fad diets for weight loss
Diets,  Fitness,  Nutrition,  Weight Loss

Fad Diets: How They Work, Pros and Cons

There are hundreds of diets that are being promoted and all of them claim that they are the best approaches to lose weight. Some of these diets, however, involve getting rid of necessary nutrients. Several diets also cut all of the food groups and they are called “fad diets.” Are they what seem to be? Or, do they really help you lose unwanted weight?

Fad diets may offer fat-free, very low carbohydrate, or high protein diet plans. While other fad diets focus on specific foods like grapefruit or cabbage diet. Others remove certain foods at particular period of the day. Some diets allow you to eat certain foods as long as you take them with particular other foods.

Typically fad diets offer quick weight loss.

Some of these fad diets may lack essential nutrients like dietary fiber and carbohydrates, some vitamins, minerals, and protective phytochemicals. By not having the right amounts of these nutrients, we may develop some health problems later in life.

For food groups that these fad diets promote, the amounts may be well above or well below the recommended by health organizations such as American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Surgeon General.

The usual claims of these diets blame certain hormones for weight gain and suggest that foods can transform the body chemistry. Or, sometimes they may promote or ban a specific food.

In the long run, all of these fad diets have one thing in common: they offer a temporary solution to what for most people is a all-time problem. But when the diet is discontinued, the lost weight is regained quickly. This is because most of these diet plans does not teach dieters how to change the way they eat.

We have reviewed some of the fad diets that you may be interested. The final word is yours, but we present you what basically these diets are, its pros and cons.

The Cabbage Soup Diet

Basically, Cabbage Diet is a low calorie diet for weight loss by cutting on daily calories.

This diet claims that it is not intended to be a long term diet, but the Cabbage Soup diet will help you lose weight fast. This is done by simply eating cabbage soup from a recipe that they offer. Generally, the soup consists of eating cabbage soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Cabbage Soup diet plans include nothing but cabbage soups all through the week, but with addition to some vegetables and fruits. During the first day of the diet, you may eat cabbage soup and a tomato, and on the next day, you will eat cabbage soup and a turnip. On the third day, you will be eating cabbage soup, tomato and turnip and so on.


  • You will be allowed to eat unlimited amounts of cabbage soup and certain veggies and fruit.
  • Offers fast weight loss
  • There is unlimited policy on cabbage soups that makes sure that you do not feel very hungry and lose weight fast. Some dieters claim that they lose 5 kgs in a week.
  • It contains antioxidants that help remove toxins from your body.
  • The diet is cheap and easy to prepare.


  • This type of diet can leave you exhausted and make you feel weaker than usual.
  • Offers dangerously low calories, so you will always feel hungry.
  • In many cases, this diet plan offers a temporary quick weight loss method.
  • Cabbage soups can lead to stomach cramps.
  • Cabbage soups are not delicious and may start to taste dull after several days.

The Grapefruit Diet

Grapefruit diet is a weight loss plan that mixes eating half of grapefruit at every meal, following a very restrictive low calorie meal plan.

This grapefruit diet is considered as Hollywood diet which lasts up to 12-18 days on the average. Grapefruits are known to have fat-burning enzymes. The diet plan suggests that you will eat ½ a grapefruit, alternatively drinking about 250 ml of grapefruit juice with certain particular dishes. Meals will usually involve 5 to 7 glasses of water and protein.


  • Grapefruit diet plan is easy to follow
  • A healthy food to eat, low on calories and known to have close to zero fat, and loaded with vitamin C.
  • Helps lower your risks of hypertension and diabetes.


  • Calorie intake is lowered to 800; this restriction is very low the recommended daily nutrition and dieters may feel so exhausted.
  • Rigid regime may cause stomach ache, headaches, and dizziness due to food deficiency.
  • Extra protein from this diet can cause some complications such as kidney stone problems.

The Master Cleanse

Master Cleanse Diet for weight loss plan.

Master Cleanse diet, also known as lemonade diet,  is a short-term diet for those who want to lose weight quickly. Some celebrities including Beyonce Knowles who lost more than 20 pounds as she prepares herself for her role in the movie Dreamgirls.

Master Cleanse is a liquid diet that involves drinking a gallon of saltwater and 6 to 12 glasses of lemonade concoction each day. The total daily intake should roughly be equivalent to the juice of 3 to 6 lemons daily, and ¾ to 1-½ cups of maple syrup everyday.

Aside from the lemonade drink, herbal laxative teas are also recommended as part of everyday regimen, while colonics and enemas are not generally recommended on the Master Cleanse diet.

The major focus of the Master Cleanse diet is a homemade lemonade with lemon juice, water, maple syrup, and some amount of cayenne pepper.


  • Makes you feel better once you avoid junks, alcohol, and cigarettes from your everyday habit.
  • Offers antioxidant properties that help detoxify your body.
  • Delicious and cheaper type of weight loss diet.
  • Results may be seen within 10 days.


  • Diet does not provide sufficient nutrition that the body needs.
  • Weight loss is not sustained over time.
  • Can induce fast muscle mass depletion and decrease energy levels.
  • May cause gallstones.
  • Your body may take time to adjust to the normal food after the completion of the diet.

The Zone Diet

Zone Diet for muscle and strength.

As part of the diet, carbohydrates offers low glycemic index, which means they give a slow release of sugar into the blood to make you feel fuller for longer. Protein should be lean. Fat should be mostly monounsaturated.

Dr. Barry Sears developed Zone diet more than 30 years ago. He claims that this diet helps reduce inflammation in the body. He explains that inflammation is the reason people gain weight, sick, and age quickly. Hence, once inflammation is reduced, the person will lose fat at the quickest rate possible and lower risk of chronic diseases.


  • This diet highlights on losing body fat and helps keep the body muscle tissue.
  • Easy to follow where all you need to do is to follow the diet formula for each meal: 30% protein, 30% fat, 40% carbohydrates.
  • Involves 5 times carb meal-a-day plan, hence it helps you to feel fuller longer.
  • Offers long term weight loss, thus it helps avoid getting the lost weight back again.
  • Helps lower digestive problems, acid reflux, gallstones, heartburn, and other health problems.


  • Take note that the recommended minimum amount of carbohydrates for adults is 45% or 130 grams each day. With Zone diet, carbohydrate intake is less than the required, hence the body fails to get enough amount of healthy fiber.
  • If you love carbs, you should avoid this diet.
  • Can have some adverse effects if instructions are not properly followed.
  • There is no direct scientific studies on the benefits of the Zone diet.

The Macrobiotic Diet

What is macrobiotic diet?

Macrobiotics is considered a lifestyle that focuses on balance and harmony. It involves a strict diet plan, easy exercises, and behavioral changes. It aims at achieving a natural and relaxing way of life.

Several people choose macrobiotic diet plans for better health, while some try it when they are diagnosed with some kind of diseases including heart problems, obesity, or premenstrual syndrome, hoping that this type of diet will calm their symptoms and help them recover from their health issues.

Macrobiotic eating habits focus on natural, organic foods. It promotes full removal of chemicals and artificial ingredients, including the use of personal hygiene and some home products.

The types of foods that are allowed differ slightly depending on the individual. Some factors define what you eat, including: existing health problems, age, gender, geographic location.

Although there is no scientific proof (yet) that supports the health claims associated with macrobiotic diets, many individuals reported improved health and greater well-being after following this diet.

How this Macrobiotic diet work?

This diet is low-fat and high-fiber where it promotes in choosing plant foods over animal products and processed foods.

The Ohsawa version of macrobiotic diet formulated a 10-progressively restrictive phases with final phase which involves only of brown rice and water. This dangerous approach is no longer recommended by most macrobiotic diet supporters.

Macrobiotic diet recommends eating whole grains, veggies, soup, beans, water and some teas, specific oils, condiments and seasonings. It does not support eating

  • Dairy products, poultry, eggs, and meat
  • Excessive intake of fish and seafood
  • Excessive intake of fruits
  • Excessive eating of nuts and seeds
  • Most sweeteners and sugars

This type of diet plan ideally eat only 2 or 3 times everyday and stop before you feel full. When you eat, slow and eat mindfully. This will prevent overeating. Chew each mouthful of food thoroughly which will help in digestion. Some experts suggest to chew 50 to 100 times for each mouthful. If that seems weird, begin with 20 to 30 times for every mouthful.

This diet is also recommended for those with heart diseases, diabetes, and at risk for breast cancer.


  • Focuses on healthy foods, as it does not promote junk food, soda, and other empty calories.
  • It promotes lots of vegetables – for each meal, even breakfast.
  • Choosing food that is locally produced and available within the season.
  • Promotes mindful eating.
  • May have health benefits


  • Very restrictive diet plan
  • Grain-focused diet; grains should have a plate in a diet but they are not that nutritious.
  • High-carb, low-protein, but low in fat, but you may find yourself a little hungry.
  • Time-consuming

Our final notes,

When choosing a healthy approach to lose weight, consult first with a licensed dietitian or your doctor who can recommend a realistic plan that is right for you. We believe that an ideal diet plan provides a long term solution and transforms lifestyle and habits.

Fad diets may give a promising weight loss result, they may not provide a long term results that can be sustained. In several cases, fad diets can be dangerous. Consult with your dietitian or doctor before starting any new diet plan.

images: WeightLossResources, HowCast, Women’s Health, Kushi Institue

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