Fad Diets to Be Avoided

In the last post we covered the recommended “good” diets; but, for every good diet that is introduced there are always several fad diets to be avoided.  Just so I am clear, by bad diet I mean they are harmful to your health and should always be avoided.  They typically burst on the scene and flame out rather quickly, but not always.

Some can be fairly long-lived even though they are potentially dangerous and receive public “warnings” about the dangers from well-respected organizations such as the American Heart Association. For example:  High Protein/Low Carb Diets.

High-Protein/Low-Carb Diets

Some of these will sound familiar:  The Zone, The Atkins Diet and The Dukan Diet, all popular forms of low-carb/high-protein diets that you would be wise to avoid.

The consensus among medical news reports is that these types of diets can put you at risk for strokes and heart disease.  They are also extremely hard on your kidneys, creating the possibility of kidney failure, ketosis, and elevated bad cholesterol levels.

Common side effects of high protein diets are:  not enough glucose to function well (glucose is what is converted into energy and transported to the cells), constipation, and bad breath.

A study carried out at the Psychology Department of Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts found that women on low- or zero-carb diets performed worse in memory or thinking tests than women whose diets were not low in carbs.

Some bodies seem to handle them OK, but others have severe and serious side effects, so why take the risk?

Detox Diets

This is another type of extreme diet. Their primary purpose is to cleanse the body of toxins by cutting out all solids foods, drinking a prescribed mix of ingredients, and using laxatives or a salt flush to aid in the cleansing process.  That is an oversimplification, but is the basic idea.

Using a detox diet for two or three days – even up to seven days is generally OK. For the average, healthy person it will not be harmful – and in fact, can give your vital organs a rest and give your digestive tract a thorough cleaning.  However, DO NOT get caught up in the diet and think that you can lose weight quickly by extending the diet for two or three weeks, or more. Such a decision is dangerous and could be extremely harmful to your body and your health.  Never use detox diets for more than seven (7) days at the most.

The Blood Type Diet

This is another fad diet to avoid.  The premise is that people should eat specific foods that are in harmony with their blood type.  For example:  People with Type O blood should avoid grains and participate in heavy exercise; while Type A should eat grains and avoid heavy exercise.  There seems to be a lack of scientific evidence to support this diet.

The Baby Food Diet

Baby Food

This is a strange and unappealing diet that started in Hollywood.  It is really quite simple – jars of baby foods are eaten for two of your three meals every day.  You would have to eat a lot of baby food to get enough calories to sustain your body. Obviously the limited number of calories is the factor that creates the weight loss, but it is a not a healthy choice for losing weight.

The Alkaline Diet

The central premise of this diet is that you should control the pH level in your body through the food that you eat.  Foods are identified as alkaline-ash or acid-ash.  The claim is that certain foods can neutralize acid in the body which will make it easy to lose weight – and cure cancer????

The Tongue-Patch Diet

Two women, Marlene Beltran and Lysander Lanuza, came up with this incredibly bad idea for weight loss (in my opinion).  Using plastic mesh, meant for hernia repair, a patch is sewn onto the tongue, making eating solid food painful, if not impossible. Since the dieters cannot eat, they live on diet shakes – an extreme type of deprivation dieting – plus they are expected to exercise for 45 minutes every day.

This type of radical diet almost always fails because as soon as the barrier to food (in this case the patch) is removed, the dieters eat everything in sight and gain all the weight back. Deprivation or starvation diets never work in the long-term – and are very hard on your body!


The frightening fact is that people seem to lose their sanity to some degree when trying to lose weight and they make choices that are extreme and very dangerous.  Some of the extreme examples I found when doing my research were:  Using regular heavy doses of laxatives to force food out of the body quickly; drinking Ipecac Syrup to make you throw up; using diuretics which can lead to severe dehydration and other very weird practices such as eating cotton balls to keep from eating food.

There are some “thinspiration” communities that generate such hideous ideas and encourage the members to participate.

Please, retain your sanity – be wise – and do your research before starting on any kind of diet. It is always a good practice to talk to your doctor about any diet you are considering – especially if you have any kind of health problems.

Make sure that whatever you choose will not only help you lose weight, but will also be good for you – not harmful to your health.

Talk to you soon,


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