Fad diets try to offer a quick fix for fast weight loss, and, even if they work, the result is short-term and the pounds come bouncing back. The biggest problem with unhealthy fad diets is that you shouldn’t stay on any of them for extended periods of time because they are generally unbalanced nutritionally. Many fad diets don’t work at all, and some can be dangerous because they’re based on bad or strange ideas, like “The Sleeping Beauty Diet” where you knock yourself out for several days at a time with sedatives.
10. The Pasta Chocolate Diet
Am I dreaming? Pasta AND chocolate? You know the old saying: “If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is” and that’s the case here. You can’t drink anything but water, and the only chocolate you get is up to 1-ounce at the end of the day as an evening snack along with some popcorn, but you do get to eat pasta for lunch and dinner. Prohibited foods include sugar, alcohol, carbonated drinks, coffee, tea, nuts, all junk food imaginable except for popcorn, fried foods, dairy products, salt, and red meat. Do you know how small one ounce of chocolate is? Is it really worth it to not have a steak every once in a while? Most real diets encourage you to have some red meat prepared in a healthy way. This diet offers major food restrictions with a reward of 1 ounce of chocolate each night along with the absence of some very important nutrients.
9. The Chicken Soup Diet
You’re allowed one breakfast per day (only one?), then you can eat as much chicken soup as you want for the rest of the day. This can’t be good. You’re basically living off of cereal, bagels, yogurt, figs, and gallons of chicken soup. This is similar to the “Cabbage Soup Diet” and both diets smell of malnutrition–among other things.
8. The Zen Diet
It’s really a very simple plan–only eat food in its natural state, no red meat, and limit other meat considerably. Some Zen diets forbid all meat and dairy. The biggest problem is that little to no meat means not enough protein necessary for brain chemistry, muscle repair, and bone building; and little to no fat, the good fat, affects the body’s satiety and ability to stabilize blood sugar and decrease inflammation. Bring on the bacon!
7. Caveman Diet (Prehistoric Diet, Stone Age Diet, Paleolithic Diet)
As you might guess, this diet revolves around trying to mimic the diet of the caveman. Allowed foods include lean meat (I suppose dinosaur meat was lean), fish, vegetables, fruit, roots, and nuts; and excludes: grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils. All foods eaten are those that can be hunted and gathered. Please tell me why we would want to pattern our eating habits after a caveman? Wasn’t their average lifespan around 15 years old or something??
6. The 12-Day Grapefruit Juice Diet
This one really is too good to be true. You can eat till you’re full, you can double or triple the amount of meat, salad or vegetables for each meal, you can fry food in butter and use butter generously on vegetables, and you MUST eat bacon when they say to eat bacon. You can eat any kind of cheese, and you can have mayonnaise and regular salad dressing. But as the name indicates you must drink 8 ounces of grapefruit juice with every meal as it’s supposed to be the catalyst for burning off what you eat as long as you’re eating the right combinations of foods—don’t forget the bacon! You also have to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day. The promise, while gobbling down all that cheese, butter, bacon, and mayo, and swimming in water and grapefruit juice, is that you will lose 52 pounds in 2 ½ months. Right. NEXT!
5. The 3-Day Hot Dog Diet
I’m not quite sure why they call this a ‘hot dog diet’ since the only time you actually EAT hot dogs is on the 2nd day at dinner. Otherwise, you’re eating regular diet foods like cottage cheese, tuna, fruit, veggies, and black coffee or tea for 3 days. Correction, you are instructed to have ½ cup of vanilla ice cream every night. Go figure—hot dogs and ice cream? I think they added 2 hot dogs on the menu for the second night just so they could call this a hot dog diet.
4. The Magnetic Diet
The foundation of this diet is in understanding which foods attract either health or disease to the body. Contaminating magnetism supposedly attracts disease to the body and includes refined sugar, cholesterol, and white flour. Invigorating magnetism include fruits, whole grains, vegetables, lean meat, and foods containing antioxidants. In addition to only eating invigorating magnetism foods, the diet advocates doing meditation and re-programming the mind towards engaging in more healthy habits. Um, to me, it sounds like a new-age, catchy name for what we already know—eat a balanced diet, reduce sugar intake, reduce stress, and train your brain to replace bad habits with healthy choices.
3. Blood Type Diet
Developed by Dr. Peter D’Adamo, ND, you basically eat or avoid eating foods according to your blood type, and this is supposed to help you lose weight. For example, this diet specifies that blood type B people should avoid corn, wheat, lentils, tomatoes, chicken, peanuts and sesame seeds, and they should eat goat, mutton, venison, eggs, green vegetables, and low fat dairy. However, the Mayo Clinic doesn’t think much of this diet and they say that “eating or avoiding certain foods according to your blood type isn’t thought to have any favorable influence on weight or health” and they also feel that this diet plan is unlikely to meet your nutritional needs at all. Again, another diet that leaves you malnourished in the end as well as very tired if you’re a B blood type person who has to go out and start hunting and shooting all of your food.
2. The Air Diet
The Air Diet of the Institute for Psychoactive Research doesn’t require you to avoid any foods or change your current diet or exercise habits—you just breathe. Hmmm. How novel. Instead of focusing on what you eat or how much you eat, you focus on breathing. The idea is that if you practice rhythmical breathing, then you breathe more air. The more air you breathe, the more weight you lose. The best part is that you can do this anytime, anywhere—while driving, laying in bed, working, walking, having sex, and so on. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure I’m breathing when I do all of those things. Whatever. NEXT!
1. Tapeworm Diet
This must be the most disgusting diet ever thought of, and there is evidence that “tapeworm diet pills” were marketed from 1900 – 1920’s. Basically, you ingest beef tapeworm eggs (beef tapeworm is supposedly the best choice), and then you take medicine to kill the tapeworm after you’ve lost the desired amount of weight. It doesn’t take a genius to know this diet is both ineffective and unhealthy. You’re not changing your eating habits with this “diet,” so all the weight will come back once the worm is gone, and it’s extremely unhealthy to have a parasite living in your body sucking all of the nutrition out you.