Fad diets gain support from followers result in weight loss – initially. Experts say that if the weight comes right back, it does little good to lose weight.
WebMD spoke with diets experts who identified 5 types of diets that don’t really work for most people:
Diets that focus on only a few foods or food groups
Experts warn against diets that cut out entire food groups. According to ADA spokeswoman Andrea Giancoli, MPH, RD., people need to eat from different food groups to get al the nutrients they need.
David Katz, MD, of Yale University and author of the The Flavor Point Diet, says that restrictive diets do work initially, but fail in the long run. You can lose weight on diets that focus on one type of food, but before long you grow tired of eating the same food everyday, and your cravings for other foods – especially your favorite foods – take you back to your former eating habits. All foods can fit into healthy lifestyle – even thing desserts and fatty foods – as long you consume them in moderation.
Experts say that extreme regimens that require going through procedures like liver flushes, body cleanses, colonics, and injections are "highly suspect."
According to Pamela Peeke, MD, chief medical correspondent for the Discovery Health channel, "All the flushes and cleanses are pure nonsense, unnecessary, and there is no scientific basis for these recommendations. Your body is well equipped with organs, such as the liver and kidneys, and the immune system, to rid itself of potential toxins and does an excellent job of cleansing itself without needing flushes or cleanses."
Diets with "miracle" ingredients
People who want to lose weight fast are always on the look out for that pill or food that will help them lose weight. Unfortunately, there are no foods or ingredients that can do that. "No one single food or group of foods eaten together or at a certain time of day has any impact on weight loss," notes May.
Fasting and very-low calorie diets
Fasting has long been a religious and cultural tradition. Fasting for a day or so is okay, but doing it to lose weight is "counterproductive," says Giancoli.
"When you … consume too few calories, your body thinks it is starving and adjusts the metabolism," she explains. "But when you go back to eating normally, your metabolism doesn’t readjust and therefore you need fewer calories than before — otherwise known as the yo-yo syndrome."
Also, when you lose weight through fasting, it is usually a combination of fat, fluid, and muscle. But, the pounds you regain will most likely be all fat. As for very-low calorie diets that promise losses of half a pound or more per week? Blatner says they are unrealistic. Depending on how much weight you have to lose, you may lose some water weight initially, but in time, weight losses will average out to a about 1 pound per week.
Experts say that diets that sound to good to be true, claim to have a secret, make dramatic statements against reputable health authorities, or make recommendations that go against those scientific organizations "are suspect."