Fad diets 101
Cabbage soup

The truth about fad diets

As the rate of obesity continues to increase, so does the amount of people trying fad diets. Though they can help you lose weight fast, they’re not always safe.

A fad diet is defined as a popular diet, or trend, where you reduce your food intake in hopes of losing weight quickly. Just like any fad, fad diets come and go.

The top three fad diets are the cabbage soup diet, the Master Cleanse and the grapefruit diet. All three have advantages and disadvantages to helping you lose weight, though the healthiest way is, and always will be, simply eating healthy and exercising.

cabbageThe Cabbage Soup Diet

The cabbage soup diet consists of consuming an unlimited amount of cabbage soup for seven days straight, in addition to one other food each day. Day 1, for example, is cabbage soup and fruit; day 2 is cabbage soup and veggies; day 3 is cabbage soup, fruits, and veggies; and so on.

Pros

Advantages include unlimited amounts of specified foods, causing feelings of hunger to subside and losing weight quickly. You can possibly lose up to ten pounds in a week and cleanse your body of toxins. It's inexpensive to make with little preparation involved.

Cons

Disadvantages are possibly feeling weak while on the diet, and weight loss being only temporary. It can cause stomach cramping, and the soup may start to taste boring after day 3.

master cleanse drinkThe Master Cleanse

The Master Cleanse, made famous by singer Beyoncé Knowles, was created to rid the body of toxins and remove excess fat. No food is allowed on this diet, substituting water mixed with cayenne pepper, maple syrup and lemon instead. The cleanse ranges from 3 to 40 days, with the average being 10 days.

Pros

Most people do feel better while on this cleanse since they eliminate alcohol, junk food, tobacco and other poisons from their diet. The water mixture tastes very natural and is cheap to make, and the cleanse is quick since most only stay on it for 10 days.

Cons

Since no food is allowed, this cleanse can be very hard to stick to. It requires both mental and physical preparation beforehand. Muscle mass depletes from lack of protein and your energy level may decrease as well. Your body will also require a few days to adjust back to food again once the cleanse is over.

grapefruitThe Grapefruit Diet

The grapefruit diet, also known as the Hollywood Diet or the Mayo Clinic Diet, is the longest of the fad diets, lasting from 12 to 18 days. Supposedly, grapefruit contain an enzyme that acts as a fat-burner. On this diet, you must eat ½ a grapefruit, or drink 8 ounces of grapefruit juice, with every meal. Meals mostly consist of protein, and 8 glasses of water must be consumed, as well.

Pros

Supporters agree this is a nutritious plan that's easy to follow and aids in weight loss. Grapefruit is healthy — having very low calories and virtually no fat, it's packed with vitamin C, and it reduces the risk of developing diabetes.

Cons

Calorie intake is limited to 800, which can be hard to function off of for some people and is insufficient to daily nutritional needs. You may experience dizziness, stomachaches or headaches from lack of food. Also, too much protein isn't always good for you. Moderation is key.

Overall, the cabbage soup diet, the Master Cleanse and the grapefruit diet all will help aid in short-term weight loss goals, but will not provide lasting results. In order to successfully lose weight, you must change your eating habits and start exercising.

More on fad diets

Eating right: The anti-fad diet
Why popular diets don’t work
The Social Network Diet: Fad or fabulous?

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