4 Fad Diets that Can Fail You


This hot topic is in the news!  If you feel like it’s time to get some weight off or are frustrated that watching what you eat isn’t cutting it, then plunging into a program that promises to deliver may seem like the solution.   But what you may not realize is how these four popular fad diets work and what you should be aware of before you take a step you may regret.

1- Fork diet:

Pros:  Ever wondered how French people stay thin? Are you looking for a way to stop evening food binges and overeating? Maybe the Fork Diet is for you. By switching your heavier meal to earlier in the day this can give you a better opportunity to burn off calories. It is also easier on your digestion and metabolism, as eating just before bed can lead to weight gain. By only using a fork to eat your dinner, this can help you to slow down rapid eating.

 Cons: Unfortunately, just targeting dinner is not enough to really make this diet a success. Forking your dinner meal and eating only fish, vegetables, brown grains every night, can get played out fast. This can lead to a return to old habits and food choices. Even though the diet gives advice on lowering fat and sugar, the menu choices for the other two meals and snacks include frequent use of   goodies and other high calorie foods which may get in the way of weight loss.

Who are good candidates: This diet can be good for people who want to change their eating pattern of evening overeating. Lightening up the dinner meal makes sense! So does using utensils to eat instead of your fingers that is associated with food choices that are dense in calories like street foods or snacks. Behavior modification changes can help iron out eating swings where you may miss daytime meals and make up for it at night.

2- Paleo diet:

Pros: Ever wonder how a caveman ate?  This “back to your roots” diet offers suggestions on foods which may have been part of our diet over 1 million years ago. Returning to a whole-foods, seasonal, plant based diet is great as we try to turn the clock back for our high use of processed, convenience foods. You will naturally cut your use of salt, sugar, preservatives and other additives that are not good for your health.  Ramping up your nutrients and fiber is a natural way to sense fullness and control your appetite with less, so it’s a good thing for weight control.

Cons: The diet downside involves the use of absolute restrictions that contradict science and anthropologic evidence on the history of our diet. High selectivity and speculations on what should be eaten or excluded turn this diet into more of a ritualistic philosophy. This may promote disordered eating for some people who are prone and lead to an obsession. Some versions (Raw food, Macrobiotic, Warrior) may ignore entire food groups, present elaborate rules for meal timing and spacing which may compromise nutrients or ignore individual lifestyles.

Who can benefit: We can all benefit from borrowing elements of the Paleo diet and weave it into your daily food choices. Using more plant foods and less processed foods is especially helpful for people who have been eating a lot of convenience, prepared foods with little use of fruits and vegetables. This can help you to improve appetite control and control cravings.

3- Hollywood Liquid Detox Diet:

Pros: If you are wondering what high profile celebrities may do to get camera ready for a big event, then a liquid Hollywood diet offers some advice on what a juice cleanse may be about.  Taking it easy with food for a day or two is a good idea to help your system recover from overindulging and to get back on track (think holiday eating). This liquid diet leads you urinate more so you will feel less bloated.  It also can give your stomach a rest from stretching too much with large meals. This can help you recognize fullness with less.

Cons: Forget the hype and know that following this diet for more than one or two days can be dangerous. If you are looking to lose weight you will be disappointed as this diet causes water loss not fat. If you do it for a longer time you will disrupt your body composition by losing precious muscle. This leads to a lower metabolism and greater body fat.

Who can Benefit:  Some people can benefit from a brief period of taking in soups or juices to help recover from a digestive illness or to put the brakes on overindulgences after a party night. It’s a quick turnaround as you alleviate bloating and calm your taste buds down from eating too much fat, sugar and salt.

4- Magic Supplement Diet:

Pros: Are you anxious to get weight loss results in a short time?  Cutting calories by 50-70% of what you normally eat will get weight off fast. Many of diet supplements on the market slam you right into diet mode by as you hope to get immediate and motivating results.  Today’s popular preps promise to improve your metabolism so weight loss is almost effortless. Many of the supplements offer examples of what foods to eat and give you menu suggestions which can encourage better overall food choices to stabilize your appetite.

Cons:  Diet supplements can cause a variety of problems for many people.  Scientific evidence may be unraveling a potential mild benefit for some like the Raspberry Ketone, Green tea or Green coffee extract but the findings are not proven and the use of these products has not been standardized for use.   For others, using them is controversial and potentially harmful especially for people with underlying health concerns that accompany weight problems.  All in all, using weight loss supplements ignores a critical and necessary step which involves a clinical evaluation before going on a calorie restricted diet and the counseling that is needed to help you succeed.

Who can benefit: Extreme calorie restrictions are reserved for significantly overweight persons who have already been evaluated by a certified health professional. Implementing a safe weight loss diet is more than avoiding certain foods and taking a pill.  If you are looking to improve your weight and generate longer lasting benefits then seek out those who specialize in evaluating your medical history, your weight, your diet and lifestyle for great start to a new you!

For another take and more information on these fad diets, check out my article in the Feb/March 2013 issue of Miabella Magazine. It’s important to remember that these popular diets entice you with promises and can offer some benefits but they may not be the best way to help you in the long run.

Eat Healthy! Be Happy!

Nicolette M. Pace

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