The New Year is right around the corner! And following the holiday gorging, everyone’s belt is a little too tight if you know what I mean. Come January 1st 2013, the grocery stores will be packed with shoppers buying lean protein, quinoa, and kale, and at local gyms it will be tough to nab a parking spot in until—oh—February 1st 2013.
So regardless of if your New Year’s resolution includes shedding a lot or a few extra pounds, that doesn’t mean you need to buy into every fad diet that so-called svelte stars and fitness gurus throw your way.
Beware of the 10 worst get-thin-quick diet trends of 2012…
1. Master Cleanse
In southern California, star-studded dieters like Beyonce “cleanse” the pounds away by drinking a concoction of squeezed lemons, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper several times a day for 10 days. Not only is this fad diet only see you taking in 650–1,300 calories a day (dangerously low); it’s void of essential nutrients like protein, calcium, iron, and zinc.
Next Page: Paleo Diet
2. Paleo Diet
The hugely popular Caveman Diet is based on the theory that our bodies are optimized for eating the foods our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate—so a combination of fruits, vegetables, and meat. The trouble is we are so far removed from our hunter-gatherer ancestors that this diet is unsustainable, not to mention it’s extremely high in saturated fat and cuts out healthy whole grains, dairy, and legumes, which deliver several nutritional needs.
3. Alkaline Diet
This diet eradicates meat, poultry, cheese, fish, eggs, and grains from the table. Why? Because it upholds that when digested these foods create an acidic substance called acidic ash and turn the entire body acidic and open to cancer. And even though a diet rich in fruits and veggies is good for the waistline, it can cause low blood sugar and essential fatty acid, protein, and calcium deficiencies.
4. Low Carb
Here’s a basic fact that any respected nutritionist or doctor will stand behind: your body needs carbohydrates. So don’t listen to supporters of the Atkins or Dukan Diet, these protein-rich diets are only good for short-term weight loss. And remember, if you cut carbs (your primary source of energy) your body is forced to resort to ketones (involved in the breakdown of fat) and you may end up with chronic bad breath, dry mouth, weakness, dizziness, insomnia, calcium loss, and nausea.
5. Raw Diet
An extreme vegan diet, the Raw Food Diet maintains that non-plant foods are unhealthy and that plants are the most nutritious when eaten in their uncooked form. But just because plant-heavy diets can aid in weight loss and lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and premature death, this plant-based diet lacks sources of protein, calcium, and vitamin D, which are all essential factors for optimal health.
6. HCG Diet
That this popular diet was made popular by the Jersey Shore isn’t enough to disturb you, it involves taking serum drops or injections of human chorionic gondatropin (or HCG) to speed up our metabolism and encourage weight loss. This diet has also not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for over-the-counter use. Plus, the idea of limiting your caloric intake to 500 and 800 to lose weight is ridiculous when this extreme calorie cutting actually slows your metabolism down so the body can preserve energy.
7. Baby Food Diet
If pureed peas and carrots don’t do it for you then the Baby Food Diet, or aka: eating baby food as a meal replacement, won’t tickle your fancy. Plus, there’s reason why baby food is meant for babies—and adults require vitamins and nutrients from fiber, healthy fats, and protein that is lacking in baby food.
8. The KEN Diet
The Ketogenic Enteral Nutrition (KEN) Diet, better known as the “feeding tube diet,” puts dieters on a 10 day cycles of consuming nothing more than a liquid nutritional formula administered to the stomach via a feeding tube. Dieters are permitted to unhook themselves for one hour a day to drink water, tea, coffee (with no milk, sugar or sweeteners) or plain herbal tea.
9. The Israeli Army Diet
Meant as a diet for new military recruits, the Israeli Army Diet barks order at participants to eat a single type of food, and only that food, over a two-day period, for 8 days. For instance, for the first 2 days you might eat just salad, for the next 2 perhaps apples, for the next 2 perhaps fish, and for the last 2 maybe rice. The idea behind this diet is that you’d get so sick of eating salad, apples, fish, and rice over a 24 hour period that you’d cease eating altogether. Doesn’t sound very healthy, does it?
10. The Blue Diet
The Blue Diet, popularized in Japan, plays on our visual senses. It’s built on the assumption that if food looks bad (or blue in this case); you won’t want to eat it. Participants wear blue-tinted sunglasses, which makes food appear blue (or unnatural) and causes us to pass on whatever is on our plates.