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Top 5 Fad Diets and Why They Won’t Work

Jessica Kohl on June 5, 2014 - 2:34 pm in Beauty

People are always looking for a silver bullet - one magical thing they could do to quickly lose their extra pounds, and have the slim and trim body they desire. The old advice about cutting back on food and exercising more seems too difficult, and they’d rather find something easy, without any of that pesky exercising. Fad diets come and go, as these people try one after another, but these tend to deliver short term results, if any. Here are 5 top fad diets and why they don’t work.

1. The 8-Hour Diet

The theory behind this diet is that for eight hours of the day, you are allowed to eat anything you want, as long as you eat nothing at all for the other 16 hours. It’s appealing because even chocoholics can still eat the food they crave, and as much of it as they want. In the short term, you will lose some weight, but it will be mostly water weight. The problem with this diet is that fasting for 16 hours each day creates stress on your body. This causes the body to produce more cortisol, which is a hormone that helps your body store belly fat. Unless that is the effect that you want, this diet is not for you.

2. The Cabbage Soup Diet

Cabbage lovers will rejoice about this diet, which lets you eat all the cabbage soup you want for ten days, along with selected other vegetables, meats, and fruit. For those not so keen on cabbage soup, the ten days could end up seeing like much more. For those around you the extra "digestive" stench of cabbage will make it feel like years. Like the other diets here, it does not lead to long term healthy changes in your eating patterns. As soon as you are sick of cabbage soup and return to normal food, the pounds will return, too.

3. The Grapefruit Diet

This diet is based on a pseudo-scientific claim that grapefruit has a fat burning enzyme that will help your excess pounds to melt away. What is more likely to cause weight loss is that the diet only allows up to one thousand calories a day. When you eat this little, you are bound to lose some pounds, whether there is grapefruit involved or not. Like any crash diet, however, the weight will come back when you quit the diet, because you are not establishing healthy new eating habits.

4. The Atkins Diet

This diet goes in and out of favor.It basically a play on becoming keto-genic.  The idea is that you cut out the carbohydrates from your diet, but can eat all you want of some other, high fat foods, like butter, bacon, or steak. Aside from the fact that it seems generally unhealthy to eat butter and bacon all day long while cutting out fruits and vegetables, the diet tends to produce a quick drop in water weight, but not much loss of fat. When people go off the diet eventually, the weight all comes back.


5. The Master Cleanse

This tortuous diet debuted in 1941, and it keeps cycling back to popularity. The plan in this one is that you drink two liters of a concoction every night before bed, that contains water, maple syrup, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper. If you can actually get all of that down, you follow it with a glass of warm salt water. The diet claims that this reduces the sensation of hunger, but really, you are just full of flavored water. As soon as you decide you can’t take this anymore, your weight will return to normal. 

In the end nothing will work unless you do. Don't "go on a diet" just figure out a flexible diet that works for you and that you can maintain long term. Get your nutrients from healthy sources and the pounds will fall off naturally. Any time you are depriving your body of something or only eating one thing it is unnatural and will only make you feel like crap and work against you in the long run.

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