Here’s how much money Americans waste on fad diets that do more harm than good

4 min readOct 31, 2019


Commissioned by Advanced Orthomolecular Research and conducted by OnePoll, recent research looked at both the nutrition trends Americans are trying and at how they’re finding these fads. (Photo by i yunmai on Unsplash)

From trying Keto to vitamin IV drips, the “blood-type diet” or eating bee pollen, HALF of Americans have followed a fad diet that did more harm than good, according to new research.

The survey of 2,000 respondents found that nutrition trends don’t always have the desired results — when asked, only a third of respondents (32 percent) said a trend “often” helps them achieve their goal.

Of the vast majority (90 percent) who try new nutrition trends, the average respondent has spent a $158 in the past year on nutrition products that either didn’t work or didn’t produce the desired results — which can add up to more than $9K over the course of a lifetime.

Commissioned by Advanced Orthomolecular Research and conducted by OnePoll, the survey looked at both the nutrition trends Americans are trying and at how they’re finding these fads.

Interestingly enough, respondents were equally as likely to find out about new nutrition trends from their doctor/a health care professional as they were from social media (51 percent each).

Those were two of the top three places respondents reported finding out about fads, with the internet coming out as the place people are most likely to look (53 percent).

Top nutrition trends that respondents have tried before include drinking celery juice (79 percent), “clean” eating (78 percent) and weight-loss tea (78 percent).

That’s in addition to gummy vitamins and weight-loss supplements (76 percent each).

But the internet might not be the best way to find out about health and nutrition trends — in addition to the 50 percent who’ve had a diet go wrong, almost half have taken a vitamin or supplement that caused more harm than good (47 percent and 48 percent, respectively).

The average respondent takes two vitamins or supplements on a weekly basis, but when deciding whether a new one is effective, they don’t give it long at all.

It only takes 10 days for the average respondent to decide whether a new vitamin or supplement is working for them. And results found that four in 10 respondents don’t speak to their doctor or a health care professional before starting a new vitamin or supplement.

“It’s important to remember that supplements and nutrition trends are not one-size-fits all, so any routine needs to be approached with diligence and care. It’s critical for individuals to access their personal wellness needs or concerns and, in best practice, discuss their intended outcome with an expert who can provide guidance and support,” said Dr Traj Nibber, founder and CEO at Advanced Orthomolecular Research (AOR).

“Ultimately, the goal of any program, whether it be lifestyle of supplement-based, should be helping our body function at an optimal level. So, we need to recognize that any changes can positively or negatively impact processes in our body and can have real, medicinal effects.”

Results also showed that only half (54 percent) of respondents were aware that dietary supplements are NOT strictly regulated by the FDA — though 67 percent think they need to be.

And 81 percent agree: Companies shouldn’t be able to make product claims without being backed by studies or science.

“While the FDA does its best to ensure supplements are safe, they ultimately don’t need to be FDA-approved before they hit shelves,” said Nibber, founder and CEO at AOR. “So the burden of responsibility falls on individual companies and consumers to assess the safety, authenticity and efficiency of a specific product or any ingredients listed on the label.

“That’s why it’s critical that consumers educate themselves and recognize that not all supplements are created equal. I always recommend consumers carefully and thoughtfully examine ingredient labels — and verify the product is evaluated by an unbiased third-party source.”


  • Drinking celery juice 79 percent
  • “Clean” eating 78 percent
  • Weight-loss tea 78 percent
  • Gummy vitamins 76 percent
  • Weight-loss supplements 76 percent
  • Personalized vitamins 75 percent
  • CBD products 75 percent
  • Vitamin IV drips 70 percent
  • Blood-type diet 69 percent
  • Personalized/DNA-based nutrition 68 percent

>> Download the video and infographic for this research story <<

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