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Weight loss & fad diets: Know the pros and cons before taking drastic steps - EastMojo

People suffering from obesity and want to lose weight take extreme steps, including fad diets. As what is always said about these diets, it is one that would appeal to those who want fast results. Although there are no sufficient clinical studies that can actually prove its safety and fast results, a lot of people still choose to consider fad diets.

Atkins Diet or The South Beach Diet

Both Atkins and The South Beach Diet have the same basic idea: if you cut down on carbs such as bread, pasta and refined sugar, your body will stop burning sugar as fuel and will burn fat instead.

Mediterranean Diet

If a dinner of fish and veggies with a glass of red wine sounds like an ideal meal to you, you may have found your diet match in the Mediterranean diet. This heart-healthy diet includes the food staples of people in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece and Italy. With an emphasis on heart-healthy fats — those containing unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids — the diet is rich in seafood, nuts and legumes, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and olive oil, as well as red wine in moderation.

Macrobiotic Diet

Made famous by supernaturally fit superstar Madonna, The Macrobiotic Diet (which actually has quite a few variations) cuts out wheat, red meat, poultry, eggs and dairy. It’s a super strict regimen that involves a lot of tofu, tempeh, and sea vegetables.

5:2 Diet

The 5:2 diet, also called the fast diet, is a type of intermittent fasting known as alternate-day fasting. On this diet, you eat normally for five days a week and restrict your calorie intake to 500–600 calories for two days each week, resulting in an overall calorie deficit that leads to weight loss. It is considered a form of modified alternate-day fasting. By contrast, some types of alternate-day fasting involve going without food for a full 24 hours. The extremely low calorie allotment on the two “fast” days has led some to classify the 5:2 diet as a fad diet.

Dukan Diet

Developed by French doctor Pierre Dukan in the 1970s, the Dukan Diet consists of four stages. It starts with the Attack Phase, which consists almost entirely of unlimited lean-protein foods. The rationale for this very high protein intake is that it will lead to rapid weight loss as a result of boosting metabolism and significantly decreasing appetite. Other foods are added with each stage until the Stabilization Phase, where no foods are strictly off-limits, but high-protein foods and vegetables are encouraged. The final phase also requires that you eat only Attack Phase foods once a week. As extreme as this diet seems, it does appear to produce weight loss.

Zone Diet

The Zone diet was created in the mid-1990s by Dr. Barry Sears, a US-based biochemist. It has been classified as a fad diet due to its premise that a strict ratio of protein, fat and carbs is required for optimal weight loss and overall health. This eating plan specifies that your calorie intake should be made up of 30% lean protein, 30% healthy fat and 40% high-fiber carbs. In addition, these foods are to be consumed as a prescribed number of “blocks” at meals and snacks. One of the ways the Zone diet is proposed to work is by reducing inflammation, which allows you to lose weight more easily.

Paleo Diet

Paleo has been classified as a fad diet because it restricts many foods, including dairy, legumes and grains. In addition, critics have pointed out that it isn’t practical or even possible to eat the same foods that our prehistoric ancestors did. However, the paleo diet is a balanced, healthy way of eating that eliminates processed foods and encourages its followers to eat a wide variety of plant and animal foods. In addition, studies suggest that the paleo diet may also help you lose weight and become healthier.

Ketogenic Diet

Although the ketogenic diet has been called a “fad” diet, there is no denying it can be very effective for losing weight. It works by lowering levels of insulin and shifting your primary fuel source from sugar to ketones. These compounds are made from fatty acids, and your brain and other organs can burn them for energy. When your body doesn’t have carbs to burn and switches to ketones, you’re in a state called ketosis. However, unlike the Atkins and other low-carb diets, ketogenic diets don’t gradually increase their carbs. Instead, they keep carb intake very low to ensure followers stay in ketosis.

Pros and Cons

While the fad diets may be extremely popular worldwide, it is always beneficial to consider the pros and cons of fad diets first before deciding on going on such diets.


Help you identify poor nutritional habits.

Many fad diets, like the VB6 diet, get rid of the standard Western diet. Many Americans eat refined flours, added sugars, and processed foods without thinking about it. A fad diet will usually encourage more fruits and vegetables with whole grains as an eating alternative.

Encourage accountability.

Fad diets are often followed by friends who are attempting to reach the same goals. This gives you an opportunity to have more accountability with your eating habits. When you are accountable to someone, you are more likely to reach your weight goals.

Are affordable.

Most fad diets can be followed at a price which is similar to that of your regular grocery spending.


Can be overly restrictive.

Fad diets tend to take certain foods out of your regular eating plan as a way to lose weight. Some are very restrictive. The Whole30 fad diet, for example, bans corn, legumes, rice, and grains for an entire month.

Can cause health problems.

Fad diets can cause health problems. Because they often cut out key foods, fad diets may cause the following symptoms: dehydration, weakness and fatigue, nausea and headaches, constipation, and inadequate vitamin and mineral intake.

Can be difficult to follow.

If you’re following a fad diet that eliminates carbohydrates, just one slip-up can be enough to ruin the entire diet. Because many of these diets are so restrictive, they can be difficult to implement. If you fail, then you might believe you can’t reach a healthy weight anymore.

A fad diet is not for everyone. Before going on a new diet, speak with your doctor about what the unique benefits or disadvantages may be for your health.

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