They’re called fad diets because they’re popular for a short while until people realize they don’t work and then they fade away into the past.
Some diet trends last longer than others, but they all have this in common – they don’t provide safe, lasting weight loss. Yes, they may help you lose weight quickly, but it won’t be the safe, healthy way, and it won’t stick for long. As soon as the diet stops and you eat regular foods again, the weight comes back.
The following five fad diets may sound easy and enticing, but you will want to think twice before wasting your time on any of them.
1. The Cabbage Soup Diet
There are lots of diets out there that promote eating just one food in the place of anything else and the cabbage soup diet is one of them. Eat fat-free soup made from cabbage and other vegetables along other foods low in calories like fruit and skim milk for at least two meals a day for a week.
You will lose weight on such a low-calorie, high-fiber diet, but when you decide you’re sick of cabbage soup, the weight returns. As if that isn’t enough, you can expect bloating from the fiber and muscle loss due to the lack of protein.
“My biggest regret is putting my body through fad diets — Atkins, cleanses, the HCG diet…” – Jennie Garth
2. The Lemonade Diet
Also called the Master Cleanse Diet, the lemonade diet has been around for years. At night you drink an herbal tea and in the morning you down some salt water meant to cleanse your digestive system. During the day you fill your stomach with water mixed with lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup.
There are many problems with this diet plan. A diet that so drastically reduces calories and is nutritionally void is unhealthy and dangerous. You’ll shed mostly water weight and muscle while dealing with fatigue, dizziness, and nausea.
Contrary to popular belief, your body doesn’t need help cleansing itself. Your liver and kidneys do a good enough job. It’s why they exist. And as soon as you eat regular food, the weight comes back. You detox better if you just give the right tools to your liver and kidneys, not take away energy from them.
3. The HCG Diet
Another diet not to try is the HCG Diet. HCG stands for human chorionic gonadotropin, a pregnancy hormone that’s supposed to suppress your appetite. The plan includes taking injections of this hormone while limiting yourself to between 500 and 800 calories a day.
While you will lose weight, such a low-calorie diet is unsafe. HCG is normally given to help women dealing with fertility issues and there’s no scientific proof that it’s safe to receive such injections for any other purpose.
4. The Grapefruit Diet
Another single-food diet fad that’s been around for years is the Grapefruit Diet. Eat some form of grapefruit at every meal for 12 days while consuming less than 1,000 calories in food. Proponents of this diet claim grapefruit contains an enzyme with powerful fat-burning properties.
No, starving has fat loss (and muscle loss) properties, not some magic enzyme.
As with the cabbage soup route, you’ll lose weight fast on this calorie-restrictive diet, but it will be short-lived. Yes, grapefruit is healthy, but science has yet to prove it contains fat-burning enzymes. Also, grapefruit is known to interfere with certain medications, so check with your doctor before eating too much of the pink fruit.
5. Any diet that omits a macronutrient
If you ever see a diet that tells you to eliminate carbs, proteins or fats entirely – you need to run in the other direction! Your body needs all three macronutrients to fulfill everyday functions and to be a healthy human being. Sure, you may like to increase or decrease certain macros depending on how you feel and your goals but you should never eliminate one group entirely.
Such a diet has no scientific proof, is very restrictive, may leave you malnourished, and may not even produce weight loss (quite the opposite in fact).
I hope you got lots from this article and I want your takeaway to be ‘use common sense’. If it sounds too good to be true or if you have a celebrity or model endorsing it you need to do your homework.
After being in the industry for over a decade and having completed over 50,000 workouts a year at our personal training studios I can safely say that the best results comes from a balanced diet and a great workout plan. There is no magic diet, the best diet is the one that makes you feel the best and one that you can stick to long term.
Jack Wheeler is a personal trainer and the owner of 360 Fitness in Red Deer.