Avoid these fad diets if you’re looking to lose weight – here’s what experts say you should do instead

Avoid these fad diets if you’re looking to lose weight – here’s what experts say you should do instead


Have you ever come across a diet that promises quick weight loss in the short term?

Most likely, it’s a fad diet you should avoid.

Weight loss doesn’t happen overnight, and if a product or diet promises that it will, it will likely end up doing more harm than good.

Sometimes it can be difficult to know whether you are experiencing a fad diet or not.

Most commonly, a fad diet will promote rapid weight loss, is short-term, excludes certain food groups, has no scientific backing, restricts the number of calories you can consume, and comes with a strict set of rules.

Take a look at these trending diets you should avoid, plus get tips on what to do instead.

HCG diet

The HCG diet is widely considered a very unhealthy way to lose weight.

It was created in the 1950s when British doctor Albert Simons began promoting the diet for weight loss.

The diet, which includes nutritional supplements, was introduced in the 1950s. Getty Images

It basically comes with two requirements. The first is that you can only eat 500 calories every day.

The second component of this diet is human chorionic gonadotropin supplements taken daily. This medication is mainly used to treat fertility problems, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The Food and Drug Administration does not classify HCG supplements as safe for weight loss.

Medical News Today reports that HCG supplements can cause mood changes, fluid buildup in body tissues, enlarged male breasts, and blood clots.

The low-calorie diet also comes with a slew of side effects such as malnutrition, low mood, irregular heartbeat and gallstones, according to the source.

Cabbage soup diet

The cabbage soup diet is not rich in nutrients. Getty Images/iStockPhoto

As the name suggests, the diet mainly consists of cabbage soup.

This diet consists of eating cabbage soup for seven days with one or two low-calorie foods daily.

This diet is not sustainable, but it also lacks nutrients from the major food groups.

Since it is a short-term diet, there will likely not be any significant weight loss during this time period.

This diet lacks many nutrients vital for overall health. Its restrictive nature, and the short time it is followed, make people regain the weight they lost once the week is over.

Baby food diet

While baby foods contain enough nutrients for babies, adults will need more than what you provide. Getty Images/iStockPhoto

The baby food diet, like many fads, has roots in Hollywood.

This diet has people reaching for baby food in their cupboards and eating several bowls for two meals a day.

While baby foods contain enough nutrients for a toddler, they do not contain enough for an adult. Continuing this diet for too long can lead to nutrient deficiencies, according to Verywell Fit.

Additionally, after eating several packets of food at a meal, you may still feel hungry due to its low protein and fiber content.

Juice cleanses

Although healthy in and of themselves, fresh juices are not enough when it comes to nutrition. Getty Images

Fresh juice full of nutritious fruits and vegetables is great for you, but not when it’s the only thing you eat.

If you drink juice alone without eating any solid foods, a healthy product becomes unhealthy.

Juice cleanses can lead to dehydration and kidney problems, according to Health.com, as well as increased hunger.

What should I do instead?

The best way to lose weight is to set weight loss goals and balance your diet with exercise. Getty Images

In general, when it comes to losing weight, the best thing you can do is create a healthy balance of a nutritious diet with all food groups and regular exercise.

It’s essential to set yourself realistic weight loss goals and maintain the understanding that noticeable changes will take time.

“For most people, a realistic weight loss goal is probably only about four to eight pounds per month,” Jessica Isaacs, a Los Angeles-based registered sports nutritionist and health advisor at Red Bull, told Fox News Digital.

A comprehensive diet should include all food groups while also considering portions.

“We want a balanced diet, really focusing on being mindful of portions, and so a consistent, daily high protein intake is important. We can store carbohydrates, we can store fat, we don’t store protein,” Isaacs added.

It will take time, balance, and setting realistic goals to lose weight and keep it off.

Fad diets can be a source of quick fixes but they are not healthy and long-lasting.

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