10 Ways Fad Diets Are Terrible For People Over 50

by Greg Bastin on Sep 14, 2019

10 Ways Fad Diets Are Terrible For People Over 50
fad diets are terrible for health
By Wen Liu  • September 14, 2019


Fad diets promise quick weight loss in exchange for restrictive changes. But they never come close to living up to the hype.

A fad diet is popular for a time then it fades away like an out of date fashion trend. 

These diets always have strict requirements. Like limiting the intake of carbohydrates or only drinking juice. 

Although some people can lose weight, fad diets often pose significant health risks. These risks are especially dangerous to anyone over 50. 

Below are 10 of the most severe fad dieting risks.

1 - Muscle loss

fad diets cause muscle loss

Fad diets cause muscle loss, especially when significant weight loss occurs. For men and women over 50, loss of muscle is already a serious concern. 

All people begin to lose muscle as they age. A loss of muscle can cause people to become less coordinated and more likely to fall and suffer injuries. It is vital for people over 50 to avoid diets that weaken their muscles.

2 - Fluctuating weight

fad diets cause weight swings

Because fad diets have strict guidelines, they are not suitable for a long term lifestyle. 

Most of these diets are not safe anyways. Many people will use them long enough to lose some weight before returning to their regular eating habits. Once they begin eating regularly again, they are likely to regain all the lost weight. 

Some dieters are even more likely to engage in unhealthy eating behaviors after stopping a fad diet. They have been restricting food intake for so long, causing cravings and the weight to go on even faster. 

The rapid up-and-down changes in weight are unhealthy for anyone, especially so for people over 50.

3 - Dehydration

fad diets cause dehydration

A large number of fad diets result in a loss of water, which may lead to dehydration. 

Dehydration occurs when you lose more water than you are taking in. In people over 50, dehydration can be particularly worrisome. 

Some of the possible complications of dehydration include dizziness, confusion, and fatigue. Complications are more likely when dehydration is chronic or severe.

4 - Electrolyte imbalances

fad diets cause electrolyte imbalances

Fad diets that don't provide the proper combination of nutrients can cause electrolyte imbalances. 

People may experience seizures, irregular heartbeat, and other serious complications. In some cases, an electrolyte imbalance that is not treated may even be fatal.

5. Constipation

fad diets cause constipation

Fad diets often lack a proper amount of dietary fiber. 

For many dieters, this leads to constipation, especially when paired with water loss. Constipation can affect people of any gender or age. But, women over the age of 50 may already be struggling with this issue, especially if they have already gone through menopause. Left unresolved, constipation can lead to a variety of complications.

6 - Nutrient deficiencies

fad diets cause nutrient deficiencies

Nutrient deficiencies are a serious problem for everyone. Especially people who don’t eat a varied diet. 


This plate is a great example of a varied diet including lots of different colored foods.

However, people over the age of 50 have even more reason to eat a balanced diet than others. Nutrient deficiencies in older people can lead to a wide variety of problems. 

One of the most significant concerns is bone loss, which is already an issue for many women. Bone loss raises the risk of fractures considerably.

7 - Emotional problems

fad diets cause sad emotions

Fad dieting is a source of guilt and anxiety for many women. 

Following the restrictions is challenging. Some people find themselves feeling guilty any time they break the rules. Because of the restrictions associated with fad diets, people are anxious about their food choices. 

Repeated fad dieting leads to fluctuating weight. This can increase the risk of depression and low self-esteem, especially in periods of weight gain.

8 - Poor physical fitness

fad diets cause poor fitness

Fad diets lead people to believe that they can lose weight by following a set of rules. When exercise is not part of the equation, physical fitness often suffers. 

People of all ages need to maintain their physical fitness, but it is especially important for older adults. When physical fitness levels fall, it can be challenging to rebuild strength.

9 - Severe fatigue

fad diets cause fatigue

Not all fad diets lead to significant water or nutrient loss. However, when these side effects exist, severe fatigue is often the result. 

Older people already have less energy and stamina than they did in their younger years, so severe fatigue is cause for concern. 

In some cases, fatigue can even cause or contribute to depression.

10 - Changes to metabolism

fad diets change your metabolism

Some fad diets may change the way your body metabolizes food. When the body doesn't have the calories it needs to operate it goes into "starvation mode." This slows weight loss and may even cause lasting metabolic changes. This makes it even harder to lose weight and keep it off in the future. 

Since people over the age of 50 are already battling a slowing metabolism, this effect is particularly undesirable.

When you want to lose weight quickly, fad diets can be tempting. These diets promise quick results to anyone who follows their rules. However, fad diets can lead to a variety of risks and negative consequences.

If you are a person over 50 who wants to lose weight, fad dieting is not the best choice. Instead, it is better to opt for a permanent change to your diet and a healthy level of physical activity. 

The change should be something small that you know you can achieve. Commit to it for at least 21 days for it to become a habit. 

You should also talk to your doctor before beginning any new diet or exercise regimen. 

If you need some help with your diet, book a free phone consultation with one of our health coaches by clicking this link.


We would love to help you reach your health and fitness goals. 

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