From Atkins to low-fat to paleo, there’s always some sort of fad diet making waves. To the millions of Americans wanting to drop pounds and get healthier, these rigid, eat-this-not-that plans often seem like the hot ticket to a better body. But they usually backfire. Sometimes it’s because they are bogus to begin with — even if doctors at one time backed them. Other times it’s because trendy diets get misconstrued, followed for the wrong reasons, or taken too far — or they’re simply just too strict to keep up.
“In general, most fad diets have a trace of truth to them,” says Heather Mangieri, a registered dietitian in Pittsburgh and an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson. “They stem from some rationale, but the problem is people cherry-pick what to follow. They like that the diet doesn’t include X, Y, or Z food. But they fail to, for example, eat enough vegetables and fruits to get the vitamins and minerals they’re missing from the foods they cut out.”
Even guys who do drop a lot of weight on a fad diet are probably giving that diet too much credit. “You’ll hear about people who go on one of these diets and have all this success,” Mangieri says. “But oftentimes, these are people who used to eat cookies and candy all day long. Their results stem mostly from eliminating all the extra junk, rather than this particular eating plan being so magical.”
Here’s a look at six diets that all hold a grain (or gluten-free alternative) of good advice in them, but are either taken too far, not followed properly, or holding on to ideas that just aren’t backed by science.
For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!