Sunday, July 18, 2010

Thanks Hollywood! Diet Trends you Should Never Try – Part One

In an attempt to lose weight or simply to get flat abs, we tend to try the craziest things. Although some diet programs work and are safe, there are tons of new and trendy diet programs out there that may work in the short term, but are either impractical or could have dangerous effects on our bodies in the long term. There are so many that we will talk about some today, and break out the rest for future posts. 

 Atkins diet: The Atkins diet consists of few carbs, and a lot of protein, especially through meat. This diet program has been one of the most controversial in our time by research and health authorities. Today, the theory is supported, and tomorrow, it is not. Here is my take on the Atkins diet. If you intend to work out regularly, you need carbs to survive. And although I always talk about limiting your calories, your body does need those calories to function. A diet around minimizing calories and boosting protein does not seem practical to me. Yes, you need tons of protein to build and repair muscles, but continuously trying to exercise on low energy could hurt you because you won’t be using your body to its full potential.  If you always eat tons of meat and fish, but have to skip the rice, potatoes, bread, yams (should I keep going?), it just does not seem like a realistic diet to me. My advice is to stick to carbs from whole grain as much as you can.

The Baby Food Diet: When we were babies, we ate baby food because we had to. Our teeth weren’t yet fully developed, and the food contained nutrients to promote the development of a BABY. People going back to baby meals in their adult age is pretty silly to me. Because the food isn’t solid and heavy does not mean it is the best for you. That’s why it’s called baby food. You need a complex combination of nutrients to stay active, maintain your heart function, and prevent a host of diseases. Baby food is created for an entirely different purpose like building strong bones and teeth, and brain development, not the amount of physical activity an adult needs.

Ear stapling: When I first read about this, I thought nobody could actually possibly believe this, but it seems there are groups of people that strongly do. Ear stapling is based on a theory that there are arrears of your ear that affect your appetite. So you can control your appetite by stapling the portion of your ear, and applying pressure to it can make you eat less. Please don’t try this. It is simply a ploy on our desperation to lose weight. No health authorities or research backs up this theory.

Raw food diet: The raw food diet is based on the notion that cooking food destroys a lot of the nutrients. While that may be true in some cases, the heat from cooking also helps to destroy a lot of the bacteria that could be attached to raw food. Granted, you’ll definitely be eating fewer calories this way, but if you are eating only raw food, you may be limiting yourself to certain nutrients, and skip on the ones your body actually needs. For example, to get the amount of protein and carbs that your body needs, you probably have to eat the same food every day. No meat and no beans really limits your protein options, making this diet choice very impractical.

Master Cleanses:  Cleansing diets usually require a few days of very low calorie diets to “cleanse” the body of toxins. These low calorie diets usually consist of things like cayenne pepper and lemons. As I always say, if you starve yourself, your body goes into starvation mode. You potentially lose weight and muscle mass in the short term, but your body compensates by slowing down your metabolism, and when you go back to your regular diet, you’d probably put on more weight than you had before. So forget about the master cleanses. The key is to make a lifestyle change you can stick with long term.

Single-food-diets: An example is the cabbage soup diet. Your body needs several nutrients to survive and be active. So it should definitely be a no-no when a diet program asks you to each only one type of food for a period of time. If the meal you decide to go with has a lot of protein but little carbs, or vice-versa, you’re in trouble. In essence, one meal usually cannot contain all the body needs, so restricting yourself to one meal can cause several potential malnutrition disasters to your body. Some variations of the single-food-diets are like the master cleanses where you eat one type of food for a few days, and then revert back to your regular diet. In that case, the same comment I made in the master cleanse applies here.

Diet pills: Most drugs have potential side effects. When you are sick, you take drugs to make you better, and so it is worth the risk because they are meant to improve your health, and there is usually no other way. Diet pills expose our bodies to so many risks, and for what? To lose weight that could be lost another way? Diet pills have been linked to vitamin deficiencies, heart problems, and digestive problems. And most diet pills are not even approved by health authorities, leaving the consumer to carry the risk on their own. Rather than seek a quick fix with a pill, please stick to the traditional routine of a healthy diet and exercise to reduce the risk of harmful effects on your body.What's the purpose of losing weight if you are opening yourself up to a host of other health conditions? The same goes for those who use laxatives to lose weight.

If you have a different opinion about any one of these diet fads, please share. I would especially love to hear from someone who may have tried one of these.

Cheers ‘Eights’ and ‘Weights’!


  1. "there are tons of new and trendy diet programs out there that may work in the short term". so true..
    ear slapping cracked me up.. ha

  2. Last week I blogged about questionable diet fads from the 1900s and one of the interesting things I found was about original diet pills. They were originally released during the World War I era and released onto the market. Over 100,000 Americans took them but they were taken off the market because of their association with blindness and death. Yikes! Eating less and moving more is the way to go.

  3. The only "diet" we have ever been able to use and stick to in our house is South Beach. I think it is one of the most reasonable ones out there and when you really can't do much working out, you sometimes have to rely on diets like this. I have to admit, I'm not the one who can't work out (that would be my husband-back injury) and I've lost more weight and find it easier to keep it off.

  4. Wow there are some crazy diet trends out there! Can't believe the ear stapling and the baby food diet!
    I've tried Atkins but as I'm not someone who likes a lot of meat and lots of oil and butter anyway, I constantly felt like I was about to throw up - that and the lack of energy to work out or even walk up the stairs! Though after a few days on it your energy comes back! I've done some crash dieting in my time but now that I work out a lot, and do try and eat reasonably healthily, I no longer have to worry about my weight!

  5. @Vickii: Yay! I'm happy you're happy and healthy now. Nothing beats that feeling :)
    @fabladyh: I know, right? People will go to extremes...
    @Sarah: I agree with you. Eating less and moving more is the way to go.
    @C: I think South Beach is reasonable. It's real food, just healthier options.

    Thanks for your comments guys!

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