What Fad Diets Actually Do to Your Body

Hoping to drop five pounds before bikini season? Want to get thin for the holidays? Sure, you can put in the time and effort it takes to eat a balanced diet, but why go the long-term healthy route when you could drop a ton of weight with a handy fad diet?! There are so many get-thin-quick schemes out there, but are any of them actually healthy?

Wondering how to lose weight fast? These diets claim to have all of the answers—as long as you’re willing to deprive yourself of almost everything delicious. There are diets that have been around forever: the infamous Master Cleanse, the grapefruit Diet, Jenny Craig, and Weight Watchers. And then there are the latest fads: the controversial gluten-free diet, the paleo craze, and everyone’s favorite: juice cleanses. Our list covers diets that are total lifestyle changes (like going vegan), and some that are only supposed to be done for 48-hours.

Of course, not all diet plans are created equal. Some of the worst diets are known to be effective, but are also potentially harmful. Some bad diets have been shown to cause fatigue, headaches, dizziness, and even more serious problems for your kidneys and heart. Sure, they get the weight off, but what's the cost of that weight loss? Bottom line, you'll want to check with your doctor before trying any of these diets. Otherwise your attempt to drop some pounds could turn in to a diet horror story.
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  • The Master Cleanse

    Everyone's heard of the Master Cleanse! This diet entails drinking a concoction of lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup for somewhere between four days and two weeks. During this time you're not supposed to eat anything else. Yes, you'll lose the weight, but you'll also spend your days feeling light-headed and dizzy. Plus, there is also potential for serious bodily damage if you maintain this type of calorie deprivation for several weeks. Worst part? You'll gain it all back as soon as you start eating solids again.

  • Gluten-Free Diet

    Going "gluten-free" is the latest trend in diets. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and triticale (a combination of wheat and rye) that acts as a "glue" in foods to help them hold their shape. For people with Celiac disease (a severe gluten intolerance), consuming gluten can cause illness and intestinal discomfort. But if you do not have Celiac disease, there is limited evidence that gluten is bad for your health. Go ahead and give it up if you think you can live a life without bread, but there's no guarantee you'll lose weight or feel better.

  • Cabbage Soup Diet

    The Cabbage Soup Diet requires you to eat large amounts of cabbage soup for a week. You're also allowed to eat certain fruits, vegetables, beef, chicken and brown rice, according to a set schedule.The problem: you might end up losing water weight and lean tissue instead of fat. Depending on the recipe, the diet can be high in sodium. You should also know that large amounts of cabbage also can make you more prone to flatulence. Warn your friends.

  • Grapefruit Diet

    The Grapefruit Diet is a protein-rich meal plan that requires dieters to consume grapefruit or grapefruit juice at every meal for 12 days. Researchers have warned that the fruit can react with a large number of medicines. This interaction can cause devastating side-effects ranging from stomach bleeding to kidney problems, muscle aches, and irregular heartbeats. Consult a doctor or a pharmacist before going on this diet if you are on medication.


  • The Cookie Diet

    The theory behind the Cookie Diet is that snacking throughout the day on a low-calorie cookie made with a secret “hunger-controlling” formula will keep your appetite at bay and thus, your calorie count in check. While a cookie diet sounds amazing, it can become monotonous eating them for every meal. Also, the cookies do not provide you with the recommended amount of fiber, which could leave you constipated. 

  • The Ice Cream Diet

    While on the Ice Cream Diet, women can have one cup of low-fat ice cream, and men may have 1½ cups per day. The secret of the diet is the calcium: when your body doesn't get enough calcium, it triggers fat cells to store fat and get bigger. The ice cream also helps to satisfy dieters' cravings. But this diet isn't just about eating ice cream - you still need to track your calories. And of course, this one won't work for those that are lactose intolerant.