Losing weight is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions in America; however, over 80% of people end up not keeping their resolution and for good reason. Starting out, many look to fad diets and find out the hard way that they either don’t work or are difficult to stick with long term. Above all this, some fad diets are also downright dangerous and can cause real harm to those who try and use them. If you’re looking to begin 2020 with a healthier diet and a slimmer waist, there are some fads that you should pass on.
The Keto Diet
Starting off with possibly the most well know fad diet, the keto diet has many drawbacks and in some people, it can be dangerous. Requiring adherents to receive 75% of their daily calories from fats and only 5% from carbohydrates, this diet can be difficult to cook for and created disordered eating patterns. In some dieters, the keto diet has the potential to cause deficiencies in nutrients, low blood pressure, kidney stones, constipation, and the increased risk of heart disease over time. For those looking to lose weight and have problems with their liver, thyroid, pancreas, or gallbladder, the keto diet is considered unsafe and should be avoided. Overall, while the keto diet can cause a person to lose weight, the results are usually limited at the risk of more severe side effects. Even though it’s popular, this is one diet that needs to be fazed out in 2020.
The Five Bite Diet
This fad diet was created in California by internist Alwin Lewis, MD, and requires dieters to follow some strict and unhealthy guidelines. In the five bite diet, breakfast is skipped and only five bites are taken from both lunch and dinner meals. While these small portions might seem like they promote weight loss, eating only 10 bites of food each day is not healthy for anyone of any weight. Aside from depriving your body of much-needed nutrients, the daily struggle with hunger makes it impractical for any type of prolonged use. The only thing this diet will promote is a lack of energy and loss of muscle. Additionally, since there are no restrictions on what you can eat sweets and highly processed foods become easy targets. While Americans on average eat burgers 4.3 times every month — a bit over one every week — this diet can encourage the consumption of these fatty foods and set adherents up for failure when the ultimately can’t keep up with the incredibly small portions. Relying on these sugar-packed foods can also put your dental health at risk, even if you adhere to the recommendation of brushing your teeth twice a day.
Juice cleansing is another popular diet fad that many people swear by. However, the weight loss that can come from juicing is actually caused by dehydration and colon cleansing. This makes it not only unsustainable but unsafe for long term use. If you allow yourself to become too dehydrated, weakness, headaches, dizziness, and fainting can occur, in addition to an increase in cravings and hunger. Although dizziness is the second most common complaint heard in doctor’s offices and will happen to 70% of Americans at some point in their lives, you shouldn’t subject yourself to it for a fad diet. Furthermore, while flushing your colon might seem healthy, it actually disrupts the natural bacterial colonization that is needed for healthy digestion. If these bacteria are thrown out of balance, you could end up facing digestive problems that not only cause discomfort but take time to realign. While many swear by this fad, it’s one that needs to be checked going into the new decade.
The Master Cleanse
This fad diet is something that absolutely needs to go away in 2020. Requiring dieters to survive off of a liquid-only diet for 10 days, it claims to promote weight loss and clear the body of “toxins”. During the 10 days, dieters can drink herbal laxative tea, a lemonade type drink, and a salt-water beverage. Not only is living off of these for 10 days straight going to make adherents feel like they’re starving, but it can also create irritability, fatigue, and the weakening of muscles and inability for the body to fight inflammation and infection. Furthermore, the use of laxatives means frequent bathroom trips that can cause dehydration and the breakdown of skin where the sun doesn’t shine. While some believe the process is worth it to shed a couple of pounds, once you start eating properly again the weight is likely to return leading to another unhealthy cycle of improper fasting.
These are just four of the most dangerous fad diets on the market today, and while some people do see results, for most of us these are impractical if not hazardous to our health. If weight loss is your goal in 2020 look at changing your diet in a healthy way while adding moderate exercise into the mix. If possible, work with a dietician or your doctor to better understand how foods impact you specifically. This can allow you to create a customized meal plan that works for your unique situation and body type.
Above all, know that food doesn’t have to be your enemy. With nearly one in four Americans choosing to have at least one piece of candy a week, sometimes it’s better to treat yourself in healthy moderation than to start an unhealthy diet that will only create frustration and self-doubt.