Every day it seems a new diet is ready to make weight loss faster and easier than ever before. Or at least they say they are. “Most fad diets go something like this: Take a few foods, give them ‘magic’ power, and set a plan to convince people that eating this way and only this way will promote weight loss,” says Alexandra Caspero, RD, a nutritionist based in Sacramento, Calif. The following diets might spur short-term weight loss, but many are difficult to follow, have arbitrary rules, and a few could put your health in danger.
The Raw Food Diet
Why? Raw foodies say cooking destroys nutrients. Though it’s true that cooking produce can sometimes reduce nutrient levels, cooked veggies still pack plenty of fiber, vitamins and minerals, and in some instances cooking actually enhances nutrients while also killing bacteria.
The alkaline diet — also known as the alkaline ash diet and the alkaline acid diet — requires you cut out meat, dairy, sweets, caffeine, alcohol, artificial and processed foods and consume more fresh fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds. The diet certainly has positive points; it’s heavy on fresh produce and other healthy, satisfying foods while eliminating processed fare, which in itself may spur weight loss
The Blood Type Diet
the Blood Type Diet is based on the notion that the foods you eat react chemically with your blood type. For example, on the diet, those with type O blood are to eat lean meats, vegetables and fruits, and avoid wheat and dairy. Meanwhile, type A dieters go vegetarian, and those with type B blood are supposed to avoid chicken, corn, wheat, tomatoes, peanuts and sesame seeds.
The Werewolf Diet
Its quick-fix version involves a day of fasting allowing only water and juice during a full or new moon — and supposedly losing up to six pounds in water weight in a single day. The extended version starts with that daylong fast and continues with specific eating plans for each phase of the moon.
Dr. Siegal’s Cookie Diet, The Hollywood Cookie Diet and the Smart for Life Cookie Diet all promise that eating cookies will help you drop pounds. Of course, you don’t get to chow down chocolate-chip cookies — you eat about 500 to 600 calories a day from high-protein and high-fiber weight-loss cookies (one cookie company even makes the cookies from egg and milk protein) for breakfast, lunch and any snacks.
The Five-Bite Diet
Eat whatever you want — but only five bites of it. On this diet, developed by obesity doctor Alwin Lewis, M.D., you skip breakfast and eat only five bites of food for lunch and five more for dinner. “I’m OK with the idea of eating whatever you want in smaller portions, but you need to round out the rest of your eating with nutrient-dense foods to give your body the fuel it needs,” Caspero says. “On this diet, even if you take giant bites of heavily caloric food, you’re still barely consuming 900 to 1,000 calories a day.”
The Master Cleanse/Lemonade Diet
Pretty much all involve subsisting for days on only lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper mixed in water. “You are essentially just drinking diuretics,” Ochner says. “You’ll shed mostly water weight.”
The Cabbage Soup Diet
In the short term, it does yield weight loss. “It works because you are eating a low-calorie diet full of fiber and water to help aid in fullness,” Caspero says. “But it’s just a quick fix diet.