Fad Diets to Avoid

26 Fad Diets You Should Avoid At All Costs

Losing weight is the most valued new year’s resolution. But the science associated with losing weight is extremely complex. Nutritionists across the globe emphasize a balanced diet and consistent physical activity as the most impactful way to lose weight. The key is to look good and gain enough energy to go through the day. Now and then, new diets come up and the fads are spreading like wildfire. However, most of these dietary fads sound too exceptional to be true and these are. Here are the bizarre fad diets you need to watch out for.

Fad Diets to Avoid

Diet Fads to Avoid

Sugar-Free Diet

Sugar has received a lot of criticism, as it causes obesity, chronic disease, and dental decay. It is an absolute no-no for those with diabetes. The World Health Organization has also advised limiting added sugars to around 10 percent of the total energy. Most of the criticism is aimed at sugar that is refined. For most individuals, natural sugar like fructose in vegetables and fruits are an important source of minerals, energy, vitamins, and dietary fibers. This serves to regulate consumption, thereby managing weight gain. Those who exercise regularly and pre-menopausal women are free of the harmful effects of fructose.

High Protein Diets

High protein diets especially those rich in eggs, meat, etc are also recommended to individuals seeking to build a physique and gain muscular mass. Protein supplements and shakes, as well as supplement sales, are at an all-time high. This is backed by marketing that cashes in on the craze for a perfect body. But, protein consumption by itself does not act as a surefire way of building the body, regulating physical activity and weight training are critical elements, too. Reduction of essential carbs can lead to loss of energy and induce irritability and fatigue. Like the sugarless diet, restricting intake of other nutrients counters a protein-rich diet.

Bulletproof Diet

The essential ingredient on the bulletproof diet is the bulletproof coffee which is essentially hot coffee blended with 2 tablespoon butter and 2 tablespoon MCT oils. Each cup is rich in 400 kcals. The bulletproof diet caught on as a craze in terms of the sheer simplicity of consuming. Just sipping coffee for getting through the day and losing weight in the process is not possible. While the diet promotes the ability to burn fats, promote weight loss and eliminate hunger pangs and the advantages of coffee like alertness and concentration without spikes and crashes, the diet is deficient in other essential nutrients. Critics say that while calorie content provides enough energy, the diet is still deficient in other critical nutrients. An effective method is to consume numerous nutrients within the same calorie count. So coffee fans should be clear about eating solid food and non-caffeinated drinks as well.

Keto Diet

Keto diet is an extreme high-protein, low-carb diet that helps to lose up significant weight in less than ten days. Critics warn that this is extremely harmful to health. A version of the diet includes consuming a low carb-fluid filled diet through a feeding tube. The keto diet also forces the body to go into a state of ketosis which causes extreme muscle loss and fatigue, leading to a state of starvation. When blood glucose levels drop, the body burns fat to gain energy. Releasing molecules called ketones in ketosis can make the blood acidic and have severe health consequences.

Detox Diet

As per Wikipedia, detoxification comprises an approach the rids the body of all toxins, which are essentially accumulated substances that exert unwanted effects on individual health in the long or short term. This usually includes fasting, dieting, consuming excessive or specific foods like carbs, fats, fruits, veggies, water, juices or herbs. Detox diets are fiber-rich and this causes the body to burn stored fats, releasing fat-stored toxic substances into the bloodstream. These are eliminated through various methods. Some critics, however, question the detoxification of process claiming that the body cleansing is not needed as the human body can maintain itself. Several organs are dedicated to cleansing the guts and blood. A detox diet for a day is not dangerous, but observing detox diets for longer periods is a dangerous proposition.

Blood Type Diet

This diet seeks to create a separate chart for each blood type. This fad diet emerged following the success of the book Eat Right 4 Your Type by Dr. Peter D’Adamo. On this diet, those with type O blood are able to eat fruits, lean meats and veggies. They need to give dairy and wheat a wide berth. Type A dieters, on the other hand, go vegan and those with type B blood avoid chicken, wheat, corn, peanuts, tomatoes, and sesame seeds. These diets are attributed not to blood types but to the elimination of processed foods by critics. Research has also confirmed that while diseases and health conditions may be related to certain blood types, the connection to dietary intake has not been found yet.
Alkaline Diet

Alkaline Diet

This is a diet that is rooted in chemistry. Diets have contributed to the ultimate numbers games with weight loss calculations and calorie counting. Based on the notion that dietary alterations can change the blood pH levels, alkaline diets are focused on body chemistry. The pH levels determine the alkalinity and acidity of substances. Diets also aim to maximize benefits for making the blood alkaline. Bodily mechanisms are there to maintain pH levels in the blood. Different organs come with different pH levels. Blood is slightly alkaline as the stomach is acidic and breaks down food. The pH level of the body depends on what is eaten. This is how the body keeps the blood steady. Studies have shown certain foods alter pH levels, but the effect on the blood is still not proved.

Cotton Ball Diet

This diet is how it sounds. This diet involves eating cotton balls coated in juice for controlling calorific and appetite intake. The diet is linked with eating disorders, and it is possible that individuals following this diet have psychological health issues. Apart from mental health problems, this diet threatens the body, too. The unbalanced nutrient intake causes severe malnourishment. The body cannot digest cotton and so, the cotton remains in the body, obstructing the intestinal tract by mixing it with foods and create a mass called bezoar. This is a medical emergency that warrants surgical removal. Cotton balls are processed using harmful chemicals posing long-term adverse health consequences.

Mono Meal Diet

In this diet, there’s an option of what to eat. But the catch is that is all you can eat all day like the mono meal. The #monomeal hashtag on Instagram has over 24K uploads, the most popular being the Banana Girl, Freelee. She consumes up to 50 bananas in a day. Much like popular diets, mono meal diets do not allow fat consumption. Only a maximum of 5 percent fat is permitted. Nutritionists warn that the diet is heavily skewed and does not meet the nutritional needs of the body. For example, fruits cannot fulfill the protein requirements of the body. Fat is important for proper neurological functionalities. Some of those following this diet are known for eating disorders like extreme diets, anorexia, and bulimia.
New Techie Diet

The New Techie Diet

This includes Schmilk, Soylent, and Schmoylent, which are liquid meals prepared by mixing protein-packed powders with milk or water. This diet is extremely popular in Silicon Valley, where employees are into chugging liquid meals rather than digesting or chewing meals. The lack of a rainbow diet or roughage looms large. The question of whether the diet can hold off a burnout remains to be answered.

The Breatharian Diet

This diet is based on the belief that sunlight, air, and Prana or life force are adequate to sustain human life. Some may have herbal tea or some water along with this. This diet has spurred accidental deaths on account of starvation. This diet has even been criticized by Hindu dietitians and Ayurveda experts as being a distorted version of the prana concept.

The Sleeping Beauty Diet

This diet stresses the completion of daily quota of sleep and more to lose up to six kilograms on waking up. This diet stems from the logic that individuals in deep sleep cannot feel hunger or eat. Dieters heavily sedate themselves to sleep for days at an end by using medicines like Valium and Xanax, which are addictive narcotics. There’s always a risk of overdosing, becoming addicted and dying due to starvation.

The 5 Bite Diet

This diet is based on the premise that you can eat what you want as how much harm can 5 bites cause? As it turns out, it is quite damaging. Dieters end up consuming under 9 hundred calories per day, which is simply not enough. Additionally, skipping breakfast is an integral part of this diet and a strict no-no for those who want to safeguard their health.

The Lemonade Diet

The meals in this diet comprise lemonade, maple syrup or pepper water and these show results. Dieters end up losing water weight because these foods are diuretics. Common side effects range across nausea, dehydration, and dizziness. And once you gain all the weight back once you have solid food, it’s back to square one.

Clean Eating

Clean eating proposes that all processed foods need to be avoided and only clean foods must be consumed. Some diet versions include banning gluten, grains, dairy, and raw food items. Why would one recommend it? While most individuals experience quick health benefits by reducing processed foods and refined sugar intake, cutting down on foods that are nutritionally beneficial can be really detrimental. This includes dairy and whole grains. Without medical purposes, cutting down on different types of foods can lead to nutritional deficiency.

A major problem with clean eating stems from the notion that specific foods are being labeled and certain goods are labeled bad. Food, however, can be neither bad or good, without taking the context of individuals, their goals, requirements and medical history. According to the British Dietetic Association, developing an association with food in this manner is a prelude to Orthorexia Nervosa. This is an obsession with foods individuals are considering healthy and elimination of unhealthy foods.

The Six to One Diet

Six to One DietThis diet focuses on eating normally for 6 days and then completely fasting for 24 hours. Why could this not be recommended? Essentially, when one stops consuming food, blood sugar levels will persist in falling, which will lead to a person feeling tired, besides having a low mood and poor levels of concentration. For most, as blood glucose levels fall, so does willpower. This may result in overloading on sugar and fats. The British Dietetic Association says this is a dangerous means of following a six to one diet. Losing weight is not an easy task, so some people go to greater lengths to drop extra pounds. Making drastic changes to diet without consulting the doctor can have a dangerous impact on health.

The Fruitarian Diet

This meal plan revolves around a diet of fruit. Fruitarians consume nothing but raw fruit, with some veggies, seeds, and nuts tossed in for excellent measure. Fruits alone do not provide the body with essential nutrients. It cannot supply many building blocks needed to maintain the organ tissue’s structure, besides immune cells, bones, muscles, and hormones. One of the most famous cases of the fruitarian diet gone wrong was Steve Jobs, who died of pancreatic cancer. Actor Ashton Kutcher experienced severe pains while adopting this diet for a role on the Apple executive. Doctors actually discovered the diet had damaged the pancreas of the actor.

The Atkins Diet

This is a fad diet which found popularity in the early 2000s. This is a high-protein, low carb diet which soon became notorious following the death of its founder in 2003. Thanks to the Paleo diet, Atkins is scripting a comeback with frozen meals and supporting ads. Here’s why the Atkins diet needs to be avoided. The original diet allowed hefty portions of protein-rich cheeses and meats. The new program has revised these options, but the heavily processed frozen dinners are not more appealing either.

The 8 Hour Diet

8 Hour DietThis plan is created by David Zinczenko author of Eat This, Not That. This diet permits individuals to eat anything within an 8-hour period, with the remaining hours spent fasting. This should be avoided because if you are allowed to eat anything you want, this includes calorie-rich foods that can spur weight gain.

The 3-Day Diet

For three days, dieters consume between 800 and 1000 calories from simple foods like mayo-free tuna, black coffee, and plain toast. This plan permits a regular diet for the remaining days of the week. On account of calorie restrictions, dropping a few pounds is essential. However, the number of calories is far fewer than adults advised to get every day. Lack of regulation post the diet also makes it tough to sustain weight loss.

The Seventeen Day Diet

The program claims to restart the metabolic rate and operates on three cycles of 17 days each, restricting dieters to 1.2K calories to start with and slowly build up the number over the weeks. Weight loss through this program may be associated with low calories, but it cannot make a dent on weight loss. American Dietetic Association has even stated that preliminary weight loss on this program is water weight. Once carbs re-enter the diet, it is tough to maintain the loss.

The 100 Diet

This diet is a low-carb choice which allows for only 100 sugar calories per day. Just compute the number and you’ll see that not even a simple cup of brown rice can make the cut.

The HCG Diet

This method limits calorie intake to just 500 to 800 every day and requires daily injections of hormone HCG. This should be avoided, though. FDA has only approved HCG injections for treating infertility, not for over the counter weight loss usage.

The Master Cleanse Diet

From eating a liquid diet to cutting out carbs, there have been all sorts of diets that seek to induce weight loss. Detox diets are quite the craze, but Master Cleanse is the most widely trusted and visible one on the market. Celebs like Beyonce, Demi Moore, and Ashton Kitcher used the diet to slim down for entertainment shows and movies. This diet focuses on drinking lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. But the problem with this diet is that vitamins, calories, and nutrients the body needs to function properly must be considered. Consuming only six hundred calories causes electrolyte imbalance, major headaches, severe mood swings, confusion, and even constipation.

The Grapefruit Diet

This diet was followed by Princess Diana. This weight loss regime restricts caloric intake to eight hundred calories per day. This is based on the notion that eating half a grapefruit with each meal breaks down the food effectively due to high levels of acid.

The Pomegranate Diet

Even most ridiculous is the pomegranate diet, where dieters eat pomegranate seeds completely flushing out the system supposedly. This diet causes infection and hemorrhoids single-handedly.

Fad Diets: Know More

Fad Diets: Know MoreThere seems to be a human nature attracted to dietary fads, which promise quick, easy results. Weeding out fad diets take a lot of effort. Here are some of the red flags indicating weight loss plans are ineffective and diets are nothing but fads:

Unrealistic promises

The diet promises fast weight loss at an unrealistic pace. This sounds too good to be true. Dietary recommendations are based on single studies or zero research.

Extreme Recommendations

Statements about the diet need to be refuted by reputed scientific organizations. It may have extreme recommendations that peg foods as bad or good. Personal testimonials may be used to sell the diet. Fat diets involve crash dieting or intense reductions in drinking or eating.

Fad diets are popular for a short time because of their supposed impact but are passing trends which last just a few seasons.

Why Do Fad Diets Gain Popularity?

Why are fad diets becoming a rage? There are a number of factors fueling the popularity. This includes celeb endorsements, where starlets and pop stars promise quick weight loss in weeks. The promise of rapid weight loss focuses on an elimination mentality and certain foods are cut out due to popular beliefs about dieting. Peer pressure can also motivate fad diets.

The most critical question about such dietary fads is whether these are healthy or safe. Most fad diets start for short time periods, causing pounds to be dropped due to unhealthy calorific reduction or water weight loss. While fad diets are into curbing junk foods, they can be detrimental if they create extreme calorie deficits. A fad diet does not work out well, especially when there is confusion, dehydration, fainting, dizziness, mood changes or bowel disturbances. Those on medicines or chronic health concerns should be cautious when it comes to fad diets. Always check with a doctor before trying out a diet.

Fad diets also come with a lot of psychological consequences. Diets result in weight loss without meeting nutritional needs leading to rapid weight gain if you revert to old eating habits and opt for yo-yo diets. Fad diets also set up individuals for failure. When diets fail, the dieters can blame themselves and develop a feeling of hopelessness and demoralization that weight loss is not forthcoming.

If you’re concerned that weight loss plans are fad diets, it is essential to carry out research. For this purpose, one needs to look for the science behind the diet’s claims. A better solution is working with a nutritionist or registered diet professional to create a diet that works effectively. People should follow recommendations made by reputed organizations such as Dietary Guidelines for Americans by the US Department of agriculture and the US department of health and human services. Weight loss in a slow and steady way leads to long-lasting success, as against quick weight loss fads.

Fad diets are even more appealing when promoted with celeb endorsements. Many are said to be nutrition experts yet have no knowledge about nutritional advice. Given that celebs can have the best support, whether it is in terms of stylists, beauticians, personal chefs or even airbrushed photos, this is a highly irresponsible action.

If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you need to ensure that you do so in a healthy way. No fad diet can replace eating fruits and green, leafy veggies or cutting down on carbs or fats and exercising thrice a week. Close to 8 million US residents a day enroll in weight loss programs and close to USD 30 billion a year is spent on diet programs and products according to the US FDA.

The biggest trap is that you are told you can eat what you want and still lose weight. The additional weight is energy stored up as fat. For losing weight, more energy has to come out than going in. Energy is measured in terms of calories. When the body is moved, calories are burnt. When you consume beverages like tea or water, calories are taken in but if you burn more, you lose weight and miss out on nutrition.

Also, very low-calorie diets are extremely dangerous. These need to be taken care of with medical supervision. The focus needs to be on losing weight as fast as possible. Gradual weight loss is easier and healthier. Fad diets can be really dangerous and harm your body in the long run. Steer clear of such dangerous diets which have the potential to cause multiple medical problems.


Fad diets create more problems than they solve, which is why it is advisable to seek the help of a registered nutritionist or dietician for the best outcomes. Don’t rely on dietary fads, because this can have serious consequences for your health and your well-being besides doing absolutely nothing when it comes to weight loss. So, curb your unhealthy junk foods, but make sure you eat right and consume the right amounts of sugar and sodium as well as nutrients for a healthy, trim, svelte you.

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