Fight the Fads is a myth-busting group who debunk nutritional nonsense in the media and set the records straight.

Fight the Fads are a team of three young professionals training to become Registered Dietitians at King’s College London: Elisabeth, Caroline and Harriet.

They use the latest evidence-based science to inform their readers about diet, nutrition and health with regular posts on FacebookInstagramTwitter (@fightthefads). We caught up with the three co-founders to find out why they are so passionate about fighting food fads and nutrition myths in the health and wellness industry, as well as the common diet myths they want to dispel.

There are a large number of people seeking their nutritional advice from self-styled nutrition gurus or wellness bloggers online (particularly on Instagram).  

“You couldn’t scroll through your photos without a good-looking celebrity with millions of followers and some enticing photos telling you that you need to restore your radiance by drinking green ‘super’ juices, and that you must banish spaghetti for the likes of courgetti because ‘carbs are the enemy’,” explains Elisabeth, Caroline and Harriet. “These people are often unqualified and the advice they give is unregulated. We want to make sure that everyone knows that registered dietitians and nutritionists are the only professionals that should be trusted for health and nutrition advice.”

It’s clear that the Fight the Fads team are on a mission to use the scientific training gained from their dietetics degrees to correct the misinformation and myths surrounding nutritional advice online.

  The Art of Patience

Whilst it may seem they have their work cut out, the ever-evolving conversation surrounding health and wellness has recently been shining an unavoidable bright light on the need for more science-backed nutritional advice, with experts like Rhiannon Lambert, Pixie Turner and Laura Thomas PhD leading the way. Equally, Fight the Fads are here to “let people know the importance of questioning the credentials of the person giving nutrition advice.”

From the most dangerous diets that recommend cutting out entire staple food groups such as carbohydrates or dairy, to detox teas that promise a quick fix, Fight the Fads share with us some of the most common diet myths they want to dispel.

‘Sugar-free’ alternatives that are still sugar!

Agave nectar, manuka honey and date syrup have exactly the same amount of calories per gram as common table sugar. These sugar ‘alternatives’ are often used in ‘guilt-free’ dessert recipes. The problem is, when someone feels they can eat more of the ‘sugar-free’ dessert — as they believe it is a better option than a dessert using normal sugar — this can result in excess calorie intake. In addition to this, these alternatives are often promoted as better than table sugar as they contain minerals. If you’re getting a lot of minerals in your diet from agave nectar, you need to reconsider your diet.

Detox diets

Based on the premise that over time toxins build up in your body, and you must periodically ‘cleanse’ your system to remove them. If toxins were really allowed to build up in your body, you would become very sick. The liver and kidneys are extremely efficient at removing toxic products, and periodic detoxes are simply not needed.

Carbohydrates make you fat

Gram for gram they actually have the lowest number of calories out of all the nutrients, plus wholegrain varieties contain fibre which keeps you full for longer, meaning you are less likely to overeat. Too much of anything will make you fat.

You should eat more of ‘X’ because it’s a ‘superfood’

Superfood is a marketing term, all foods have a role in the context of a healthy, balanced diet. Unsurprisingly, ‘superfoods’ usually have a much higher price tag attached too!

Sweeteners and additives are harmful

Any sweeteners or additives that are present in foods have undergone vigorous testing by the Food Standards agency (FSA) and been deemed safe for human consumption in the levels which they are present. To suggest that they are harmful creates unnecessary fear over food products.

Protein supplements are essential for anyone looking to build muscle

Almost all Brits consume over the recommended protein requirements each day. Unless you are an elite athlete/body builder, it is likely that a glass of milk or high protein snack (i.e a chicken sandwich) will provide you with enough protein. The body cannot store huge amount of excess protein, and as a result you excrete excess protein in urine. In other words, you will essentially pee out £s…

“I avoid gluten as I’ve heard it’s bad for me”

Unless you have a medically diagnosed disease (i.e. celiac disease which is an autoimmune condition), there is no reason to cut gluten — a protein found in wheat — out of your diet. Wholegrain wheat products offer a whole host of nutritional benefits, and if you don’t replace wheat products with a suitable alternative, you are putting yourself at risk of certain nutritional deficiencies.

If you want to find out more about Fight the Fads, head to their website. Alternatively, you can find out more about the government petition they have launched to legally protect use of the title ‘Nutritionist’ here

Elisabeth, co-founder of Fight the Fads, explains: “As the law currently stands, anyone can call themselves a nutritionist — regardless of whether or not they have any formal training. More worryingly, there are online courses available via the internet that claim to make you a ‘clean-eating guru’ and nutritionist in just three weeks.”

Through its petition, Fight the Fads is asking that only individuals registered with the Association for Nutrition (AfN) will be able to work under the title ‘Nutritionist’. You can find the petition and sign it here.