Oh yeah, one of my favorite topics: diet controversy. Every guru out there has his own diet/regime/program/nonsense he or she wants to promote and each of them is superior, right?
But they all have clients for whom the diet worked, so it must be good, right?
Oh - you have a friend that did X and lost a bunch of weight you say? THAT diet must be the king of all diets then, right? Heck, no!
Good thing there's another episode of "Exposed & Solved". Enjoy a compilation of the weirdest fad diets of this century!
1. The hCG diet
I did read a lot about the hCG diet the past few months. First of all, if a diet only works with additional supplementation, injections and whatnot, it can only be utter nonsense.
This diet involves being injected with the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). These shots are legal. However, on top of these shots you have to take hCG drops, pellets, and sprays, which are illegal according to the FDA.
Nope, we're not done yet! You also have to limit your calorie intake to 500 calories per day for - hold your horses - 8 whole weeks! You heard that right: 500 kcals per day. Are you nuts?
Of course, you will lose weight, but a lof of it will be water weight and muscle mass. And you will gain most of the weight right back, when you go back to your normal eating behaviour. Plus, you will feel fatigued, irritable and depressive.
Oh, and for the men: your breasts might swell while being on this hormone.
2. The cabbage soup diet
Cabbage soup? I didn't even want to know what it's about, it already sounds very one-sided.
Basically, this diet forces you to eat watery, limp cabbage soup every day for several weeks - not so yummy.
Will you lose weight? Heck, yes. It's a low calorie, low protein, and low-fat meal. But also low in nutrients. See, you will lose weight in a short period of time. But again it's not all body fat, mostly water, and muscle, which explains the rapid weight loss.
As with every fad, the weight will go straight back (or you will even gain more weight) once you go back to your normal eating habits.
Generally speaking, stay away from diets that consist of only one meal option. Your diet should be well balanced and nutritious. And high in protein!
3. The baby food diet
Followers of the baby food diet rely on pre-portioned baby foods to fight cravings and maintain weight loss. Nutritionally speaking, the baby food diet is not for adults - as the name suggest.
I mean, I get it: babies are sensitive, hence the food they consume has to be managed carefully so that their little bodies get all the nourishment that they need. What is good for a baby, should be good for me too, right? Not necessarily.
See, babies eat baby food because they have no teeth to chew. Plus it's not even healthier than whole foods. Baby food is processed and strained and can contains huge amounts of refined sugar. Plus, it lacks fibre, which is crucial for an overall healthy digestive system.
It's not even remotely helpful to lose or maintain body fat.
The immense costs are another con. Buying enough baby food to feed an adult every day is expensive. It's much cheaper to cook whole food meals at home.
4. The cotton ball diet
When I heard of this fad I was like "What the heck?!". Eating disorder-alert!
This diet forces you to eat cotton balls before each meal. The stupid idea behind it, is they fill your stomach so you don't eat too much real food.
However, cotton balls have no nutritional value and can damage the digestive tract. Mind, that cotton balls aren't even made of cotton. They're composed of bleached, synthetic fibers. And eating stuff that isn't food to lose weight sounds just wrong, doesn't it?
5. The Hollywood diet
This diet claims that you can lose about 5lbs in 24 hours. Plus, it claims to help your body to detox, cleanse and rejuvenate. Sounds too good to be true.
How? All you have to do is purchase overly expensive fruit juices, skip the food and drink the juices four times for the next 24 hours.
However, I guarantee you, that you will feel tired, cold, get headaches, dizziness, anxiety, and irritability, since you're taking in around 400 calories (which isn't enough at all). And most of it is fruit sugar. Useless.
6. The cigarette diet
This one makes me very, very angry. It's by far the most harmful fad I've ever heard of. The cigarette diet is a weight loss fad that uses cigarettes to help suppress your appetite. It was originally created as an advertising campaign, but some people have adopted this diet to lose weight.
Mind, smoking is the cause of many deadly medical conditions.
Please, never ever start a habit as harmful as smoking to lose weight!
Here are a few more cons of this fad, just to make sure you understand how harmful this fad actually is:
- Increases heart rate and blood pressure and reduces the amount of oxygen the heart receives
- Raises the risk of blood clots, which might lead to heart attacks
- Harms blood vessels (including the ones found in the heart)
- Makes lung cancer much more likely
- Makes it more difficult to breathe and inhale deeply
- Prevents the body from repairing itself
- Raises the risk of a stroke and cardiovascular complications
See, it's a very poor quality diet for weight loss. Not to mention that calories are still king. If you over consume calories while being a smoker, you'll still get fat. Period.
7. The blood type diet
This fad claims that your nutritional needs depend on your blood type. Which is supposed to explain why some people lose weight and others don't while being on the same diet.
According to this theory, type O's need animal protein, intense exercise and should avoid dairy and grains. Type A's feel best when they follow a fresh, organic and vegetarian diet. Type B's have the advantage of a more robust digestive system, so they can tolerate a variety of foods. Type AB should combine Type A and B recommendations.
You believe in this? Well, researchers examined data from 1415 studies. Results show that not a single study backs up any health benefits of the blood type fad.
If you ask me, enjoy what you actually like, not what somebody tells you. Listen to your body.
Why you will have no long-term success when it comes to weight loss with these fad
Generally speaking, every diet program that promises a weight loss of 5 lbs (2 kg) per week consistently is utter nonsense! Why? It's almost impossible - unless you weight A LOT - to lose so much fat every week. Nor is it healthy.
Yes, you will lose weight in a short period of time. But it's not all body fat, mostly water, and muscle, which explains the rapid weight loss.
Basically, your metabolism adapts to the amount of energy you feed your body. Hence, you burn calories less quickly than usual to "survive" longer.
As soon as you go back to your normal eating behavior, the water you've lost gets back, your muscles don't and you still burn fewer calories than you used to. Meaning, you'll most likely gain even more weight back, since it's now easier to eat more than you burn.
See, what might work in the short term doesn't translate to long-term success, good health, and mental wellbeing.
Before starting a diet ask yourself "Can I picture myself eating this way forever?"
What to do instead?
Here's the trick to a healthy lifestyle with long-term success in weight loss: work on your eating habits, incorporate long-term changes over time and eat a well balanced, nutritious, high protein diet.
Remember that no hyped food trend should eliminate whole food groups from your diet. And why not eat a very wholesome and nutritious diet and enjoy a chocolate bar every now and then? You don't have to feel guilty if you crave something sweet.
Actually, the basics of losing weight the healthy way are quite simple:
- Calories are king. You have to consume less calories than you burn in order to lose weight. Carbs don't make you fat! Fat does not make you fat! The goal is to eat as many calories as possible, while still being in a slight caloric deficit (10-20% deficit)
- A diet high in protein will lead to better results across the board. Even when consumed calories are equal! Aim for roughly 2g per kg / 1g per pound of body weight per day
- Don't do high fat AND high carb. Some people do better with high carbs, some better on high fat. Don't mix both
- You don't have to do any exercise to lose weight. But, it's easier when you work out, because you can eat more and you'll look better in the end
- Make sure to focus on weight lifting, instead of cardio
- If you need to lose weight in a very short amount of time, try the PSMF diet. It's the most scientifically proven crash-diet
Have you tried one of these fad diets before? If so, which one and how was it? Let me know in the comments down below!