Abby Langer, registered dietitian, most fad diets are belief systems rather than diets backed up by actual research. Fad diets often claim they’ll lead to quick weight loss and advocate the removal of entire food groups. Their popularity is frequently driven by celebrity endorsements and media showcases. While some fad diets have some positive aspects, they’re often lacking in balanced nutrition or only benefit some of the population. For example, the Keto diet is ranked low for health and nutrition by the U.S. News & World Report but has been shown to be beneficial for some with certain diseases.
Whether or not a diet is actually beneficial or detrimental depends on an individual’s health, so researching and discussing it with a professional is important. For FEBC members who may be interested in learning more about the health benefits (or lack of them) of a particular diet, FEBC provides access to resources like telemedicine consults and discounts on things like groceries and fitness programs at participating locations. These services can remove the guesswork and help members get on the right track to cooking and eating healthy meals.
“As with most things in life, it generally seems like a good idea to practice moderation with eating habits,” Martinez said. “At FEBC, we support our members exploring ways to improve their health and are happy to offer resources such as non-urgent medical advice and dietitians.”