At some point, almost everyone has considered going on a diet for one reason or another. For many, it is losing a few kilos. For others, it’s about “bulking up” during strength training. Although being vigilant and aware of what you eat is a healthy decision, there is a difference between cleaning your meals and going to the extreme. As many experts will reiterate, diets are not successful in the long term, because many people revert to their old habits, causing them to regain weight or lose their gains.
In fact, one of the biggest problems with extreme and fad diets is that they are not sustainable. They require you to change how much and what you eat temporarily, but they don’t necessarily teach you anything about eating healthier in the long run, says Dr. Josh Ax, DNM, CNS, DC, author and founder of Ancient Nutrition. More importantly, many popular diets can harm your body, so it’s vital to think twice before diving into any of these fads. Here’s what you need to know about these current fad diets, and for healthier weight loss tips, be sure to check out our list of 15 underrated weight loss tips that really work.
You probably have at least one friend who is an avid supporter of the ketogenic diet. On this diet, you severely restrict carbohydrates while increasing your fat and protein intake. One of the reasons this method is so popular is due to the fact that you lose a lot of weight very quickly. However, while this study shows that the ketogenic diet can be an effective treatment for epilepsy, the long-term effects of the ketogenic diet in the general population are largely unknown, cautions Serena Poon, a celebrity chef and nutritionist.
Your main concern with the ketogenic diet is that it tends to force people to overdose on meat and overlook plant-based foods.
“Vegetables and fruits are important sources of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidants that really support optimal health,” says Poon. “A diet lacking in these foods can leave you nutrient-deficient and unprotected against disease.”
Additionally, he adds that a diet rich in red meat and saturated fat has been shown to increase inflammation, which is a precursor to most chronic diseases.
Here’s why you need antioxidants in your diet and how to eat more of them.
‘I’m in a juice cleanse’ is a common phrase in sitcoms, particularly when a character is trying to lose a lot of weight in a short period of time.
In reality, this approach to eating is not sustainable, can be uncomfortable, and is not good news for your overall health. As Dr. Ax explains, detox-type juice cleanses (such as The Master Cleanse or the Cabbage Soup Diet) are often very restrictive and low in calories, which could be helpful for fast weight loss.
“However, they can also end up affecting your metabolic rate,” he says. “Obviously, this is the last thing you want when trying to improve your body composition.”
Why did this happened? When we don’t give our body enough energy through calories, it is forced into a metabolic state that many refer to as “starvation mode.”
“This causes you to require fewer calories each day just to maintain your weight, making weight loss and even long-term maintenance difficult,” he says. In addition, you will also lose muscle mass!
Here are 10 signs a juice cleanse is bogus.
To put it bluntly, Keith Thomas-Ayoob, EdD, RD, FAND, calls this diet ridiculous. With this approach to eating, acidic foods, which claim to lead to poor health, are reduced. Instead, you fill your meals with alkaline foods, which are said to help your body balance its pH and are beneficial. But as Thomas-Ayoob says, there is little credible science to back this up, and our bodies are well equipped to handle acid-alkaline balance and its pH. And our diet has little impact on this function.
“This diet eliminates many nutritious foods, including fish, whole grains and dairy, all of which contain nutrients that are difficult to obtain in other food groups,” he says. “It is quite low in omega-3 fats, for example, since fatty fish (and almost all fish) are prohibited, as are dried fruits like walnuts, which also contain omega-3 fats.”
This is dangerous as omitting good sources of omega-3 is not ideal for promoting optimal heart health. Additionally, Thomas-Ayoob says that minimizing dairy foods is a great way to limit your ability to get enough calcium, a nutrient of concern because most people don’t get enough calcium.
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First things first: Poon says that a purely plant-based diet can contribute to optimal health. However, going from a carnivore to a vegan will require some essential changes and the right food choices. As Poon puts it, all too often he says that people will ‘go vegan’ but then supplement their diet primarily with meat substitutes, such as vegan packaged and fast foods.
“These are still processed foods, and while they may be nominally better than a conventional brand, they are generally not health-supporting foods,” he says. “Many packaged foods contain processed ingredients, such as refined grains, added sugar, and oils that can cause inflammation, which is a precursor to most diseases.”
If you choose to go plant-based, Poon focuses on eating a variety of healthy plants and supplementing any vitamins and minerals that may be missing from your diet.
No, you are not eating reptiles on this diet. However, it will probably still scare you. As Dr. Ax explains, this approach involves eating a giant meal every other day, and nothing else. It is intended to result in rapid weight loss through prolonged fasting. There are several stages to the diet, the first one involving consuming only about 3,500 calories per week, which is far less than what the average adult needs.
“It does not emphasize the importance of nutritional quality and that it is difficult to put into practice if you are someone who likes to eat socially with others,” he says. “Fasting can also be difficult for some people, leading to problems such as mental confusion, mood swings, and trouble sleeping.”
As it sounds, the Military Diet is highly regulated and repetitive. As Dr. Ax explains, this approach generally involves eating the same foods repeatedly while maintaining a deficient calorie intake. This could be consuming just 800-1100 calories several days a week.
“The foods included in this diet are somewhat unusual and not necessarily the most nutritious, made up of foods that include cottage cheese, eggs, crackers and ice cream,” he says.
Supporters of this diet claim that you can lose up to “10 pounds in less than a week.”
“But remember that just because the number on the scale may decrease while you are on such a diet, it does not mean that your body composition or health is improving,” he says. “A reduction in body fat may be associated with improvements in markers such as insulin sensitivity, but the weight loss alone could mean that you are losing mass from other areas that you do not want to include muscle mass.”
Also, when you don’t eat enough, it negatively affects your brain and your ability to focus, remember things, and be creative.
“You are more likely to feel fatigued, sluggish and confused if you don’t eat properly, and you may even find that you get sick more easily, as the stress of the diet can affect your immune system,” he says. .
Here’s the deal: The HCG diet involves taking the HCG hormone in an effort to lose one pound. This is the hormone that is produced in the body during pregnancy and is usually only given by prescription for infertility.
Although most experts caution against the HCG diet, Poon says that some people still try it because of the promise of rapid weight loss. Not only is taking HCG dangerous (unless your doctor prescribes it), it’s also troublesome and harmful to restrict calories so much.
On this diet, Poon explains that you only eat 500 calories per day. Yes, that’s correct: 500!
“You may lose weight quickly mainly due to calorie restriction, but you may also experience symptoms such as fatigue, depression, blood clots, irregular heartbeat, and vitamin deficiencies or electrolyte imbalance,” he says. “The risks definitely outweigh the benefits with this one. I would avoid this diet no matter what.”
Along with these diets, you may want to read our list of The Unhealthiest Diets of 2020, According to the Experts.