Tis The Season For (Dangerous) Fad Diets

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Have you heard of Freelee the Banana Girl? I admit, this one’s got me really perplexed.

Freelee The Banana Girl, as she calls herself, proudly eats up to 50 bananas (yes, 50!) a day on this almost all raw fruit, vegan diet. She used to be anorexic and then bulimic, and now she can eat as much as she wants.

As long as it’s only fruit. Sound like more of the same?

She has an unfounded theory for why we all need to eat this way. Her official diet Raw Til 4, defined in a hazy, gauzy way, really has no true meaning behind its rules, only a young woman who endlessly struggle with her weight and body image only to find raw foods nirvana. Now she claims she can eat tons of fruit and lose weight too. Her YouTube channel shows all sorts of before and after pictures, berating the “before” Freelee and praising the “after” Freelee.

What’s wrong with eating pounds and pounds of fruit all day with almost no protein and fat? Sounds healthy in theory. It’s not, and this is rule #1 of fad diets. Wacky, unbalanced nutrition that eliminates whole food groups (fruit is great for you. Pounds and pounds of it a day – terrible for you, here’s why). Rule #2 – make it look effortless and criticize for not following along, or being able to keep up with the diet.

When we live in a world that says we need to suffer and starve to lose weight the Raw til 4 movement (as well as most fad diets) seems like a dream. Yet, there is so much wrong with this diet and all the other fad diets that you will see cropping up this spring as we go into diet, detox and the cleansing season.

Raise your hand if you feel you ate too much, ate the wrong things and drank too much this past winter.  Yes, that’s most of us.

I’m sorry to break it to you, but fad diets, with all their promises, never work. Why? Because most fad diets share the same qualities:

  • they severly restrict calories and keep you on some crazy plan (like no fruit with protein before 4pm);
  • you’re probably only eating a few foods;
  • they usually have some uneducated “guru” that will make you feel like crawling under a rock if you deviate from the plan;
  • said “guru” makes it look easy and effortless to live his or her lifestyle. And they are sure to call it a “lifestyle” or a “movement”, not a diet.

There are all sorts of Freelee’s (think Bulletproof Coffee Diet or even Paleo diet) out there and in this season of wanting to get back on track we need to be extra careful how we choose to go about doing this. Here’s what to look for in a plan:

  • it is run (or written by) a person with the credentials to talk the talk about eating well and in a healthy way;
  • yes, this is lifestyle. And, in life, there are setbacks and mishaps. Same goes for how, what and why we eat;
  • no food groups are eliminated, no food groups are suddenly bad for you or not allowed.

Now, you tell me. Have what is the worst fad diet you have ever heard of? Have you tried any of these diets and been unsuccessful? Let me know in the comments below.



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