You know, I’ve wanted to write this post about the Baby Food Diet ever since I first heard of it, but have been avoiding it for one main reason. The Baby Food Diet and its creator, Tracy Anderson, both bring out the worst in me… nothing but negativity. Although those make for some popular posts, I’d rather not add to the vitriol that is so prevalent nowadays.

It’s a pea that keeps rattling around in my head though. So I thought instead of breaking out my poison tipped pen and calling Tracy Anderson every name in the book, why not use it as an example of the epitome of fad diets? By now the whole thing is old news, which means we can look back at how the fad played out. I’ll try to keep my negativity in check.

What is the Baby Food Diet?

In case you’re not already familiar with it… the Baby Food Diet is just what it sounds like. You replace some or all of the food you normally eat with jars of baby food. The most popular version has people eating fourteen jars of baby food with an optional adult meal at the end of the day. There are several other variations, a quick Google search will show you a bunch of them.

I won’t waste too much space on the flaws in this “diet”, but the most obvious one is that eating baby food sucks. We have a lot of kids, and I can tell you from experience that Hawaiian Delight and Dutch Apple Dessert are pretty good, but not very nutritious. Pureed beef and strained peas are nasty, though, and nobody is going to stick to eating such fair for long.

Other than the inevitable short lifespan of this diet, you need to keep in mind that the nutritional needs of babies and adults are vastly different. Even Nestle (owners of Gerber) publicly said that adults shouldn’t sustain themselves with baby food (heavily paraphrased).

Why did the baby food diet get so popular?

tracy anderson madonnaLike most things, because a celebrity did it… Tracy Anderson is or was the trainer to a few of the biggest celebrities on the planet (e.g. Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, etc…) and when it was claimed that one of her biggest name clients, Jennifer Aniston, was put on the baby food diet… BAM, instant new fad diet.

The Baby Food Diet was around for some time, but was barely on the radar until the claims about Jennifer Aniston came out. She even denied being on it, but still baby food sales went through the roof.

There were subsequent spikes in popularity every time Tracy made the news with a new megastar. Then, just when you thought it would die out and go away, claims that Lady Gaga was using the “Goo Diet” (same basic thing) had jars flying off the shelves and breathing life back into the whole thing again.

There’s a cool tool to visualize trends at http://www.google.com/trends. Just click that link and enter “baby food diet” or “goo diet” and you’ll see a nice graph that shows the popularity of fads over time.

So What Is My Friggin Point?

My point is this that the Baby Food Diet is the perfect example of a typical fad diet that gets tried by millions of people even though nearly every health expert on the planet will tell them it’s a bad idea.

It went viral because it had the perfect mix of ingredients. It was easy, cheap, celebrity endorsed and had a very simple hook. Not all those are necessary for a diet to become popular, but when they are all there, it spreads like cancer.

On the other hand, take a good sensible plan like The Mediterranean Diet or GOMBS. They will show a spike here and there when a book comes, but if you check the actual number of searches for them they are nowhere near the big fad diets.

Even though such sensible plans are infinitely better for you and developed by actual health care professionals, they just don’t offer the glitz and glamour of the quick fix fad diets.

Why Do the Fad Diets Keep Winning?

Well, basically the perpetuators of these fads know that it’s human nature to chase the “quick fix” and to emulate those we admire (celebs), so they take advantage of it. They care not for your wellbeing… only for theirs.

The ones who really do care and want to help you are above preying on your insecurities or manipulating you into buying their wares. They just put out good information and hope you will listen. The good news is that the good guys are getting much better at delivering their message.

Let’s compare the two camps. Indulge me  for a second while I use a political tactic that I despise, the soundbite…

“I tried everything short of an eating disorder – which I really wanted to have, actually.” – Tracy Anderson

“You cannot buy your health; you must earn it through healthy living.” – Dr. Joel Fuhrman

Seriously, which one of those do you want to get your health advice from, eh?

Skip the Baby Food Diet, turn a blind eye to the fads and check these out for some inspiration on doing it right…

Get through that list and you’ll change your life instead of just losing a few quick pounds.

Randy “I don’t need sexy hips at 50” Lee

P.S. I’ve been waiting forever to find a reason to use that “Evil Baby” picture, LOL!