Everyone wants to maintain a healthy figure, but in between working 9-to-5, plush hellish commutes to and from your home and office, it almost feels like regular exercise or regularly going to the gym just isn’t feasible, which is why most people prefer to go on diets.
The problem with diets though is that it seems a new diet fad shows up on the internet every other month or so. While some of them can be effective, others can just be down-right silly, or even harmful. We sift through some of the post popular diets to find diets that work, and diets that don’t.
Don’t Do This: The Baby Food Diet
Described as “a cleanse where you can still eat”, the baby food diet was created by personal trainer Tracy Anderson. Tracy Anderson is known in Hollywood as THE must-have personal trainer, and she counts A-list celebrities like Lady Gaga and Jennifer Aniston on her extensive list of clients.
The baby food diet consists of eating one full meal a day, with the other 2 meals replaced with baby food. Yes, baby food. Up to 16 jars worth. Tracy claims that, since babies derive their nutrients from baby food, it should be safe for adults, right?
Well, kind of. Yes, it does contain several nutrients and essential vitamins and minerals that people need. However, there’s one key component that baby doesn’t have: fiber. Your body needs fiber for a lot of functions, such as regulating insulin, blood cholesterol, and preventing heart disease. Not worth losing those over losing a few pounds!
Do This Instead: Atkins Diet
Created by cardiologist Robert Atkins in the 1970’s, the Atkins Diet is arguably one of the most famous weight-loss diets in the world. The diet claims to help people lose weight rapidly but without them feeling hungry.
The Atkins Diet does this by breaking down the diet into 4 stages. Prior to these stages, a two-week initial induction phase is undergone by the person. This induction phase restricts your carbohydrate intake to 20 grams a day while encouraging you to increase as much fat and proteins as you’d like. I like the sound of that!
But there’s a science behind it: during this 2-week phase, your body will begin to convert all the fat into a compound called ketones. Because there are more ketones than carbohydrates in your system, your body will switch to using ketones as its main fuel, thus burning off the fat rapidly. Once the two-week phase is complete, you then start adding the carbohydrates back into your diet in 5-gram increments. This helps you determine your “critical carbohydrate level”, an essential component in losing weight and maintaining weight.
Don’t Do This: Blood Type Diet
Created by “Naturopath” Dr. Peter D’Adamo, the Blood Type diet is a diet that restricts certain types of food depending on your blood type. Dr. D’Adamo believes that different blood type groups have different genetic make-ups, which makes some people more predisposed to certain sicknesses than other people. His Book, Eat Right For Your Blood Type, became a New York Times Bestseller and was crucial in launching the Blood Type Diet movement.
However, it does not work. There are no scientific studies that back up his claims, and dietitians, physicians, and scientists all conclusively agree that different blood types do not, in fact, require specific diets. What’s more, Dr. D’Adamo is a naturopathic doctor, not a medical one.
Do This Instead: Southbeach Diet
Unlike “Dr.”D’Adamo, Dr. Arthur Agatson is an actual medical doctor specializing in cardiology. Inspired by Dr. Atkins quest to help patients lose weight in a sustainable manner, Dr. Agatson studied the Atkins Diet extensively. While concluding with Dr. Atkins on several key factors, Dr. Agatson was worried that the unrestricted intake of fat might result in heart disease.
To balance this out, Dr. Agatson created the “South Beach Diet” in the mid-90’s. Named after the area of South Florida where he practices medicine, the South Beach Diet calls for a low-carb diet like the Atkins diet, but with less fat and more protein.
The first stage of the South Beach Diet puts relatively high restrictions on both carbohydrates and fat, although succeeding stages gets easier, even allowing (very) limited amounts of unprocessed foods into the diet.
Dr. Agatson believes that his diet is more efficient because of its high-protein intake. Protein has been shown to burn more calories than carbohydrates and fat, while also stimulating hormones that suppress hunger.
Don’t Do This: Juice Cleanse
The Juice Cleanse is perhaps one of the most popular diet fads out there. Marketed as having near-instantaneous weight loss abilities, the Juice Cleanse consists of only drinking cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices over the course of 6 days. Perhaps one of the diet’s most compelling advocates is Victoria’s Secret Angel Adriana Lima, and it’s hard to argue with her toned body and slim figure.
But despite its very rapid weight loss powers, it really isn’t healthy and can, in fact, be very dangerous to your health in the long run. I know it’s hard to argue with Adriana Lima while she’s in her lingerie, but don’t let her fool you.
Do This Instead: Ketogenic Diet
The Ketogenic Diet has been described as a “fad” diet, but nothing can be farther from the truth. Based off of the Atkin’s Diet idea of turning fat into ketones, the Ketogenic diet relies on the body’s ability to go “ketosis”, which is when the body starts burning up ketones rather than carbs for enerhy.
However, unlike the Atkin’s Diet, the Ketogenic Diet doesn’t reintroduce the carbohydrates. Instead, it keeps the body in ketosis, thereby making weight maintenance easier. Moreover, ketones also have the ability to suppress hunger.
Do Not, Under Any Circumstances, Do This: Cotton Ball Diet
It involves soaking cotton balls in lemon juice or vinegar and swallowing them. Please, if you value your health, DO NOT DO THIS.
And Before Doing Anything…
Your body is a complex machine that requires specific amounts of food and exercise that are unique to each individual. Always consult with your doctor and/or a licensed nutritionist before attempting to go on any kind of diet, fad or otherwise.