Have you heard of the ‘Raw food diet’, ‘Atkins diet’, ‘Cookie diet’, ‘Alkaline diet’, ‘Grapefruit diet’, ‘Blood group diet’? Now that I have your attention, let’s discuss the pros and cons of each diet and determine how successful they will be when it comes to weight loss.
Fad: ‘an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short-lived; a craze’. – Oxford Dictionary
Fad diet: ‘Any of a number of weight-reduction diets that either eliminate one or more of the essential food groups, or recommend consumption of one type of food in excess at the expense of other foods. Fad diets rarely follow sound nutritional principles for weight loss, which focus on ingesting fewer calories and/or consuming more energy through exercise; fad diets are generally not endorsed by the medical profession.’ – Segen’s Medical Dictionary, 2012
Raw Food Diet
It is based on the theory that cooking destroys essential nutrients. Water and heat can reduce nutrients, but this is minimal. After cooking (using the correct methods) the food will still contain enough nutrients.
Pros: No processed or preserved foods or refined carbs are included in the diet. Your daily intake of fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds are increased.
Cons: You are only allowed to eat natural and raw foods like fruit and vegetables. Heat is used to kill bacteria that might be found on certain food. Cooking makes certain foods more digestible, palatable and increases the variety of food that can be eaten daily. This diet is very limited; often people will get tired of repeating the same meal plan day in and day out and just go back to how they previously ate.
Alkaline Ash Diet
This diet is based on the theory that foods that we eat will cause our pH to be more acidic.
Pros: No processed or preserved foods or refined carbs are included in this diet. Your daily intake of fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds are increased.
Cons: Meat and dairy is also cut out of the diet. These two provide essential nutrients like iron and calcium that is very important for blood and bone formation. Often meat and dairy are not substituted with something else that contains similar nutrients. Your body is incredibly efficient to keep your pH levels where they need to be, so this diet will not have any effect on your pH levels.
Blood Type Diet
This diet is based on the theory that foods that you eat react chemically with your blood type.
Pros: Yet again processed and preserved foods, as well as refined carbs is limited.
Cons: Depending on your blood type the diet may be very restrictive. Different deficiencies might develop in the different blood groups – due to cutting out whole food groups. There is no scientific evidence that your blood type affects weight loss.
The diet is based on the theory that special diet cookies can help you lose weight.
Pros: Reducing calories consumed daily
Cons: You eat the special cookies for breakfast and lunch (only 500 – 600 calories is allowed daily) with a normal dinner (1000 – 1200 calories per meal). This sets you up for bingeing at night, due to depriving yourself all day. Cookies are still considered as processed food. Excluding a variety in your diet can lead to nutrient deficiencies.
The Five Bite Diet
This diet is based on reducing your daily intake by being allowed to take only five bites at lunch and five at dinner.
Pros: Reducing calories consumed daily.
Cons: Only two meals are eaten every day – lunch and dinner. A very limited amount of calories is consumed (900 – 1000 calories per day). The variety of food eaten daily is also limited – beacuase you are only allowed two meals and five bites at each.
The Master Cleanse / Lemonade Diet
This diet is based on the theory that your body needs to detox to assist with weight loss.
Pros: Daily energy intake is limited
Cons: You are only allowed to drink lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper mixed in water, for days on end. This mixture is a diuretic – which makes you urinate more often. By starving yourself you will also lose muscle – the kind of weight you don’t want to lose. Some of the side effects include fatigue, nausea, dizziness and dehydration. As soon as you start eating solid foods you will gain weight again.
Cabbage Soup Diet
This diet is based on eating fat-free soup two to three times a day
Pros: The intake of calories is reduced. The diet contains a lot of fiber and water to help aid in fullness.
Cons: It promotes bloating and gas from all the cabbage. It is limited in protein, which can lead to muscle loss. The diet is very limited – nutrient deficiencies might develop.
This diet is based on the theory that grapefruit contain fat-busting enzymes.
Pros: Fewer calories are consumed, than usual.
Cons: You are limited to 800 – 1000 calories per day. You have to include grapefruit or grapefruit juice with every meal. This diet can become very monotonous.
Let’s see what these diets have in common:
Pros: Reducing the amount of junk food you eat (processed and preserved foods as well as refined carbs). Reducing the amount of calories consumed daily. Increasing the intake of fresh fruit and vegetables (which include fiber and various other nutrients), daily.
Cons: The diets are very limited in variety and nutrients and can lead to deficiencies as well as lean muscle loss. There are nasty side-effects with some of these diets. They can become very monotonous. Some of these diets can be detrimental to your health. None of these diets are sustainable for a long period of time. In the end your old, unhealthy habits will be resumed as soon as this diet is discontinued.