I know this may be a hard pill to swallow, but believe it or not, not all fitness trends are healthy - especially when it comes to dieting. In fact, many weight-loss fads popular in Hollywood and among some of your friends are downright amusing. While we know the way to health is through a balance of working out, eating right and maintaining healthy behaviors, sometimes taking a look at the shortcuts gives us a better understanding of what’s out there and serves as a reminder that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Check out these ridiculous fad diets and why you should avoid them:
The Cookie Diet
There are a number of cookie diets currently available to the masses, but the general idea is pretty much the same – you lose weight by feeding off high-fiber cookies for most snacks and meals. Marketing tactics claim they’re highly nutritious, delicious appetite suppressants that keep you from feeling deprived when you’re trying to lose weight. In actuality, they drastically reduce your calorie intake to 800-1,000 per day and deprive you of most essential nutrients. According to Registered Dietitian and ACE-certified Personal Trainer Gina Crome, owner of Lifestyle Management Solutions, aside from obvious nutrient deficits, these low-calorie plans tend to work against you in the end. “Our bodies are designed to conserve energy during times of famine, so drastic cuts in calorie intake trigger our metabolism to slow down, making weight loss even more difficult,” she said.
Cabbage Soup Diet
Who doesn’t love a good cabbage soup? Yum! … Even if that was true this diet isn’t the “miracle” it claims to be. A diet of many names – Russian Peasant, Sacred Heart and TJ Miracle Soup – this one consists of eating a low-calorie cabbage soup for seven days. Testimonials claim you can lose up to 10 pounds in one week if you stick with the plan, even though most critics say that’s simply not possible. It also deprives your body of the 1,200 calories it needs per day for basic activities and healthy metabolism. “True, you may lose a few pounds of water, but just as soon as you begin eating a normal diet, that water loss reverses and the pounds come right back,” Crome said. “A good diet is one you can do for life, and this one doesn’t have the variety you can sustain for long. It’s a poor nutritional choice and one you aren’t likely to stick to.” Cabbage also contains oligosaccharides, making it difficult to digest.
The French “Air” Diet
In the land of escargot, apparently diets don’t even have to incorporate food to gain popularity. “L’Air Fooding” – translated as the “Air Diet” – was highlighted in the French magazine Grazia as the “it diet” of the stars. Featured in Madonna’s Dolce & Gabbana campaign, the craze basically consists of preparing or ordering food, cutting it into bite-size pieces, picking it up with your fork and pretending to eat it. The only thing you actually consume, however, is soup à l’eau (yes, water soup). Even novice cooks can prepare it (the ingredients are literally water and salt), and diet makers say it’s full of minerals, quenches your thirst and saves you money. Hmm.
The Baby Food Diet
Mashed carrots, pureed ham and strained peas sound delicious? Allegedly all the rage among Hollywood stars since Jennifer Aniston was purported to have used it to lose a few pounds, the Baby Food Diet is definitely a unique one. Replacing breakfast and lunch with about 14 jars of baby food (about 25 to 75 calories each), and then eating a sensible dinner can apparently help you drop the pounds. Healthy? Not quite. “There’s a reason baby food is made for babies and not adults,” Crome said. “It doesn’t contain vitamins and nutrients in the proper amounts needed to sustain adult function. Plus, believe it or not, people tend to miss the chewing sensation. Ask anyone who has spent time on a liquid diet.”
The makers of the QOD Diet tout weight loss with normal eating “every other day.” Under this program, users are required to “fast,” consuming 300-400 calories from sources like juice, fruits and a small serving of protein (ie: low-fat drinking yogurt) every other day. Normal eating days don’t require calorie counting but forbid eating after 7 p.m., or snacking on sweets or dessert. Although the diet’s creator, kidney specialist Dr. John Daugirdas, does caution it’s not suitable for those with a history of kidney or heart disease, eating disorders, diabetes, hypertension or stroke, it’s safety for others still isn’t guaranteed. “Particularly because proper nutrition is critical for fueling, non-normal eating days pretty much rule out being able to get in a good workout without feeling weak and fatigued,” said Registered Dietitian Julie Burks, an ACE-certified Lifestyle & Weight Management Coach. “The restrictive nature of this diet may also trigger binge eating, defeating the original purpose of the diet.”
Blood Type Diet
Have you ever considered your blood type an indicator of what your body needs? Well, this new diet trends says you should. According to the Blood Type Diet, users with Type O are meant to be hunters, so they should eat more meat. Type As should stick with a vegetarian lifestyle, Type Bs to dairy and the rare Type ABs a combination of foods recommended for A and B. Critics have cited a lack of scientific evidence and clinical trials supporting research conducted by the diet’s founder, Peter D’Adamo. According to Burks, “your blood type has little to do with the actual digestion of food or your body’s nutritional needs. Based on the evolutionary theory of blood types, we should be soon be detecting a new blood type … Type J … in which these people thrive on the consumption of ‘junk’ food!” How fun would that be?
By the American Council on Exercise