Most weight loss diets are not backed by science. Yet they catch on and people want to believe that they’re effective. If the last weight loss diet didn’t work, there’s always a new one on the horizon. Very few overweight dieters bother to investigate a weight loss diet to determine if it’s backed by science. Perhaps they should start!

Patrick Neustatter the medical director of Lloyd Moss Free Clinic in Fredericksburg and the author of “Managing Your Doctor: The Smart Patient’s Guide to Getting Effective Affordable Healthcare,” recently wrote on article on this subject.

He makes the point that a lot of people’s food and other health care choices are not made based on scientific evidence. Or, they might not understand the evidence thoroughly enough to evaluate it.

Going Gluten Free for No Reason

A lot of people claim gluten intolerance—or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, to use the proper term. Many have put themselves on gluten-free diets.


But, according to Dr. Aaron Carroll, professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine:

• Simply put, most people who think they have gluten sensitivity just don’t.

• The percentage of people who actually have a gluten sensitivity seems to be somewhere between 0.63 and 6 percent.

• That’s nowhere near the one-third of consumers who are trying to shun gluten-containing products.

• There are experiments on gluten where supposedly gluten intolerant people were given gluten, sometimes without knowing it, and there seemed to be no correlation with symptoms.

Dr. Suzanne O’Sullivan, consultant in neurology and neurophysiology at National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, makes a similar point in her book “Is It All in Your Head? True stories of Imaginary Illness”. In the 1990s many people with fatigue, irritability, bloating and other symptoms were diagnosed as having candidiasis—a yeast infection. Now the exact same symptoms are more likely to be attributed to gluten.

Media Hype on Weight Loss Diets

The media is always hyping the latest weight loss diet, especially if it appears to be newsworthy. And unless you pay attention to the science behind it, you are liable to be led down the garden path.


A Diet Restriction Not Based on Science

Here’s a good example of a diet restriction that isn’t based on science. In a recent report in the Lancet, the statement was made that any amount of alcohol is harmful. This conflicted with many previous studies that showed that a little bit of alcohol is actually good for us. This prompted dramatic headlines like “there’s no safe amount of alcohol.”

Great, you’re thinking, booze forbidden just before the holidays. But, though the claim may be true, you have to look at the probability of alcohol doing you harm before you become teetotaler.

The results of the study in the Lancet show that of every 100,000 people who have one drink a day, 918 of them can expect to experience one of the 23 health problems that can be caused by alcohol. But of the people who don’t drink, 914 can also expect to experience one of these problems.

Carroll explains that “This means that only 4 in 100,000 people who consume a drink a day may have a problem caused by the drinking.” For two drinks a day, the number experiencing a problem increases to 977—but still only a 64 in 100,000, which is still pretty long odds.


The message about weight loss diets is clear: You have to do the due diligence.

Click here to read the whole article about weight loss diets that aren’t backed by science.