Happy New Year! Or should I say "Happy New Diet?" Every year
around this time, people adopt new diets as a part of their New
Year's resolutions. However, by February, many of these people will
But when we talk about a failed diet,
we should consider more than just "why did I gain back the
weight?" Some aspects of
fad diets can be
dangerous, and the health care industry (including providers
and communicators) must remain diligent in ensuring that their
patients have all the
information they need to make informed decisions about their
diet. With that in mind, here's a brief overview of three diets
that seem to be sticking out this year.
What it is:Also known as the "lemonade diet," the Master Cleanse
diet is a 10-day juice fast wherein the dieter consumes up to 12
glasses of lemonade (with cayenne pepper and maple syrup) per day.
It is accompanied by herbal laxatives at night and a "Salt Water
Flush" in the morning.
Why it's good: Juice fasting is said to
detoxify your system and improve your digestive function.
Why it fails: Master Cleansers forego most
vitamins, minerals, and essential nutrients. They are also
consuming a dangerously low amount of calories. Particularly for
kidney disease and blood sugar irregularities, attempting this
diet can be very dangerous.
Consuming almost no calories for several days practically
guarantees that you will lose weight. However, after depriving your
body of nutrients, you are likely to
consume more calories than you did before the fast after the 10
days are over.
But can it work?: Juice fasting can be good for
done correctly. It has been proven to cause short-term weight
loss, but fasting is not beneficial for long-term weight loss.
What it is: Paleo is a shortened form of the
word "Paleolithic," which refers to the prehistoric hunter-gatherer
era of the Stone Age. The premise of the diet is easy: you eat what
the cavemen ate and if they didn't eat it, you don't either.
Why it's good: The main transition into the
Paleo diet is cutting out ALL processed foods, which is great
because they're terrible for you.
Why it fails: Most critics of the Paleo diet
note that the fruits and vegetables we have today are pretty
different than the ones around 2.6 million years ago and that
adherence to the actual Paleolithic diet is virtually impossible.
miss out on key nutrients like carbohydrates, fiber, and other
vitamins and minerals. Because the Paleo diet is calls for so much
percent of your daily calories), it is very easy to consume
more calories than anticipated. Anything your body cannot use is
kept and turned into fat. So, unless you up your exercise routine,
it's likely that that rump roast is going to stick around on your
rump for quite some time.
But can it work?: The only way to achieve
success through the Paleo diet is to integrate a strict workout
plan and make sure that you are operating on a calorie deficit.
Even then, the effects are
do not promote a lifetime of healthy body weight.
What it is: People with Celiac
disease or gluten intolerance or sensitivity often adopt
gluten-free diets. But recently, it has become a trend for weight
Why it's good: If you have Celiac disease,
cutting out gluten can have an
array of health benefits, and yes, weight loss can be one of
them. But certainly not everyone loses weight when adopting this
type of diet, and in fact,
some may actually gain weight.
Why it fails: Because those who must follow a
gluten-free diet often still want pizza, pasta, bagels, and
cookies, companies are churning out gluten-free versions to reach
this market. A lot of these versions have additives and can be
very high in sodium and cholesterol, and don't have many of the
nutritional benefits that other carbs (including those with gluten)
But can it work?: A gluten-free diet
can prompt weight loss. And if you are gluten-intolerant,
it will be a wise choice for your health, although not necessarily
your waistline. If you are not, it is most likely a waste of time
(and money; gluten-free foods are expensive!).