What Is a Fad Diet? Popular Fad Diets 2018
As you’ve likely heard- or tried, fads are the most trendy, most happening things in the world of weight loss to date. Fads have a way of sucking us in to try them and diets are no different.
But what exactly is a fad diet?
To put it simply, it’s a trendy way of dieting to achieve weight loss, which is normally endorsed by a big name personality and promises extraordinary results in a short period of time. A fad diet will also typically include drastic eating plans, which either drastically limit foods or calorie intake.
In fact, over 90% of the persons that try these diets are the most vulnerable and desperate to lose weight; a fact the fad diet program creators know and take advantage of.
However, appealing as they may be in the beginning, the eventual “crash” (fad diets are also called crash diets for this reason) is inevitable, with a nasty rebound in weight gain a norm. Every heard of yo-yo dieting? For most, yo-yo dieting revolves around trying one fad diet after another, with little or no lasting weight loss results.
Fad diets use shady marketing tactics, and promote the system as the “easiest way” to lose weight fast, which is true to an extent, but impossible to maintain for any measurable amount of time as they basically border on starvation and malnutrition.
Think of restricting your food intake to particular ingredients is the end? Unlikely, as often the diet creator will always have the next best pill or supplement that must be used along with the fad diet to achieve maximal results.
Additionally, what is probably the most interesting thing to note, is the fact that most fad diets are not proven or endorsed by science or scientific studies, and are basically just assumptions and claims made by one of a few individuals who created the program. In fact, experts warn against these types of crash diets, as they can not only be useless but also dangerous when taken to an extreme.(Source)
A very good summation of a fad diet is this:
- Person does particular thing “A”
- As a result of doing “A,” person experiences “B”
- Person concludes that “A” caused “B”
- Person writes a book or launches a fad diet program and claims that it will work for every single other person in the world.
Therefore, even though in theory the diet may work for a few persons, there is not enough evidence to demonstrate long-term significant weight loss or health improvement obtainable from the diet.
What Are the 7 Most Common Forms of Fad Diets?
Chances are you’ve heard about one, two or more of these ridiculous fad diets without realizing that’s what they really were. Affiliates and marketers specialize in “fluffing” up the system to make it appear glamorous and sustainable, when in just a few weeks you will be heavier than you started, and lots of dollars lighter. You may have come across these before.
1. The Raw Food Diet
Extremely popular among naturalists and vegans, this diet is sensible at its core, but nonsensical everywhere else. It is based around consuming foods as they are in nature, without cooking.
Practitioners of this fad lifestyle claim that cooking destroys nutrients in the food, which is a bit true for some foods, but very wrong for others. In fact, cooking helps to activate enzymes in many foods, which make the nutrients more readily available.
The major drawbacks of this diet?
- Lack Of Protein – fruits and veggies are loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals, and to a lesser extent carbs; but what about the building blocks of all cells in the body, protein? Many people that follow solely a raw food diet will inevitably experience deficiency of protein, resulting in muscle wasting and significant drops in metabolism and energy levels.
- Risk Of E.coli Infections- though not extremely frequent, eating anything raw, especially when it could have come in contact with uncooked meat, will increase significantly your chance of infection with E.coli, responsible for a host of digestive issues, and in more serious cases death. Cooking or heat-treating foods prior to use helps to significantly reduce the likelihood of acquiring such a disease.
- Preparation Time – think cooking takes a lot of time? Then you have yet to experience the many trials associated with juicing, dehydrating, sprouting, re-hydrating, cutting, and germinating everything in sight that is involved in a raw food diet. You can actually end up spending much more time just preparing the foods for consumption, and in many cases is the most unsustainable element of following this diet long term.
2. The Five-Bite Diet
How do people come up with these ridiculous things? Developed by a so-called obesity expert, this diet allows you to eat whatever you want, albeit only 5 bites of it. Oh, you also have to skip breakfast and consume only your 5 bites at lunch and dinner.
The diet makes no mention of snacks either. We can only assume that the creator of this diet was full after eating 5 bites, or was okay with nagging hunger and assumed, like every other “genius” that it will work for everyone else.
The major drawbacks of this diet?
- Nutrient Shortfalls and a lot of them – Eating 5 bites of a meal is impossibly enough to get enough calories or nutrients in your diet, even if you load up with calorie-heavy foods. Yeah, you will lose weight, but shortly after your sanity as well. Moreover, if you are allowed to eat 5 bites of anything you want, how many are choosing French fries or fried chicken? A losing proposition.
- Contradicting – another major contradiction that this diet advises is that you only eat five bites – purportedly of whatever you want, but then eat to satisfaction with other nutrient-dense foods. Sounds more confusing by the minute, better steer clear.
3. The Baby-Food Diet
Yes, you read that correctly, this diet is all about eating baby food, for 2 out of 3 daily meals. Sure, baby food may taste good, and if it works on your baby it should work on you right?
Wrong, since you’re not a baby and your nutritional requirements are different. Breakfast and lunch is replaced by 14 jars of baby food, and dinner is a low-calorie choice. Besides the utter foolishness of this diet, how would you feel whipping out a jar (or 5) of baby food during morning transit and casually goo goo gaga-ing in public?
The major drawbacks of this diet?
- Impractical – baby food can be hardly classified as a meal replacement, even though you may be getting calories from all food groups. Also, taking loads of baby food jars with you gets to be a nuisance, fast!
- Boredom – how boring would it be to constantly eat baby food? And how long can you last eating that way? No thank you!
4. The Cabbage Soup Diet
One of the oldest fad diets on the planet aptly named the “grandmother of all diets,” well…because it was likely developed by a grandma! The good thing about this fad is that it is time-limited, running for just a week at a time. During this week you consume primarily cabbage soup, eaten 2 or 3 times daily, or interspersed with low-calorie alternatives, such as apples or skim milk with promises of a 10-pound loss for the week.
The major drawbacks of this diet?
- Hunger – liquid calories do not fill you up. That is the reason why consuming meal replacement shakes leaves you hungry, causing you to consume a surplus of calories.
- Decreased Energy Levels And Starvation Mode – even though it’s just a week, your body quickly adapts to the changes and signals your metabolism to enter “starvation mode,” which is a primal reflex to hold on to calories and fat tightly, to aid in survival when calories appear scarce.
- Taste – Who enjoys eating cabbage every day, even worse multiple times daily? Sorry, but no amount of excess weight is worth that torture!
5. The Cookie Diet
Before shrugging your head past this nonsensical name of a diet, you may be shocked to know it does deliver moderate, sustainable weight loss. Known by other names such as The Hollywood Cookie Diet or the Smart for Life Cookie Diet, it involves the consumption of high fiber and protein-based cookies, totaling 500-600 calories, for all meals except dinner.
This includes snacks if you feel like (which are also cookies). Dinner is somewhat normal but still sensible.
The major drawbacks of this diet?
- Blowouts – the major problem with this diet is the fact that you are extremely likely to overeat come dinnertime. It is definitely doable, but restricting yourself all day long to just 600 calories is tough.
- Nutritional Deficiency – in this case, specifically micronutrients, which are vitamins and minerals. You are unlikely to get ample amounts from such a diet, so a high potency multi-vitamin is also needed on a minimal basis.
6. The Lemon Juice/Cleanse Diet
Not to be confused with a juicing diet, this fad involves the consumption of lemonade, maple syrup and cayenne pepper mixed in water and drank throughout the day.
Essentially, the mechanism for weight loss is two things; aggressive caloric restriction and flushing of water weight. The results are not permanent, nor sustainable and a potent rebound of weight gain usually follows.
The major drawbacks of this diet?
- Cramps And Dehydration – the key “foods” in this diet lead to profound loss of water weight, along with it essential electrolytes. Without the right concentration of electrolytes, muscle cramping, and more seriously, heart rhythm disorders can occur.
- Muscle Loss And Lethargy – your body cannibalizes your muscles for nourishment, leading to a sluggish metabolism and diminished energy levels. Is it worth it for just a temporary 5 pounds? Not likely.
7. The Blood Type Diet
This fad diet is based on the premise that not all foods are suited for everyone, as foods may interact differently upon contact with a particular blood type. It recommends that each blood type eat differently, with various restrictions placed on differing blood groups.
The major drawbacks of this diet?
No scientific evidence that foods react differently based on blood type. This diet can be extremely restrictive depending on which blood group you fall into.
Pros And Cons Of Fad Diet
Ok here’s the thing; fad diets are not all bad, or at least not at heart. The fact is that people typically do experience weight loss in the short term, but the problem lies in the potential to maintain or adhere to these plans for long periods of time.
The true value of any diet plan lies in its ability to sustain long-term results, and this means to lose the weight and keep it off permanently. Unfortunately, these drastic plans never result in permanent results for various reasons.
First, no one can stick with this type of erratic eating for long, many fad diets are only recommended to be used for a short time. Second, since they are temporary once th
e diet is over people will typically go back to their old way of eating, so no lasting changes have been made.
Also, each diet may have its specific lists of pros and cons; however, we have analyzed the diets as a class by itself and seek out universal truths among all of them.
Weight Loss – yes, the primary reason you started a fad diet in the first place is gained; be it however short lived. The fact is that any diet that causes you to restrict your calories will result in weight loss, be it severely or not. A few fad diets can be modified for a longer-term basis. However, not all are that open to interpretation.
Versatility – The typical fad diet is NOT versatile, however, you can choose a specific diet type that is suitable for your lifestyle. Don’t mind eating tons of raw fruits and veggies? Or prefer to eat mainly cookies day in and day out? Then there’s a fad diet waiting for you.
Improved Health? Some fad diets do offer short-term health benefits, one of which is weight loss, but again it is hard to maintain and as such impractical. In some cases, a fad diet can serve to lose a quick few pounds for a wedding or some other event, but they all fall short for permanent and lasting results.
Nutritional Deficiency – this is a major concern when trying a fad diet since most will force you to exclude certain foods or food groups completely. For example, protein is commonly in short supply when following most fad diets, which can, in the long run, prevent you from losing weight, and can contribute to the weakening of your body’s defense mechanisms.
Expensive – if you’re living on a grocery budget, a fad diet list isn’t going g to be kind to your wallet. Many specialty foods needed on these diets, or sold by the “gurus” will cost you significantly more than you might think. Be sure to investigate the costs of maintaining such a diet before you even think of trying one, or you will fail even faster.
The Dangers Of Fad Diets
You may think that a fad diet is your quick-fix salvation for weight loss, many people do. It is human nature to be drawn to the promise of a quick and easy fix, but in reality, that is all it is, just a promise.
Looking from the outside, you do see people achieving quick weight loss, but does it ever last and do you know what is really going on inside their bodies?
Let’s look at one perfect example. You have likely seen a bodybuilder that is contest ready, or more so on the stage. These men are immensely muscular, appear strong and healthy.
However, what very few realize is the fact that the bodybuilder is at his weakest on the stage. Huh? Yes, you read that correctly, his weakest.
See, to achieve that paper-thin level of fat, and veins popping everywhere, the athlete has to undergo crazy restriction, both food and water, and has to use powerful drugs that flush excess salt and water from the body, making it appear lean for a short period.
However, sadly, there have been instances where right on stage, during a competition, men have collapsed with heart or kidney failure, because of the significant disruption of the body’s fluid system. Cramping is also popular during posing routines and is an indicator of worse to come.
So you see, in many ways a fad diet can lead to similar situations. Depletion and restriction of essential nutrients will inevitably cause the body to fail, or compensate in unfavorable ways.
Not convinced? Here are some negative occurrences from dabbling with fad diets:
Dehydration – frequent in the lemon juice diet, or even in raw food diet, when diuresis is promoted but adequate replenishment is not accounted for
Lethargy and Weakness – a consequence if many fad diets, since the body does not function optimally on a large reduction of daily calories. A reduction that is too large, or that occurs too fast, will signal for the body to begin rationing calories in the eventuality of a famine (basic primal instinct)
Rebound Diabetes – this is one not spoken of frequently but occurs relatively often as a result of desensitization. See, when your blood sugar dips low, the need for insulin is reduced. As such, the production and efficiency are lowered; think of a factory worker during a slump in production.
Now, when you crash off the diet, the surge of sugar in the blood cannot be handled by the few insulin molecules, and as such, your body begins producing more and more. This promotes what is known as insulin resistance, which is an over-abundance of insulin (workers) to do what just a few molecules could have done months ago.
Intestinal Disturbances – the change from your relatively normal eating patterns to drastic high fiber or no fiber kinds of diet can also provoke intense diarrhea or constipation. Bloating may also be common, as is flatulence. Better walk around with your port-a-potty.
Malnutrition – it’s been mentioned over and over, and for a good reason; living in areas with adequate food, malnutrition should not happen; it’s foolish. By restricting your intake of a particular food/group you predispose yourself to serious health issues, ranging from low hormone levels to weakened immune systems and wasting disease.
Why Fad Diets Don’t Work
In case it is still not obvious Fad aka Crash diets do not work, and are not effective for improving your health for the long-term, which should be the ultimate goal of a healthy diet. Here are some of the main reasons these diets simply do not work:
Over 75% of the people who embark on fad diets crash within the first seven days.
Why? Well, primarily unrealistic guidelines. Sure, for a day or two you may be able to drink lemon wash and honey, but what happens on day 3 when hunger does not abate?
The body signals some nonsense is amiss and will let you know too. So, is it any surprise that compliance is poor?
Perhaps, you stay on it longer; but modify it to your liking. Sure, it may be a better alternative, but chances are you won’t get the promised results either.
Do Not Promote Healthy Living Changes
Remember when that popular diet made claims on TV that you could eat what you want, no exercise needed and lose 10 pounds in a month? Or maybe “these magic pills will cause your fat to catch fire and “melt off your body” no exercise or dieting needed?
This is the kind of nonsense that propagates as fad dieting. They are not advocators for health, but rather just for their financial interests. They don’t want you to be “independent” and able to make your own healthy choices, so they keep you locked into their voodoo.
Fad Diet Drain Energy
Most fad diets result in a significant crash in energy levels, reducing your willpower and determination since all you want to do is eat and feel well again. Restriction of calories will inevitably cause a slight reduction in energy levels, but it does not need to be done drastically.
More often than not, fad diets result in weight gain after completion of the diet, and usually, people gain back more than they lost, to begin with.
What is the very best way to lose weight?
How to Lose Weight with Dietary Modifications?
It is said that diet is responsible for 70% of the progress you make in attaining the body you want, so you can work out as hard as you like, sleep as long as you want, but it still won’t add up without good quality fuel.
- For starters, the most important thing Americans and Westerners need to remove from their diet completely is sugared beverages.
These refer to not just soda, but also sweetened fruit juices, energy drinks and the like. The only time such simple sugars are likely needed by the body is following an intense workout, and even then, their use is debatable.
Skip the Cheetos or Lays, and pack a piece of fruit and some tuna for your lunch and make sure each meal has fresh vegetables. The fiber will fill you up and curtail cravings for sugar and other junk. Additionally, with a high intake of vegetables, calories are greatly reduced since veggies are filling without the additional calorie load.
Eating healthy is learned, it is all about making habit changes over time, even it means you only make 2 or 3 changes per week. Learning how to eat well requires knowledge and action.
⦁ Eat grilled fresh lean meats, fish, chicken, and turkey.
⦁ Vegetables in all colors and especially leafy greens should make the bulk of your plate at each meal.
⦁ Healthy fats are important too, including avocados, walnuts, and olive oil as these will boost brain health, support various internal body process, give you lots of energy, and protect your heart from disease.
⦁ Complex carbs in moderation, such as whole oats and brown rice give you fiber and keep you full and satisfied.
Creating a calorie deficit where you burn more than you eat is also important for healthy and effective weight loss.
Those who do not want to count calories can choose to simply eat several small meals per day, or every 3 hours but eat only to satisfaction and not to feel like your pants will explode.
Choose a vegetable carb, healthy fat and a lean protein for your plate every 3 hours. This puts metabolism into high gear, and keeps the blood sugars stable so you never get famished, and avoid those crazy cravings that cause you to overeat and choose bad foods.
How to Lose Weight with Exercise?
There’s no way around it; if you want a body that both looks and feels good, exercise is a must. While many people do lose weight without exercise, it is not the correct way to go about it. Why? For one, you basically just become a skinny version of your fat self.
There will be no changes to body composition overall since you lost both fat and muscle, and now have a flabby body to show. A good dose of weight training helps build muscle and promote the efficient burning of fat, something that slows down if you lose too much muscle mass from dieting alone. Moreover, when you exercise, you get to eat more food!
How to Lose Weight with Lifestyle Changes?
If you are going to be working towards improving your body on a holistic level, lifestyle must be changed as well. For example, late nights need to be minimized. At a minimum, 7 hours sleep per night is mandatory for sufficient recovery, as well as muscle growth.
Alcohol consumption needs to be restricted, as it offers no benefit whatsoever to the body, and just ends up supplying empty calories and hinders muscle gain and body re-composition.
Stress reduction is key as well as stress is one of the biggest contributors to weight gain and emotional eating.
Conclusion- How to Lose Weight Permanently?
The key to healthily sustainable weight loss is to understand how healthy weight management works, and it all begins with making healthy choices and setting healthy habits. This does not mean that you can never indulge in something decadent, but it does mean that the majority of the time you choose healthy whole foods to nutrify your body and exercise to keep that waistline in check.
As you can see, attaining weight loss by changing eating and exercise habits is not only doable but will still allow you the versatility that a fad diet can never offer.
Sick of the diet merry go around?
EAT REAL WHOLE FOOD AND EXERCISE!
Learn to make healthy choices, limit caloric intake based on your activity levels and stop the drastic yo-yo dieting that is fad diets.
Fad diets are not just dangerous to your health, but can even lead to death in severe cases.
Balance is the essential principle of a successful diet and where a crash diet fails miserably.
Did I Miss Anything?
Now we’d love to hear from you. Let us know what you thought of this article by leaving a comment below. Thank you!
Discover 14 of the best Lisa Walter’s courses that you can take today!
Tips for Going Paleo
Gluten-Free Diet Basics
Lose Weight Fasting
Herb’s Healing Properties
Natural Remedies [HERBS]
Health Benefits of Coffee
Lose 15 Pounds in 30 Days
How to Lose Weight over 50?
Anti Aging Diet for Women over 50
Foolproof Ways to Lose Weight
101 Clean Eating Tips
Lose Weight by Eating Clean
Clean Eating for Digestive Health