4 Signs a Diet Program is a Waste of Money

A solid nutrition plan will help you reach your goals of building muscle, improving fitness, and burning fat.

Angie Asche, RD CSSD, a nutritionist at Centr, a fitness- and nutrition app developed by actor Chris Hemsworth, says that not all diet plans are right for everyone.

Asche explained that rigid or arbitrary rules in diets can slow down your progress.

Asche states that there are four red flags that will tell you whether a diet is worth the effort, time, and money. These are the signs to look for:

A diet can be costly if you need to purchase special products.

If a diet involves expensive investments in propriety meals kits or other items, it is likely that it is more popular than fact-based.

Asche stated that you don’t need to buy 80% of your food from one brand or company in order to have a healthy diet.

Healthy eating should focus on whole foods that you can find at your local grocery store or farmer’s market, such as fruits and vegetables, and protein sources such as lean meats, fish, eggs, and legumes. This is what dietitians recommend.

Avoiding proprietary diet products includes herbs, pills, and powders that are meant to stimulate weight loss — research shows that most weight loss supplements don’t work.

Supplements that have benefits in burning fat and building muscle like creatine, caffeine, and protein shakes can be beneficial, but should not replace a healthy diet. According to Asche

She said, “We have to deal with the food first.”

Avoid one-size-fits-all meal plans

Popular diet programs can also be dangerous because they often use the same menus for everyone regardless of individual goals, preferences, or circumstances.

Asche stated, “If you are just walking in and being given a meal plan it’s not helpful.”

A dietitian, or another qualified expert in nutrition, would be qualified to examine your current diet and give you advice about how to improve it.

She said, “I would like to learn more about what you are doing right now in order to see where we could make improvements, little by little.”

It can be harmful to cut out certain food groups or foods.

If your diet includes a strict restriction on certain foods, such as sweets or comfort foods, it’s a sign that you are not eating well.

Asche stated that you don’t have to eliminate any part of a healthy diet. Instead, focus on eating foods you love and choosing nutrient-dense options.

Research suggests that banning certain foods may make it more difficult to eat them, and therefore less likely to stick with your diet.

Exclusionary rules regarding diets are often unnecessary and harmful.

To be successful, you don’t have to eat a certain diet all the time. Good diets allow for flexibility and help to maintain healthy habits.

Asche says that while food journals and calorie-tracking apps are useful tools to help you assess your eating habits, they can also be stressful or harmful if used in excess.

It can be wonderful or it can be obsessive. She said that you don’t have to use it for every strawberry in your mouth.

You might want to avoid programs that make it difficult for you to keep track of every bite of food or enforce rigid rules that you cannot realistically follow in your daily life.