Fad Diets
Not all weight loss diets are the same. Learn which diets are most healthy for you, and which ones may be putting your health at risk.

At the start of every New Year, people everywhere are busy making their life-changing resolutions, and losing weight is consistently a top commitment made by many.

The majority of people making this commitment want to see results, and they want to see them fast. That is why many people fall for bogus fad diets. These diets usually guarantee quick weight loss, but the methods implemented to cause weight loss are not always the healthiest.

The problem with these diets is that instead of helping you make a lifestyle change that can last, they drastically change a person’s eating habits so that they can lose weight quickly, making it harder for them to continue to keep the weight off when the diet is over. In fact, 65% of people who successfully complete a fad diet will eventually gain all of their lost weight back.

With that being said, it is also important to note that not all fad diets are absolutely horrible, but nothing beats exercise and a lasting lifestyle change that will make it easy to choose nutritious foods over and over again for the rest of your life.

The Good

Seeing that not all fad diets are totally off limits when it comes to healthy ways to lose weight, I thought I’d highlight some of the better ones that are out there. The three I am going to talk about are among the more popular fad diets and while they are better options than some of the others, there are still some cons that come with each of them.

South Beach Diet

This diet was created by the cardiologist, Arthur Agatston, MD, who designed it with the intention of protecting his patients from serious medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease. The South Beach Diet stresses the importance of eating before feeling hungry; this way the cycle that the diet refers to as “hunger-overeat-gain weight” can be avoided, ultimately helping you lose weight.

Dieters are instructed to cut out carbs and focus on lean protein, low-fat dairy and good carbs like whole grains, vegetables and fruit. Many find it hard to make it through the very first phase of the diet, which is known to be very strict but those that make it to the third phase also known as the “Maintenance” phase will learn how to maintain a lifelong eating plan that will allow them to enjoy occasional treats while keeping off the excess weight.

Weight Watchers

U.S. News rated this diet number one when it comes to Best Weight Loss Diets. The Weight Watchers program is all about making healthy choices that will fill you up, rather than counting calories. The big positive about this diet is that no food is off limits, which gives people the freedom to shape their own diet by choosing what they want to eat. This diet also falls within the accepted range for the amount of carbs, proteins and other nutrients the food provides.

The backbone of this program is the support groups that consist of previous participants. The company has data from 2005 showing that those who regularly attended weekly meetings were the ones who kept the most weight off. While the level of flexibility causes temptations to run high making this diet difficult for some, Weight Watchers has had a high record of success for more than 40 years and is still very popular today.


Along with weight loss, this diet aims to help prevent and control diabetes. The theory behind this program is that losing weight is easier when meal-management chores are outsourced. As a part of participating in this diet, all food portions are decided by Nutrisystem and prepared and delivered right to your door telling you what to eat and when.

U.S. News ranked this diet 9th on its list of Easiest Diets to Follow. The positives of Nutrisystem are that no food is off limits, and there isn’t much planning since everything is prepared beforehand. However, eating a “TV dinner” every night doesn’t sound very appetizing. The preplanning also makes it hard for people to maintain a healthy weight when they go off the diet because they didn’t really learn how to plan on their own, they were just handed their food every week.

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The Bad

These fad diets are a little more outrageous than the ones above, but they are ones that should, under no circumstances, be seen as an acceptable and nutritious way to lose weight. The main issue with the three diets mentioned below is that while helping you drop a few pounds, they may also be putting your health at risk, which is the number one reason to say no to a particular diet.

The Five-Bite Diet

This diet lets you eat whatever you want, but you can only take 5 bites of it. You skip breakfast completely and only take five bites of food for lunch and then again for dinner. Yes this is a real diet, and it was developed by obesity doctor Alwin Lewis, M.D.

Needless to say, this diet takes the idea of eating what you want in smaller portions to the extreme. Even if a person is taking large bites of foods that are high in calories, they are probably only going to consume around 900 calories a day. Losing weight the healthy way would require them to eat about 1200 calories per day.

The Lemonade Diet

This diet has been around for decades along with countless variations of it. A person may only consume lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper mixed in water. Basically, this diet causes the excretion of water from the body by filling it with fluids causing people to shed mostly water weight. Once people start consuming solid foods again, they gain the weight right back. Some common side effects of this diet include fatigue, nausea, dizziness and dehydration. Extreme low-calorie diets like this one will cause the body to lose muscle, which is weight you really don’t want to lose.

The Sleeping Beauty Diet

If you’re asleep, you’re not eating. This has to be the most unique, but also the most outrageous approach to dieting. The claim of this diet is that it has the benefit of significantly reducing the number of times you eat per day, and also that the sleep you get helps to regulate your metabolism, which improves weight loss.

Extreme advocates for this diet recommend sedating yourself for 20 hours a day for a few days at a time while only eating one small meal occasionally. Obviously this diet wouldn’t work for people who do normal things like go to work and have a family. Also, it is just downright hazardous and not a safe way to live at all. Please don’t be so desperate to lose weight that you have to sedate yourself to keep yourself from eating.

Remember, there are plenty of healthy ways to lose weight. They may not be the fastest, and the way you eat may have to change significantly, but at least you won’t be putting your body at risk by depriving it of the things it needs to function properly.

*Healthcare Daily Online does not endorse any of the commercial products or diets listed above.

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