The Truth About Fad Diets: What You Need to Know

Measuring tape and Weight loss
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• Fad diets are defined as diets that promise rapid weight loss and other health benefits without evidence to support the claims.

• Examples of fad diets include the Cabbage Soup Diet, Baby Food Diet, HCG Diet, and Grapefruit Diet.

• Potential effects of following a fad diet include tooth loss, dehydration, and malnutrition.

• It is important to speak to a doctor before embarking on any fad diet and ensure that you are eating a balanced diet for the best health outcomes.

• Fad diets can be dangerous and should be avoided in favor of more sustainable options.​

Fad diets have been around since the dawn of dieting culture. From the “grapefruit diet” of the 1930s to today’s popular “keto diet,” fad diets promise quick weight loss and easy shortcuts to a perfect body. But what are fad diets really about, and should you trust them? Let’s dive in and explore the truth behind these trendy diets.

What is a Fad Diet?

A fad diet claims rapid weight loss or other health advantages such as long-term cures for serious diseases but provides no scientific evidence to support such claims. Fad diets may eliminate whole food groups, restrict certain foods, or encourage followers to adopt an overly restrictive eating plan that can be difficult to maintain over time.

Examples of Fad Diets Throughout the Years

There have been various fad diets throughout the years. Here are some of the famous.

Cabbage soup with brocolli

The Cabbage Soup Diet

This diet requires that you eat nothing but cabbage soup for seven days, along with other low-calorie foods such as skinless chicken breast and fruit. It’s incredibly restrictive and unsustainable—meaning it won’t work in the long run—and it can lead to unpleasant side effects like bad breath and digestive issues. Plus, due to its lack of essential vitamins and minerals, nutritionists advise against this diet.

The Baby Food Diet

The Baby Food Diet is exactly what it sounds like—eating only baby food throughout the day instead of your regular meals. Proponents say that this diet helps you avoid unhealthy cravings because baby food is lower in calories than regular meals, however, nutritionists warn that eating only baby food can lead to deficiencies in nutrients like Vitamin B12 and iron, which are both important for a healthy lifestyle.

The HCG Diet

HCG stands for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, a hormone secreted by pregnant women’s placentas. This hormone was combined with an ultra-low calorie diet (500-800 calories per day) by British doctor A.T W Simeons back in 1954.

However, research has shown that the HCG hormone does not affect weight loss when combined with a calorie-restricted diet plan. Not only is this diet ineffective at helping people lose weight, but it can also be dangerous due to its restrictive nature and lack of essential nutrients needed for good health.

Grapefruit drink

The Grapefruit Diet

This popular diet requires that you eat half a grapefruit before each meal as well as consume other low-calorie foods such as eggs or tuna fish throughout the day; proponents say that this helps boost metabolism resulting in weight loss.

Unfortunately, studies have shown that eating grapefruit does not boost metabolism or help people lose weight more effectively than any other healthy eating plan would do on its own without the inclusion of grapefruit. This makes it an unnecessary element of any weight loss program — so skip the grapefruit if you’re looking to shed those extra pounds!

Effects of Fad Diets on Your Body

Fad diets can have drastic effects on your body. Here are some of the most common effects:

Tooth Loss

Some fad diets can cause you to lose your teeth due to lacking minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients. This can lead to oral diseases in the future. It’s important that you replace any lost teeth with robust dental implants to ensure that bacteria build-up won’t happen in your mouth. Furthermore, quit the diet immediately and obtain professional help.


Many fad diets require you to drastically reduce your caloric intake, which can lead to dehydration. When you’re dehydrated, it’s harder for your body to function properly, making it more likely for you to feel dizzy or faint. It’s important that you drink enough fluids throughout the day to prevent dehydration.


Fad diets can also cause malnutrition due to the extreme restriction of certain food groups and nutrients. Malnutrition can lead to serious health problems such as anemia, weakened bones, heart problems, and a weakened immune system — all of which could be life-threatening if left untreated.

Regarding fad diets, it’s best to proceed with caution. Not only can they be ineffective at helping you lose weight but they can also have dangerous side effects on your body. It’s important that you consult a doctor before trying any new diet in order to reduce the risks of health complications and ensure that you’re eating a balanced diet that can help you reach your goals in a safe and healthy way.

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