So, you’ve decided that you want to lose weight. That’s a great start—but let’s be honest: if you want to get the physique of your dreams, it’s going to take a lot of hard work.
To get the results you’re looking for, you have to live a healthy lifestyle. Even if eating right and exercising on a daily basis sounds daunting at first, it’s much easier on your body than most popular fad diets. If the diet you’re considering seems too difficult to follow, or it simply seems unbalanced, then it probably is. In the end, you may even end up doing your body more harm than good.
If you’re still interested in trying your luck with one of the various fad diets blowing up the internet, do some research! We’ll give you a hand. Make yourself comfortable. We’re about to uncover the truth behind 10 of the most popular fad diets.
The Baby Food Diet
This is a crash diet that became popular through the internet. While it isn’t typically followed as a weight loss diet, it is supposed to help you keep off the pounds you’ve already shed through other means. For those who may not have heard of it, here’s the premise: if you substitute a few jars of baby food for one or two of your usual meals or snacks per day, then you’ll be able to cut down your daily intake of calories and have better control over your portion sizes. An extra perk: this diet requires absolutely no exercise.
There are multiple avenues you could take. One calls for participants to eat 14 jars of baby food throughout the day, and then finish off their calorie intake with a regular, adult-sized dinner in the evening. Whether you stick to this strict routine, or simply replace your snacks with a jar of baby food when you’re getting a craving, it’s easy to see that you’ll be able to keep off the weight—and you’ll probably end up losing more weight, too. But that doesn’t mean that it’s a good thing.
A Few Things You Should Think About
Let’s start with the calorie intake. Most jars of baby food only range between 20-100 calories. While each jar might contain the amount of nutrients that a growing baby needs, it’s very, very slim in comparison to the adult-sized meal you’ll be replacing. So, yes, you will be consuming less calories—but replacing meals with baby food could mean that you’re trading in those few pesky pounds for a brand new nutritional imbalance.
Without supplements, you may experience deficiencies in your protein and fiber levels, and your sodium levels will skyrocket—which is especially bad for those with high blood pressure or heart disease. Without packing your other meals full of nutritious foods, you’re going to put stress on your body. While this is one of the popular fad diets that may give you short term results, it’s not a healthy long term diet.
The Master Cleanse Diet
The Master Cleanse promises to detoxify your body and remove excess fat while making you feel better than ever before. To participate, you eliminate solid foods for ten days in exchange for a liquid-only diet that includes a morning salt water flush, 6–12 ten ounce glasses of the Master Cleanse lemonade mixture (which contains lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and water), and an optional nightly peppermint tea that doubles as a laxative.
Why This Might Not Be the Best Idea
While participants may see results in the short term, there is a long list of side effects that they’ll have to be ready for due to the lack of nutrients, including: dizziness, dehydration, fatigue, headaches, and nausea. If that wasn’t enough to change your mind, listen to the long term side effects: loss of muscle mass and increased risk of heart attack. Scary, right? These aren’t side effects that you should readily trade to lose a little weight—these are problems that can alter your way of life.
The Cookie Diet
As popular fad diets go, this one might sound particularly inviting. However, like most crash diets, some things are just too good to be true. The idea that you can lose 10–15 pounds per month without hunger pangs by eating cookies? There has to be a drawback.
While there are quite a few cookie diets out there—including the Smart for Life Cookie Diet, Dr. Siegal’s Cookie Diet, Hollywood Cookie Diet, and R&D Diet Cookie—they all share one central idea: that you can lose weight by replacing your meals with specially formulated cookies. For the sake of getting to the bottom of other popular fad diets, we’re going to focus on one cookie diet today: Dr. Siegal’s.
What It’s All About, and What That Means for You
With this diet, you can snack on low-calorie cookies throughout the day and finish your calorie intake off with a meal that weighs in at 500–700 calories in the evening. Since the cookies are designed to be hunger-controlling, chances are that you won’t be left feeling hungry. However, while these cookies are better than snacking on oreos as a meal replacement, they are still nutritionally deficient when compared to a healthy meal.
Plus, they’re pretty expensive—for enough cookies to last you a week, you’ll be dishing out a pretty penny: $49.95! Is the convenience of not having to count your calories enough to make one of these popular fad diets worth it?
The Raw Food Diet
When it comes to the raw food diet, it’s all about fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains. However, there are those who still indulge in unpasteurized dairy products, raw eggs, meat, and fish. Depending on your preference, you can go the 100% vegan route or choose to intake raw foods of all sorts.
Either way, the premise of this popular fad diet remains the same: when you cook foods, you break down their nutrients and natural enzymes, causing them to be only a shade as powerful as they are when raw. To fix this, and ultimately give your body the fuel it deserves, nix the cooking.
So, That Doesn’t Sound Bad At All, Right?
Here’s the truth: while the raw foods diet may provide you with the nutrition you need to maintain a healthy diet, those who exclude animal products from their diets will have to closely monitor their nutrition intake. Also, food preparation can be a disaster—what with all of the juicing, blending, dehydrating, and chopping involved.
Even if you’re fine with the extra prep time and supplements involved, this factor might not be as easy to work through. Since many uncooked and unpasteurized foods can lead to foodborne illness, it can be on the risky side. In fact, there’s so much at stake that dieticians recommend that pregnant women, young children, seniors, individuals with weak immune systems, and those with chronic medical conditions look for other options.
The Blood Type Diet
This is another one of the popular fad diets that differs depending on the participant. This one is contingent on a more unusual factor: your blood type. Created by Peter J. D’Adamo, the idea behind this diet is that the foods that you eat react chemically with your blood type. If you follow a diet designed specifically around your blood type, your body will be able to digest your food better.
To see success with this kind of diet, not only do you have to eat a very strict set of foods, but you also have to do exercises based on your blood type, and take the required vitamin and herb supplements that go along with it. While many have claimed that this diet saved their lives, what happens when a vegetarian finds out that they’re a Type O (or what is also referred to as “the hunter”) and their diet is heavily based on meat, fish, and poultry? Or perhaps the complete opposite, when a meat lover finds out that they are a Type A (which closely mirrors that of a vegetarian)? Sure there is a little bit of wiggle room, but not much.
But, Wait . . . Couldn’t This Also Play Into the Success?
While it’s clear that individuals may see some results after partaking in the blood type diet, there is no proof that it actually has to do one’s blood type. All of the categories cut out highly processed foods and junk food and they all require an ample amount of exercise, as well. Who says that the healthy eating and exercise isn’t the reason behind the success of popular fad diets like this one?
The Five Bite Diet
When it comes popular fad diets that sound ultra appealing, this one takes the cake. With the Five Bite Diet, you can eat any food you want. That’s right—anything. The catch? You can only eat five bites of it.
This crash diet is all about portion control and, like most crash diets, while it sounds appealing, it can be harmful for your body. To start, you skip breakfast. Not exactly a healthy start. From there, you can have five bites of anything you want for lunch, and five bites of anything you want for dinner. You can have as many drinks as you want as long as they don’t have any calories.
For your meals, you can make your bites as large as you can get them and you can splurge on foods that are as high in calories as you want, but at the end of the day, you should never go over the recommended 800 calories.
The Down Side
This diet is very, very simple to follow, but that doesn't mean that it’s going to be easy. More often than not, with only five bites of food a day, you’re going to feel hunger pains. On top of that, while you don’t have to shy away from cheeseburgers and donuts while you’re on this diet, chances are that if you only eat splurge-worthy foods, you’re not going to get the nutrients you need.
Because of this, it’s recommended that you take a multivitamin every day—but even then you’re still not fueling your body in a healthy way. Your metabolism is going to slow down, your immune function is going to decrease, and after a while your diet may even cause heart palpitations. I’ll make it clear: this diet is definitely not worth it!
The Cabbage Soup Diet
If you’re looking to melt off a few pounds before a special event that you have coming up, you may be inclined to try a range of popular fad diets in the hope that you’ll get results. Just like the previous crash diet we talked about, these diets won’t help in the long run, and due to their lack of nutrition, they can be downright harmful. The cabbage soup diet is no different.
For this one, all you do is eat fat-free cabbage soup two to three times a day for 7 days a week, along with the assigned food that you’re allowed to accompany it with, depending on the day. This diet is quite rigid and doesn’t allow substitutions. Since you’ll be taking in such a small amount of calories per day (likely less than 1,000) it can leave you feeling hungry, weak, and possibly even sick. Rule #1: You should never, ever starve your body to see results. Since you’re likely to regain the weight once you stop the 7-day diet, there’s really nothing positive that you can get out of it.
The Sleeping Beauty Diet
Because there’s been a connection between lack of sleep and obesity, diets that require the participant to get a decent amount of shut eye make sense. However, when it comes to popular fad diets like the Sleeping Beauty diet, things go a little bit too far. For this one, the participant is required to get put under heavy sedation for several days so that their bodies can shed the pounds as they sleep.
The reason you’ll see results in popular fad diets like this is because you don’t consume calories as you’re sleeping, and your body is forced to use the energy it previously stored up in order to survive. You’ll see a difference, all right, but that doesn’t mean it’s a healthy one. You’re basically starving the pounds away. Even though you’re not conscious to deal with the hunger pains, that doesn’t mean ignoring them is a good idea.
The Full Moon Diet
The list of popular fad diets that have been sweeping the nation in recent years wouldn’t be complete without the full moon diet. Popular among celebrities, this diet is based on the cycles of the moon, as it is believed that the moon influences the water in our bodies similar to the way that it influences the tides. The idea is that when the moon is full, or at a new phase, there’s a gravitational pull on people that lasts for 24 hours and affects how much water weight we can gain or lose.
There are two versions of the full moon diet. The first requires that you complete a 24 hour day of fasting where you only drink water or juice and consume no food during the full and new moons. The extended version involves the participant also following a strict regimen throughout the month. In the latter, it is advised that participants eat less food during the waning moon phases and that they don’t eat at all after 6pm. In the end, this is all done in order to cleanse your body of toxins.
Are There Really Any Results?
Like many juice cleanses, it is recommended that participants not follow this diet for longer than six days at a time. Restricting food will lead to weight loss, but it can also cause your body significant harm. Popular fad diets like this one only cause short term weight loss. With no scientific evidence behind it, following this diet may be a better social experiment for you to tweet about than a legitimate weight loss program you can sustain.
The Grapefruit Diet
This is one of the popular fad diets that’s been around the longest, and like the cabbage soup diet, it revolves around the participant focusing on the consumption of a specific food or group of foods. Here’s what the grapefruit diet is all about: because grapefruits contain certain enzymes, it’s believed that when you eat them before other foods, it will help burn fat. There are a wide range of variations, but most last between 10 to 12 days. Followers claim that you can easily lose as many as ten pounds once you’ve reached the end.
Some variations require that you:
a. Cut your overall daily calorie count to around 800
b. Eat grapefruit before or with every meal
c. Cut down your intake of sugars and carbs
d. Focus on eating foods that are high in protein, fat, and cholesterol
e. Drink 8 glasses of water and 1 cup of coffee a day.
The Real Truth
The premise of grapefruits burning fat is not true. Even though some have seen results with popular fad diets like this, you have to think of the other variables involved that had an effect on the outcome. Grapefruits don’t burn fat, but they may help you get fuller faster.
And losing ten pounds in as little as 10–12 days? That’s just not healthy. Following a steadier diet that involves eating healthier and exercising is always a better option.
Eating Healthy & Exercising Is Better Than All of These Popular Fad Diets
When doctors recommend that you only follow popular fad diets for a short period of time, it should be a red flag that the diet isn’t the best idea. Diets that are sustainable—simply built around eating healthier and exercising—aren’t risky like many of the crash diets out there. That means that they’re the best way for you to go if you’re looking for safe, long term results.
For those who would like a hand with their meal planning and exercise routine, call Krav Maga Worldwide today! We have a skilled nutritionist on staff, and we’re always happy to help individuals who are looking to build stronger, smarter, healthier versions of themselves.