6 Popular Fad Diets to Better Avoid

Lose 10 Pounds in 10 days!

Drop One Dress Size a Day!

Rapid weight loss claims to be quick and easy. But do you truly believe it?

In 2015 consumers worldwide spent 158.2 billion dollars on weight loss and weight management with the figures expected to reach 259.8 billion dollars by 2022!

So, I guess most of us do.

Yet, the obesity epidemic is rising daily. Upsetting? Shocking? Intriguing?

From huge companies such as Herbalife, Weight Watchers and Atkins Nutritionals to simple, good old cabbage soup diet and magical weight-loss teas, I cannot stop myself from wondering why on Earth nearly 30% of the world’s population is still overweight or obese.

Here are 6 popular fad diets that promise rapid weight loss and other health benefits. But, do they really work and what health risks do they bring, on top of what usually is just a temporary weight loss.

To find out, let’s dig a little deeper.

LEMONADE DIET/ MASTER CLEANSE- JUST DOESN’T GIVE YOUR BODY WHAT IT NEEDS

Firstly, not a diet. It is a fast, as it doesn’t include complete source of macronutrients. A combination of lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper mixed with water, along with herbal laxative teas and internal salt-water baths, helped Beyonce to lose 20lbs (9 kg) in 10 days. Can you imagine yourself drinking only lemon water for 10 days? Cause, I surely can’t.

WEIGHT-LOSS PRODUCTS- EXPENSIVE, DANGEROUS AND UNSUSTAINABLE

Eat all you want, never exercise, and still lose weight with this little magic pill. Sounds like a dream we all been waiting for to come true.

According to current FDA regulations, these magic pills are categorised as dietary supplements, not as drugs! In other words, nobody has to prove they work. However, even with no scientific proof, the word on the street seems to differ.

RAW FOOD DIET- HIGH IN FIBRE, LOW IN FREEDOM

Heating food destroys nutrients and natural enzymes. Yes, it does, especially at high temperatures. You can lose weight by eating raw foods. Double YES. Can you maintain this form of diet for a longer period of time? Triple NO, for most of us.

Interestingly, cooking certain foods actually enhances its nutritional value. For example, the conversion of tomatoes into a tomato sauce forces them to release more of the antioxidant lycopene which helps in prevention of heart disease.

Being a raw vegan requires dedication and strong commitment. Not only it is highly restricted with the number of foods you could actually eat, but it may also affect your social life and where you can eat out. You may find yourself consume more fibre, which is always beneficial, but vegan diets are known for deficiencies in Vitamin D and Vitamin B12, found in animal products.

So, unless you are seriously considering changing your lifestyle forever and becoming a raw vegan, don’t start it as a diet.

CABBAGE SOUP DIET- IT’S BORING, UNBALANCED AND UNSUSTAINABLE

As a true Slovakian at heart, our Christmas dinners always consist of cabbage soup, followed by fish and potato salad. Taking into consideration how often we eat cabbage soup, we are not a very slim nation.

Why? Well it is likely because we add tremendous amount of smoked meat and sour cream which does make it super-tasty but also super-unhealthy.

The cabbage soup diet is based on an amount of calories so low (no meat or sour cream), that the body burns more by simply digesting it than gaining anything in return.

Is it nutritionally balanced?

Highly unlikely! It also involves low amounts of protein, meaning your body will lose muscle mass leading to slower metabolism and slower calorie-burn rate at rest. To top it off, eating soup all day is just simply, not sustainable.

CARROT JUICE FAST- A TRUE RECIPE FOR DISASTER TO HAPPEN

Carrots are a massive nutritional punch. Their crunchy, high in fibre, vitamins and minerals, and full of the famous beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body.

My university professor, a well-respected Nutritionist in the UK, once told me how he treated a woman whose body was so intensively packed with beta-carotene that she turned orange. Yes, her skin was pure orange. She then admitted how she strictly followed a carrot diet, based on eating just carrots.

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that when in excess, stores in fat and turns your skin orange, called carotoderma. Fight the temptations of consuming large amounts of this low calorific vegetable (50 calories per cup) and aim for a healthier dietary strategies.

WEIGHT-LOSS TEAS- BOGUS, BOGUS, BOGUS

Fat-burning teas are everywhere. Ineffective at best and dangerous at worst.

Yes, even among all the natural, herbal-healthy ingredients, weight-loss teas can be unsafe. They contain laxatives, caffeine or diuretics which can lead to dehydration. What’s even more startling, manufacturers don’t always disclose all of the ingredients. Weight loss teas and supplements have been found to contain dangerous ingredients such as ephedra and cybutrine.

On top of this, all the weight-loss consists of water and solid waste only and not an actual body fat. Therefore, the moment your bank account refuses to financially support your fast and effortless weight loss strategy, the pounds will come straight back.

For these reasons, and many others I do NOT recommend these products. Instead, include simple black, green, or white varieties into a healthy balanced diet. Natural teas are rich in epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) that seems to play a significant role in weight loss.

Risks of Rapid Weight Loss

The lure of fast and effortless weight loss forms physical strains on the body, including:

  • Dehydration, can be avoided by drinking plenty of fluids
  • Malnutrition, protein and other micronutrient deficiencies
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Headaches and constipation, can be related to dehydration
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Hair/muscle loss

Is Rapid Weight Loss a Good Idea?

Unless you are in an obese category of having body mass index (BMI) greater than 30, it is better to avoid rapid weight loss and rather opt to a longer, more sustainable diet plans. These can be specifically designed by a Nutritionist, just like myself or by a Certified Health Coach which are easily available and can be found online.

For the individuals suffering from obesity and its metabolic disorders, a doctor-supervised very low-calorie diets (VLCDs), lasting usually 12 weeks can be beneficial as they are nutritionally balanced, effective in most cases, but potentially expensive over time.

As most of us lean towards the starvation strategies to achieve our last-minute goals, such as fitting into a dress, a short-term fasting shouldn’t affect your overall health, as long as you’re healthy and well nourished.

However, as a Nutritionist without doubt my best recommendation is to develop a healthy, sustainable lifestyle diet that will help you feel great and maintain a healthy weight without painfully starving yourself. It may be a longer journey until you reach your health goals but going on a diet just means you will have to go off the diet.

For more information about losing weight and developing a healthy-balanced lifestyle diet, with effective long-term benefits, check out Cella Health Guide sustainable health programs, all available online.