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Alternative Diet Programs - Topic Overview

What are alternative diets used for?

Alternative diets attempt to improve physical and/or mental well-being. Many alternative diets claim to prevent or cure diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. But alternative diets have not been studied enough to prove that they work.

Some people believe that diet can help prevent or treat conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), fibromyalgia, and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. But there is not conclusive research to determine whether these conditions have a dietary link.

Are alternative diets safe?

Some alternative diet programs are safe when practiced in moderation. But diets that severely limit food choices or exclude entire food groups can lead to nutritional deficiencies or other health problems.

Children, pregnant or nursing women, and people with chronic illnesses should not start any alternative diet without first consulting a doctor.

Always tell your doctor if you are using an alternative therapy or if you are thinking about combining an alternative therapy with your conventional medical treatment. It may not be safe to forgo your conventional medical treatment and rely only on an alternative therapy.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 11, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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