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It’s a fact that when it comes to weight loss, everyone wishes it could be achieved effortlessly and as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this is fiction. There is no magic diet pill and long term results require a balanced nutrition and hard work. However, there are hundreds of diets out there promising to help you get rid of excess weight quickly and efficiently but how can you tell what’s healthy and risk free? In this week’s article read about some of the most extreme diets and why you should avoid them despite their tempting promises!

Blood Type Diet

According to this diet, which was founded on the principles of a naturopathic physician, the blood type is the most important factor in determining a healthy lifestyle and there should be distinct eating plans for each type. For example, people with blood type A should increase consumption of vegetables and exclude red meat, and those with blood type B are the only group who can thrive on dairy products. However, such claims are completely unfounded, with no research behind them and therefore this diet seems rather pointless.

4-Hour Body Diet

Quoting the inventor of this diet, Timothy Ferriss, “Just stay up all night and eat.” The diet consists of eliminating carbohydrates (white bread, rice, pasta, cereal, potatoes and even whole grains and oats) and consuming the same four meals (legumes, meat and vegetables) for six straight days. In addition, drinking two glasses of red wine every day is advised to burn fat. On the seventh day, dieters are encouraged to binge-eat as much as they’d like, in order to stop their metabolic rate slowing down due to the extended calorific restriction of the previous days. Apart from being extreme, this diet cannot have long term benefits as variety in your daily nutrition is essential to achieve weight loss without compromising on important nutrients. Eliminating completely any food group is not advised as there will be consequences. What’s more, in case you were wondering, the fat burning properties of red wine are just a myth.

Hollywood Diet

This insane diet was created by a self-proclaimed ‘diet counsellor to the stars’ and claims that its followers can lose up to 10 pounds in two days. The Hollywood “Miracle” Diet consists of drinking a juice product as a complete meal replacement for either 24 or 48 hours. During this short period, eating or drinking anything else is forbidden. First of all, any meal replacement diet is not considered healthy as you replace foods with an artificial product. Moreover, taking away the pleasure of preparing and eating a healthy, tasty and filling meal using actual foods is surely more fulfilling that repeatedly consuming the same drink.

Tapeworm Diet

No doubt that this is the most insane and disgusting diet I have ever come across. The main idea is introducing a tapeworm into the body which makes its way through its host’s digestive system and, as a result, all consumed food will be split between human and worm. There is even reason to believe that tapeworm pills were marketed in the U.S. in the early 20th century. Of course, ingesting a tapeworm is essentially infecting oneself with a foreign living organism. The worm can even deviate into other parts of the body such as the brain, with potentially deadly results.

Cabbage Soup Diet

Weeklong consumption of cabbage soup promises the loss of up to 10 pounds. The soup includes a variety of vegetables such as onions, carrots, mushrooms and tomatoes. This radical diet promotes eating various quantities of fruits and vegetables in addition to the soup, and allows beef in the later days. However, most of the weight lost is water and therefore not permanent. Additionally, this diet lacks in protein, is very bland and will leave you feeling hungry and miserable!

Baby Food Diet

It comes as no surprise that Hollywood is the place this weird new diet started. It involves replacing some meals with up to 14 jars of baby food which is well known for its vitamin content, pureness and lack of additives. Furthermore, the portions are small enough to control cravings and avoid overeating. All there is to say about this diet is that there is a reason why it is called baby food!

Five-Bite Diet

This diet is rather self explanatory: Take only five bites of a meal at any one time, regardless of its content. The idea is that individuals’ bodies will readjust and feel full much quicker after a few days. This is nothing more than an extreme calorific restriction which may lead to a short lived weight loss, however, there is danger of binge eating and regaining the pounds that were lost or even more!

Grapefruit Diet

According to rumours when grapefruit is eaten with a form of protein it triggers a fat-burning process and therefore results in weight loss. So, the idea is to start each meal with half a grapefruit, increase protein intake and drink plenty of water and black coffee. Such a drastic reduction in your intake of calories may help you lose a few pounds, however, any weight lost will pile straight back on once you return to your normal diet. It may also have unpleasant side effects such as dizziness and an upset stomach, so it is not recommended.

Chemical Diet

This diet consists of consuming lean meat, eggs and vegetables and water, with no fat and only tiny amounts of carbohydrates. Apparently the combination of foods is supposed to interact chemically to burn fat. This diet may be a quick fix for that upcoming wedding or holiday but an extreme diet plan like this is not nutritionally balanced and does not contain enough calories for a healthy lifestyle. Again there is no magical chemical reaction that burns all the excess fat; it’s extreme restriction of calories that causes the short lived weight loss.

Macrobiotic Diet

The main emphasis of the macrobiotic diet is whole grains are supposed to make up 60% of all meals and the rest should be made up of mostly raw vegetables. Inevitably, the list of what you can’t eat is longer than the list of what you can eat. Meat, dairy products, eggs, sugar, poultry products are forbidden which is not only dangerous for your health as it can cause malnutrition and deficiencies but is also a very boring and plain diet.

Russian Air Force Diet

This is another extremely strict diet which has become very popular in Hollywood. It’s essentially a low-carb diet and the daily plan would consist of one black coffee and piece of toast for breakfast, two eggs and a tomato for lunch, red meat and a green salad for dinner. No snacking allowed. One of the side effects of this diet, apart from hunger and total misery, is very low energy levels, so any kind of exercise would be impossible.

Mono Diet

This is a diet based on the use of a single product. There are a wide variety of mono diets and the most common are based on apple, carrots, watermelon, and rice. It’s followers usually stay on the mono diet optimally no more than 3 consecutive days, in extreme cases – 5-6 days and they consume nothing else apart from their one and only chosen food. In other words, they have fasting days with extreme calorie restriction. Long term adherence to such a diet has serious health risks as the body is deprived of the essential nutrients it needs to function. Another disadvantage of the mono diet is that as soon as you stop it, the weight quickly returns to its original level or even higher as you go back to the usual diet.

In conclusion, a healthy body requires a healthy lifestyle, hard work, motivation and the right attitude towards food. No shortcuts, no miracle diets. Keep in mind that your body is a complicated machine and there is science behind every single process.

By Kleio Bathrellou
Associate Nutritionist & Certified Sports Nutritionist

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