A diet fad is just that – a fad. It is short lived and so are the benefits (however great in number they might be). In fact, in the long term, these fad diets end up causing substantial harm to your body, not to mention you end up gaining more weight than you possibly lost!
And with new fads being born every year, nay every few months, it becomes harder and harder for common folks like us to distinguish between the good, healthy diets and the poor ones.
In this article, we talk about what are the 10 worst fad diets that you must avoid at all cost.
(1) The Cookie Diet
It all started back in 1975, when Sanford Siegel (MD) launched his homemade cookies with a promise of weight loss for those using them. There was plenty of ground on which he was able to lay a solid foundation which proved to be fairly successful in future.
The cookies offered in this diet, while unpleasant in taste, do contain a number of useful ingredients such as oats, bran and whole wheat flour, all of which are known to curb the appetite and pack enough calories. However, they also lack in the other essential nutrients that the human body requires on a daily basis. By making people stick to only cookies in their diet, Siegel’s diet is nothing but a direct ticket to nutritional deficiency.
To make matters even worse, the cookie diet requires people to have only one actual meal throughout the day, with only one cup of vegetables allowed. The end result? Long term health complications like heart diseases, ineffective immune function, mental problems and degradation of skin health.
Currently, multiple forms of the Siegel cookie diet exist throughout the world. Probably, the most popular of them are the Hollywood cookie diet and the Smart for Life cookie diet. Avoid them at all costs!
(2) The Raw Food Diet
This one is one of the more common diet fads and you cannot really fault the people who follow it. Who could possibly raise a finger against a diet that suggests you to eat only raw fruits and veggies (predominantly)? It’s an all-natural diet, right? What could be better?!
Well, as it turns out, even if you are eating fruits and vegetables in their natural form day in and out, you can still end up missing on some of the important nutrients such as iron, lycopene and Vitamin B12. While the first two nutrients are derived from a food item only after it has been cooked, B12 is only found in animal products.
Plus, cooked vegetables can sometimes actually enhance the nutrients, kill any harmful bacteria present in the food and they are not actually devoid of all the dietary fiber and other essential nutrients.
So, there is really no need to go extreme vegan and proper health can only be got from following a healthy, balanced diet as any good health expert will tell you.
(3) Low Fat Diet
Any food item labeled “low fat” or reduced fat content is got to be good right?
Two factors are responsible for our claim. First, most food manufacturers who make low fat products add extra sugar to improve the taste. So, always read the label thoroughly before purchasing/using a “low fat” product and decide for yourself whether the product is actually healthy or not.
Second factor that low fat diet followers don’t always consider is that most low-fat foods are not known to satisfy hunger in the same way high fat foods do. Therefore, where a single regular or high fat brownie would have sufficed, people end up eating two or even three brownies to satiate their hunger! Does not too healthy any more does it?
Furthermore, even the claims that a low fat diet can improve your health are not exactly 100% true either. A 2006 study published in the Journal of American Medical Association showed that low fat diets did NOT significantly reduce the risk of heart diseases or strokes. 
(4) The Baby Food Diet
What’s common between Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Lady Gaga?
The baby food diet, supposedly.
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Yep. All of these celebrities have been claimed to have dabbled in this diet to maintain their health.
What is this baby food diet exactly then?
Simple. It is a diet that recommends people looking to lose weight to eat 14 jars of baby food daily, followed by an optional adult meal at dinner.
There is a slight downside to this easy dieting methodology though. Since all kinds of baby foods are processed and strained, they don’t contain any fiber content at all. This essentially means that overtime your digestive system’s performance will degrade dramatically and serious health complications will arise. Also, chewing the food helps feel full, something you can’t possibly derive from feeding off jars after jars of low calorie colored mush.
All health concerns aside though, what grown up would want to eat mushed and mashed food all day, every day?!
(5) The Blood-Type Diet
A brainchild of Dr. Peter D’Adamo, a naturopathic physician, the blood-type diet is based on his theory that people with different blood groups require different kinds of food to stay healthy and the secret to weight loss.
According to him, people with blood group O, typically need animal protein, vegetables, fruits and should avoid wheat and dairy. Whereas, people with type A need to go completely vegetarian and eat organic ideally. Type B meanwhile, are supposed to have a strong digestive system, and so can eat anything but chicken, corn, wheat, tomatoes and peanuts. They also need to do exercises such as hiking, swimming and cycling. The last blood group, type AB, simply needs to eat whatever type A and B are eating and doing.
The hitch? There is NO scientific or medical backing to Dr. D’Adamo’s claims. In fact, a 2013 study showed that there is no evidence of any perceivable health benefits from a blood-type diet. 
(6) Candy Diet
Yep. A diet that actually asks you to go ahead and eat candies!
Sounds too good to be true?
Well that’s because it is.
The candy diet evolved during the 80’s, when a company brought an appetite suppressant in the form of a candy for people trying to lose weight. By simple logic alone, it can be established that a high-fat, high in calories candy can never be good for your health. And if it is being offered as a dietary aid, it must have been tweaked unnaturally.
So it was. The Ayds Appetite Suppressant candy needs to be taken continously in order to maintain its appetite curbing effect. Also, it was later found that the ingredient used in the candy – phenylpropanolamine or PPA, can increase the risk of strokes dramatically.
(7) The Lemonade Diet
Another one that has been a favorite slim down diet of Hollywood celebrities – Beyoncé, Demi Moore and Jared Leto. Most notably though, it was Beyoncé who famously went on the lemonade diet to prepare for her role in the movie Dreamgirls.
First heard of back in the 1950’s, the lemonade diet asks you to forget every other food item and stick to only lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper for 10-14 days. Along with the peculiar lemonade recipe, you are also required to take a glass of salt water in the morning and wait for it…a laxative at night.
For those who haven’t yet understood the workings of this diet, here is what really goes on when you follow it.
Basically, you are only drinking diuretics for several days and so, your body loses all the water weight that it has been storing. No surprises then, when you start eating the regular food after the lemonade diet period is over, you quickly gain all the weight back.
No long term success whatsoever. And on the contrary, you make your body prone to side-effects such as nausea, dehydration, weakness and exhaustion.
(8) The Cabbage Soup Diet
Over the years, it has been introduced and re-introduced as the Sacred Heart Diet, the TJ Miracle Diet, the Military Cabbage Soup and the Russian Peasant Diet. All clever names to entice unsuspecting folks who are in desperate need to lose some weight.
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But the truth remains that the diet is about nothing else but eating as much cabbage soup as you can for seven days straight.
The diet is low in calories, low in fat AND low in essential nutrients. No wonder, a person will end up losing weight and in the process, his/her good health!
The cabbage soup diet works for a short term because you are eating nothing but fiber and water, which helps you feel full all day without bulking up on any real food. The other side of the coin though, shows that the same diet can promote bloating and gas in your body from eating all the cabbage.
Therefore, while it is good to include loads of fiber in your diet, please do remember to couple it up with food rich in other essential nutrients such as carbs, vitamins, healthy fats and proteins!
(9) Atkins Diet
The Atkins diet is a high-protein, low carbs diet which recommends dieters to eat a meaty diet in order to lose weight. The logic behind this approach is that by drastically cutting down carbs, the human body is put into a metabolic state called ketosis, where it begins to burn its own stored fat to derive calories. Thus, by using the body fat as a primary energy source, a person loses weight.
The only problem with this logic is that people often tend to forget that eating a meat heavy diet for a prolonged period has been directly linked to multiple chronic diseases, diabetes, cancer and other health problems. It can also cause substantial damage to the kidney and liver function. Besides, an increase in the amount of ketones as a result of the ketosis process also leads to an imbalance in the body’s pH.
So, if you are considering to switch to a high protein diet like the Atkins, make sure it involves taking enough fruits and vegetables to make up for the required amounts of fiber and other essential nutrients. Eating just meat is inviting trouble.
(10) The Grapefruit Diet
One of the oldest fad diets that just refuses to die and keeps coming back in one form or another is the grapefruit diet. The origins of this diet go back to 1930 that like several other fad diets out there (cabbage soup diet for instance) asks you to survive only on grapefruit juice.
For 12 days you are supposed to concentrate all your meals on grapefruit or its juice and make sure the calorific count remains below 1,000 a day. Some alterations to this diet do allow you to include protein rich foods like eggs, bacon or salad dressing in the day but the calorie count has to remain below the prescribed amount.
Now, while it is true grapefruits are healthy fruits and plenty rich in Vitamin C, eating ONLY grapefruits cannot be a good idea and it is not. There is no medical evidence to prove the effectiveness of the grapefruit diet but plenty of indications where it can go wrong.
First, since you are eating so much of a citrus fruit, you must be prepared for the citrus ulcers that are bound to break out before or soon after the dietary period is over. Second, since the diet is a restrictive one (like so many others on this list), you stand a positive chance of ending up suffering from nutrient deficiency. Oh and like all the other fad diets, you WILL gain all the weight you lost (at a greater pace) once the 12 day grapefruit diet period is over.
Like we said in the beginning, these fad diets keep mushrooming every few weeks (or is it days?) and as if it was possible, keep getting weirder. Believe it or not, there is a tapeworm diet that makes people inject tapeworm eggs inside their bodies!
It is, therefore, your duty to act learned enough and make sure you don’t give in to the tempting claims of these dubious diets. How to distinguish a fad diet though? Easy. They will come loaded with almost magical weight loss claims, will have almost no medical evidence to prove themselves and will involve some sort of extreme methodology.
Remember, there is no shortcut to a healthy body. You can only reach there by following a healthy lifestyle and eating a balanced diet. Period.