Skip main navigation

Misconceptions and myths

Misconceptions and myths
Smiling mature woman eating breakfast
© Deakin University

You may have heard the saying: ‘a good diet is a sustainable diet’.

Despite this simple logic, consumers, health professionals and scientists are equally fascinated by a wide range of dietary trends, including fad diets.

These trends include many highly restrictive diets that involve removing food groups and cannot be recommended as safe or sustainable in the long term.

Fad diets

Fad diets often promise a quick fix to health-related issues, from weight management to improving skin tone. But they are also often unrealistic or unsustainable, based on limited or no scientific evidence at all.

Moreover, some fad diets could be dangerous, such as the Cigarette Diet, which advertised tobacco smoking to manage weight in the 1920s.

Other diets, might not present any direct health risks, but still are very restrictive and lacking scientific foundations. For example, in the Cabbage Soup Diet, people consume large quantities of vegetables with limited amounts of other foods (eg, rice, beef or fruit).

Your task

Explore the fad diet timeline, which summarises dietary misconceptions in the past 200 years.

Share your thoughts on the different dietary trends and fads with other learners in the comments section.

Note: Any external links in this course will take you to third-party websites, which may ask for your personal details. Please read our privacy policy for more information.

© Deakin University
This article is from the free online

Food and Mood: Improving Mental Health Through Diet and Nutrition

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education