Six Tips for Spotting a Fad Diet

Our Heavenly Father has given us the wonderful gift of a physical body, which is needed to progress and become like Him. With this gift we are given the responsibility to care for our bodies, and good nutrition is an important part of our responsibility.

As a registered dietitian, I am often asked my opinion of the latest diet. Some diets are based on solid nutrition and health principles, while others seem to defy basic biochemistry and promise quick, easy results.

Below are six tips to help you recognize a fad diet:

The diet claims a large or rapid weight loss. Sound nutrition plans aim for a weight loss of one to two pounds per week. Slow, gradual weight loss increases your success for keeping weight off in the long term.

The diet restricts or eliminates certain food groups or requires specific food combinations. Eliminating certain food groups may lead to deficiencies of some nutrients. Combining or sequencing certain foods does not enhance weight loss. Diets should raise concern if they emphasize certain foods, such as unlimited amounts of cabbage soup, grapefruit, or ice cream, or eliminate food groups, such as carbohydrate-rich foods.

The diet promotes “miracle” foods or makes promises that sound too good to be true. Foods don’t burn or melt fat away. No food can undo the long-term effects of overeating and underexercising. Testimonials, histories, and anecdotes that sound too good to be true probably are. Look for documented scientific research to support claims.

The diet implies that weight can be lost without exercise. An increase in any daily activity can help you burn more calories and lose weight. Activities such as walking or riding a bike are important in losing weight and maintaining weight loss.

The diet relies on rigid menus. Limiting food choices and adhering to strict eating schedules is unpleasant and unhealthy and may increase the likelihood that you will cheat, binge, or give up on the diet. You should be able to follow a diet plan for a lifetime.

The diet contradicts what most trusted health professionals and groups say. Look for a diet that emphasizes a variety of foods, including whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products.

Before you begin following a diet, review the program for signs of a fad diet, study the opinions of trusted nutrition professionals, and compare the diet to the Word of Wisdom. We will be blessed as we follow the Lord’s counsel to care for our bodies. Pauline Williams, Utah

[illustrations] Illustrations by Joe Flores

Dear Son

When my first child was just seven weeks old, I began writing “journal letters” to him. I wanted to express feelings I might otherwise forget to share later. With each entry in a notebook journal, I addressed a letter to him, describing how he was growing and things I had observed him doing. I also shared advice and my testimony, as well as comments on worldwide, community, and family events. Soon my husband wanted to join in the writing, and we made it a regular Sunday practice.

I have since invited his grandparents to write entries also. Now that we have our third child, I type their journals on the computer, copying and pasting the parts I want to share with all of them. I also like to add digital pictures to enhance what I have written. Then each year for their birthdays, I give them a personal copy of their previous year’s journal.

It brings me great joy to know that through these journals our children have lasting records of our strong love for them, the gospel, and our Savior. Emily Cushing, Utah

Family Home Evening Helps:

An Article of Faith a Month

Does your family struggle to remember the Articles of Faith? We did until we decided to work on understanding and memorizing one each month during family night. We wanted to help our oldest daughter to pass off her Faith in God requirements. To engage everyone’s interest, we incorporated a variety of teaching methods and household settings.

First, our daughter typed up the Articles of Faith and made several copies of each, preparing in advance for us to eventually learn all 13. Then, in the course of learning a particular article of faith, we would go from room to room in our home, participating in a different activity in each one.

For instance, in the family room we used scriptures to discuss the meaning of our first article. Then we moved to the master bedroom, where we listened to that particular article of faith Primary song on CD. To motivate us to sing it several times, we played a simple game of hiding a piece of candy and singing louder as one of our children came close to finding it and softer if he was farther away. Then in the kitchen we cut up one of our paper printouts and invited the family to put it back together. Next, in a bedroom we had family members write the article of faith or draw what it was about. With a written copy, one of us then covered up some of the words, trying to stump the others as they determined what was missing. Our last stop was another bedroom, where we invited the children to further discuss the meaning of the article of faith and recite it from memory if they could.

Simple reminder copies of each month’s article of faith, posted throughout the house and included as bookmarks in our scriptures, also helped us to easily commit the Articles of Faith to memory and to heart. Laura Turek, Nevada

Note: Audio recordings of the Primary Children’s Songbook are available at Church distribution centers or online at and

[illustration] Illustration by Beth Whittaker