Horrible Diet Fads You Should Never Try
Many diets promise fast and easy weight loss, but health and nutrition experts say most of those fads are full of lies — they’re actually bad for your health. New diet fads pop up every year, and it’s hard to ignore them when celebrities and influencers keep promoting them. However, it’s best to avoid unrealistic diet trends.
Learn the truth about horrible diet fads you should never try and why experts say they’re nonsense — and in some cases dangerous.
The HCG Diet
The FDA identifies the human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) diet as a reckless way to lose weight. Each day, you only eat 500 calories and take HCG using drops, lotions or other methods. Those who support the diet claim the supplement reduces hunger to help people shed pounds.
The Werewolf Diet
Believe it or not, the werewolf diet is a real craze. It has nothing to do with turning into a hungry monster and howling at the moon. But it is based on moon cycles. During a full or new moon, you're only allowed to drink juice for 24 hours.
The Low-Fat Diet
Not all fat is bad for you. In fact, healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts and fatty fish are worthy additions to your meals. New research shows people on low-fat diets lose less weight than those on high-fat diets in the long term.
The Alkaline Diet
Kelly Ripa and Tom Brady created a lot of buzz around the alkaline diet. Supporters of the diet believe foods can change the pH levels in their blood. You avoid acid-producing foods like wheat, dairy, meat, sugar and processed food but go heavy on alkaline ones like veggies, fruits, nuts and tofu.
The Five-Bite Diet
Dr. Alwin Lewis created the Five-Bite Diet, which requires you to stop eating breakfast and only take five bites of your lunch and dinner. Lewis claims the program is a great way to shed pounds and still eat your favorite foods.
The Master Cleanse
Popularized by Beyoncé, the Master Cleanse, aka the lemonade diet, promotes weight loss because it involves drinking only liquids for 10 days — no solid food allowed. The liquid is a beverage made of water, lemon juice, cayenne powder and maple syrup. Experts say there's a lot of problems with this diet.
The Sleeping Beauty Diet
Losing weight while getting a lot of sleep sounds like a dream. But this diet takes sleeping and weight loss to dangerous levels. The extreme fad encourages dieters to use sedatives to stay asleep for 20 hours, so they’ll spend less time eating.
A no-sugar diet seems like a maintainable program. How hard can it be to cut sweets out of a diet? Many celebrities vouch for these diets to achieve "summer bods." Sounds very tempting. However, a zero-sugar diet doesn't just mean no cupcakes, ice cream and other sweet treats.
The Keto Diet
Celebrities like Kourtney Kardashian and Halle Berry are big fans of the keto diet, so it's no surprise that the fad has become very popular. The very low-carb and high-fat diet is extremely restrictive. You'll no longer eat most of the junk foods that you usually indulge in, but you also stop eating many whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
Health Magazine voted the Whole30 diet as one of the worst health trends for 2013. Although it's popular among millennials, it still gets a "no" from dietitians. The Whole30 program doesn't allow grains, legumes, dairy, soy, sugar, alcohol and processed foods.
The Blood Type Diet
The blood type diet is based on the book, "Eat Right 4 Your Type," by Dr. Peter D'Adamo, a naturopathic physician. According to D'Adamo's work, you must adopt a lifestyle and diet that entirely depend on your blood type.
Believers say juicing improves your immune system, cleans out your body and helps with rapid weight loss. However, they don't tell you that the diet makes you dehydrated and extremely hungry. It also removes the important bacteria in your colon. Is this diet safe?
Activated Charcoal Drinks
Many folks use activated charcoal for face masks, shampoo, soap and deodorant. Others, like Kim Kardashian West and Gwyneth Paltrow, enjoy adding charcoal to their daily diets to detox. However, experts encourage you to skip putting the substance in food and drinks.
The Apple Cider Vinegar Diet
Most people use apple cider vinegar in salads, but celebrities like Megan Fox took the vinegar as shots to shed pounds. Some research found that vinegar can improve blood sugar levels, particularly for people with type 2 diabetes. That's great news.
Many celebrities, including Kendall Jenner, Amber Rose and Christina Milian, swear by teatoxing, which is short for the tea detox diet. The program involves "skinny teas" with special ingredients like senna, a substance found in over-the-counter and prescription laxatives. What?
The Lectin-Free Diet
Kelly Clarkson is a big fan of the lectin-free diet, also known as The Plant Paradox. The diet's creator is a cardiologist who believes lectins in plant proteins prevent people from losing weight. This means wheat, nuts, beans, seeds, peas, tomatoes and potatoes are the enemy.
The Celery Juice Diet
Busy Phillipps and Lea Michele love the celery juice diet. Followers say the green juice will decrease inflammation, improve muscle recovery after a workout and help with weight loss. But experts disagree, replying it's just a trendy detox drink with no health benefits.
The Cotton Ball Diet
Nutrition experts highly disapprove of the cotton ball diet because it's extremely dangerous. The diet trend involves eating cotton balls soaked in juices or smoothies to reduce hunger and appetite. According to followers, the cotton balls make you more full.
The Grapefruit Diet
Science says "get real." There isn't any evidence to back up the claims of the grapefruit diet. "Grapefruit has no special properties when it comes to weight loss. You lose weight when you expend more calories than you take in," says Elisabetta Politi, RD, a nutrition manager of Duke University's Diet and Fitness Center.
Melissa Joan Hart was a big fan of Nutrisystem, which calls for munching on pre-packaged meals. This diet is very convenient because you don't have to worry about grocery shopping or cooking. Also, the meals are nutritionally balanced. However, it sounds too good to be true because it is. Plus, the meals are processed foods.
The Baby Food Diet
The baby food diet requires you to replace breakfast and lunch with a dozen jars of baby food. The diet isn't dangerous, but your calorie consumption is extremely low. Also, it's easy to go bananas or get bored with eating purées for a long period.
The Atkins Diet
Many medical professionals give the Atkins diet two thumbs down. "No nutritionist in her right mind would endorse a bonanza of high-fat, high-saturated fat foods like bacon, steak and cheese. It may take off the pounds, but it just doesn't make good health sense, no matter what the early studies say," explains registered dietitian Maureen Callahan.
Celebrities like Jessica Biel follow the paleo diet, which is based on a hunter-gatherer diet. Appropriate foods in the paleo plan include meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. According to supporters, the human body wasn't made to eat certain food groups, such as potatoes and refined sugar. The diet even bans beneficial foods like dairy, legumes and grains.
The Cold Water Diet
The cold water diet or ice water diet involves only drinking ice-cold water and eating very few fruits and vegetables. According to followers, the cold water helps your body burn extra calories because your body works harder to control its internal temperature.
Raw Food Diet
"The raw food diet encourages people to eat only raw (never heated), unprocessed foods. While eating more produce is advantageous, experts say there’s no reason to avoid cooking it. This diet may put people at risk for food-borne illness if raw meat and dairy are consumed," Carroll says.
The South Beach Diet
Another trendy low-carb program is the South Beach Diet, which requires dieters to consume lots of protein, healthy fats and low-glycemic carbs. Supporters say these foods will maintain your blood sugar level and stop intense cravings. In the first week, you can lose 13 pounds.
The SlimFast Diet
Originally, the SlimFast diet called for drinking its pre-made shakes alone. The diet has changed since then. Now, dieters can replace their meals with more than just shakes. People can also eat SlimFast bars and snacks. According to nutrition experts, the diet hasn't really changed for the better.
The Cookie Diet
The Hollywood Cookie Diet sounds strange yet delicious. But it's not what you may think. The fad involves eating high-protein and high-fiber weight-loss cookies — not chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies. For breakfast and lunch, you'll eat the cookies. For dinner, you can eat a normal meal, but you can only consume up to 1,200 calories per day.
The Tapeworm Diet
Some people think swallowing a tapeworm is a good idea, but most people will disagree, especially doctors and nutrition experts. For decades, ingesting these parasitic worms has been a real weight-loss fad. Supporters promote the scheme as easy. You just swallow tapeworm eggs and the tapeworm eats the food you consume.
Many people temporarily fast for cultural and religious reasons. However, some people fast to shed pounds. Experts say fasting for weight loss actually defeats the purpose. When your body is starved for a long period of time, it changes your metabolism.