The definition of a fad is “an interest followed with exaggerated zeal” (WordWeb.info). When it comes to fad diets though, it seems like “zeal” is not a strong enough word to describe the attachment some can develop toward their chosen weight loss path. Perhaps fervency and vehemence are more accurate. However we choose to describe such a commitment to a new diet, all too many people look for a magic bullet in order to lose weight, taking things on face value, and trusting almost anyone when it comes to nutrition, food, and diet.
According to an article at Health.com, there are currently 14 Fad Diets You Shouldn’t Try because, “From the impractical to the downright dangerous, these diets aren’t your best choice for losing weight.”
Here, we feature the fad diets form the list that we believe to be the most harmful:
The Raw Food Diet
We’ve mentioned our concerns about a raw food diet before. Why? Raw foodies say cooking destroys nutrients. Though it’s true that cooking produce can sometimes reduce nutrient levels, cooked veggies still pack plenty of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and in some instances cooking actually enhances nutrients while also killing bacteria. The biggest issue with this extreme form of veganism? Food prep is totally impractical, says Christopher N. Ochner, PhD, director of research development and administration at the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center. Raw foodies spend hours upon hours juicing, blending, dehydrating, sprouting, germinating, cutting, chopping, and rehydrating.
The alkaline diet, also known as the alkaline ash diet and the alkaline acid diet, requires you cut out meat, dairy, sweets, caffeine, alcohol, artificial and processed foods, and consume more fresh fruits and veggies, nuts, and seeds. The diet certainly has positive points; it’s heavy on fresh produce and other healthy, satisfying foods while eliminating processed fare, which in itself may spur weight loss. But your body is incredibly efficient at keeping your pH levels where they need to be, so cutting out these foods really won’t affect your body’s pH, says Ochner. Not to mention there’s no research proving that pH affects your weight in the first place.
The Blood-Type Diet
Developed by naturopathic physician Peter D’Adamo, the Blood Type Diet is based on the notion that the foods you eat react chemically with your blood type. For example, on the diet, those with type O blood are to eat lean meats, vegetables, and fruits, and avoid wheat and dairy. Meanwhile, type A dieters go vegetarian, and those with type B blood are supposed to avoid chicken, corn, wheat, tomatoes, peanuts, and sesame seeds. However, there’s no scientific proof that your blood type affects weight loss. And depending on your blood type, the diet can be extremely restrictive.
The Master Cleanse/Lemonade Diet
This diet has been around for decades, and there are a ton of variations. Pretty much all involve subsisting for days on only lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper mixed in water. “You are essentially just drinking diuretics,” Ochner says. “You’ll shed mostly water weight.” Once you start eating solid foods again, you will gain all the weight back. Common side effects include fatigue, nausea, dizziness, and dehydration. Plus, on an extremely low-calorie diet like this one, you are going to lose muscle, exactly the kind of weight you don’t want to lose.
The HCG Diet
This edge-of-starvation diet limits you to about 500 calories a day while taking human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), a hormone that proponents tout as a powerful appetite suppressant. However, there’s no evidence that HCG does more than act as a placebo, Ochner says. Yes, you’ll lose weight, but only due to the extreme calorie restriction. Though a health care provider may legally give you HCG injections, they’re typically used to treat fertility issues in women and the FDA has not approved them for weight loss. As for over-the-counter homeopathic products that supposedly contain HCG? Those are illegal.
Needless to say, there are more outrageous fad diets out there and, if you’d like to learn a little something about human nature and gullibility, we suggest you read the article.
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