Perhaps one of the hardest parts about dieting is finding the diet that works for you. Bookstore shelves boast dozens of different plans, all sorted away in brightly-colored volumes with bikini models on them. The Internet is not always a helpful place either because it can be full of misinformation. Sometimes it seems like diet plans are made and sold just to make a quick buck, rather than to help someone who is actually struggling with their weight.
The diet plan that works for one person may not work for another, and that’s normal. But, there are some diets out there that probably won’t work for anybody. These are some common diet plans to avoid and why.
The Atkins Diet was invented in the 70s by a cardiologist named Robert C. Atkins. It consists of eating a low-carbohydrate diet that is rich in proteins, fats, and low-starch vegetables. At first glance, this diet seems plausible and can even work for some people in the short-term. But, many people find the diet hard to sustain because carbohydrates are necessary for maintaining a good mood and motivation. In addition to being difficult to stay on, this diet can cause some side effects, such as halitosis, insomnia, dizziness, constipation, and lethargy.
Cabbage Soup Diet
You might think that nobody in their right mind would try the Cabbage Soup diet, but you’ve probably heard of it. So, certainly a good number of people have attempted it. This is considered a “vanity diet” (a short-term plan designed to make you lose a lot of weight very quickly for some special occasion), and is not meant to be long-term. That being said, it doesn’t even do very well as a short-term diet. That’s because even if you do lose some weight, there is no follow-up plan for after the diet is done. And, because your body is going to be craving other nutrients after a week of eating the same thing, you’re likely to binge out on other foods, causing a yo-yo effect. Yo-yo dieting may increase the risk of getting certain health problems such as high cholesterol and gallbladder disease.
The Paleo diet is one of the biggest health food crazes to come out of the 2010s. It is sold as a long-term lifestyle rather than a fad diet. And, the Paleo diet supposedly promotes a lean body, a sharper mind, and a connection to your inner caveperson. The problem here is that the Paleo diet wholly excludes entire categories of food, including legumes, grains, and dairy products. While many people live successfully cutting out one of these categories (usually for medical reasons, such as lactose intolerance), completely removing all three is taking out a huge nutritional base. And, if you live without these foods long-term without some kind of plan to effectively replace them, you run the risk of becoming deficient in important vitamins and minerals. Additionally, this plan advocates for at least some intermittent fasting, sometimes eating one meal per day. This can lead to bingeing and obsession in certain people.
This plan is also called the Lemon Detox Diet, if “Master Cleanse” sounds like a good idea. The point of this plan is to promote health by cleansing the body. This is done by slowly limiting yourself to liquid only foods, then consuming only lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and water for days. During the lemonade phase of the diet, you have to take a laxative or a salt water flush every day to induce bowel movements. If this doesn’t already turn you off of the Master Cleanse, consider that this diet falls significantly short of the 2,000 calories per day recommended for adults. And, it lacks protein, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals…essentially all the things you need to be healthy. People who go on this diet report side effects such as headaches, dizziness, diarrhea, and nausea. And, if you’re thinking that the cleanse is worth the pain to get a nice detox, you might want to consider this: no scientific studies have found that this cleanse, or other cleanses, do a better job of detoxifying the body than your body already does on its own. Sometimes a fad diet is just that – a fad.