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Forget Fad Diets and Embrace the Health Benefits of Cultural Food

Veronica Villa,

In today’s fast-paced world, the desire to achieve quick results has given rise to various trendy and short-lived diets, also known as fad diets. These diets promise rapid weight loss and improved health but often fail to deliver sustainable results. However, among all the wild fad diets, we often overlook the rich characteristics of cultural food that has nourished generations for centuries!

Understanding Fad Diets

A diet is the type of food one usually eats. Fad diets are usually characterized by extreme restrictions, exaggerated health claims, and quick fixes. Just to name a few, examples of fad diets are juice cleanses, intermittent fasting, detox diets, and extreme lowcarbohydrate diets like the ketogenic and Atkins diet.

Many of these diets are supported only by short-term studies which do not explore the long-term effects on health. In particular, a few studies have been conducted to view the effects of low-carbohydrate and high-protein diets and have concluded that those who follow this diet are at higher risk for developing chronic kidney disease and kidney stones.

Nourishing Power of Cultural Food

Again, many trendy diets are not well-studied and lack characteristics that prevent them from being sustainable diets. Fad diets often fail to provide a realistic and balanced approach to eating, making it difficult to maintain them in the long run. With such restrictions on certain food groups and calories that your body needs to function and feel energized, there have been negative impacts on not only health but emotional and mental well-being.

So how can you have a healthy diet, while also being happy with your food choices? Include food from your culture that has so many flavors and health benefits within itself! Including a variety of foods into your diet, supplies you with energy, essential fats, vitamins and minerals, fiber, and much more. One question I always ask myself is, “What else can I add to my plate to make it more nutritious?”. This has helped me make sure I am creating well-balanced meals in terms of carbohydrates, protein, fats, and fruits and vegetables. Focusing on adding to your cultural foods rather than removing that part of your
identity is a great first step towards having a happy and healthy diet. Your cultural foods maintain traditions and help you stay connected to your community!

For a personalized weight management plan that meets your individual needs, consult a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) at Alivio Medical Center. An RDN can create a weight loss program based
on your unique health and nutrition needs and goals.


  1. Tahreem A., Rakha A., Rabail R., Nazira A., Terezia C.S., Maerescu C.M., and Aadil R.M. Fad Diets: Facts and Fiction. Front Nutr. 2022;9:960922. Published 2022 Jul 5. doi:10.3389/fnut.2022.960922
  2. Reddy S.T., Wang C., Sakhaee K., Brinkley L., Pak C.Y.C. Effect of low-carbohydrate high-protein diets on acid-base balance, stone-forming propensity, and calcium metabolism. Am J Kidney Dis. 2002;40(2):265-274. doi:10.1053/ajkd.2002.34504
  3. Farhadnejad H, Asghari G, Emamat H, Mirmiran P, Azizi F. Low-carbohydrate high-protein diet is associated with increased risk of incident
  4. chronic kidney diseases among Tehranian adults. J Ren Nutr. (2018) 29:343–9. 10.1053/j.jrn.2018.10.007