Top Weight Loss Diets to Avoid: A Guide

weight loss diets to avoid

It’s safe to say that dieting has become something of a national pastime. In fact, research shows that more of us than ever are on a diet to lose weight, with around 17% of Americans trying to manage their meals. Look anywhere online, from local news sites to the social media posts of A-list celebrities, and you’ll find countless fad diets growing in popularity.

If you’re hoping to lose weight—and keep it off—you might feel tempted to try one of these trending diets. After all, what could go wrong?

However, as you start your weight loss journey, knowing the top weight loss diets to avoid is crucial. Before you dive into the latest trending weight loss regimens, let’s take a look at a few diets to steer clear of.

HCG Diet

The HCG diet has been around since 1954, when British physician A.T.W Simeons published his book Pounds and Inches: A New Approach to Obesity.

Having studied HCG, a hormone that occurs naturally in humans, Simeons decided that people might be able to use it for extreme weight loss. Though the modern version of the diet has undergone several changes, it doesn’t stray far from the original idea: severe calorie restriction to shed weight.

[sc_fs_multi_faq headline-0=”h2″ question-0=”What is the HCG Diet?” answer-0=”This diet requires daily injections of human chorionic gonadotropin, or HCG, for a period that ranges from a few weeks to a few months. Proponents of the diet say that HCG curbs the appetite and allows dieters to get by on very little food. In fact, the classic version of the HCG diet involves a dangerous caloric restriction of just 500 calories per day.” image-0=”” headline-1=”h2″ question-1=”What Do You Eat on the HCG Diet?” answer-1=”The answer to this one is easy: very little! Dieters must eat things like certain types of fruits, low-starch vegetables, and lean meats. On the other hand, this diet requires the avoidance of foods like starchy vegetables, fatty foods, and added sugars. ” image-1=”” headline-2=”h2″ question-2=”Why Should You Avoid the HCG Diet?” answer-2=”If the dangers of extreme caloric restriction don’t scare you, the fact that HCG is not approved without a prescription should. In fact, the FDA warns against trying this diet for weight loss in any capacity. Furthermore, there’s one more thing that makes this one of the worst weight loss diets to avoid: you’ll be performing your own injections without medical support—which can be risky.” image-2=”” html=”true” css_class=””]

Cleanse Diets

The idea of “cleansing” the body of unhealthy foods or toxins isn’t a new one: we’ve been trying to clean ourselves with everything from traditional medicines to leeches since ancient times. In more recent history, cleansing has grown in popularity thanks to the 1941 “Master Cleanse,” which paved the way for the low-calorie, liquid-based diets that followed. Today, you might even hear of cleanses going by another name—”detox diets”—but don’t be fooled!

[sc_fs_multi_faq headline-0=”h2″ question-0=”What Is a Cleanse Diet?” answer-0=”There are many different types of cleanse diets these days, from the original Lemonade Diet to Dr. Oz’s Summer Cleanse to the Green Juice diet. All of these cleanses work in the same way: they promote quick weight loss while encouraging dieters to consume more fruits and vegetables. ” image-0=”” headline-1=”h2″ question-1=”What Do You Eat on a Cleanse Diet?” answer-1=”We’re using the word “eat” loosely here, because many cleanses only allow you to drink your food. Cleanses often encourage dieters to blend their own smoothies from whole ingredients like vegetables, fruits, milk and eggs, and sometimes powdered diet supplements. Some diets allow dieters to eat foods as well, though most restrict these foods to “clean” fruits, vegetables, and lean meats.” image-1=”” headline-2=”h2″ question-2=”Why Should You Avoid Cleanse Diets?” answer-2=”First off, there’s little scientific evidence supporting the idea that a short-term diet can cleanse the body of “toxins” (which is a vague and nonspecific term). In addition, most cleanses involve severe caloric restriction in addition to the elimination of several nutrient-rich food groups. Worse, dieters hoping for weight loss often find themselves regaining the weight once they’re allowed to eat whatever they want again.” image-2=”” html=”true” css_class=””]

Whole30 Diet

This popular elimination fad diet first caught on in 2015, with the release of Melissa Hartwig Urban and Dallas Hartwig’s book The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom. By the next year, there were millions of Instagram posts with the #Whole30 hashtag, prompting a quick spike in popularity for this trending book—with many dieters still reaching for it today.

[sc_fs_multi_faq headline-0=”h2″ question-0=”What Is the Whole30 Diet?” answer-0=”The “30” in the name “Whole30” refers to its premise: a month-long elimination diet that supposedly helps dieters get back into healthy eating. According to the trend, many common foods in modern Western diets include too many sugars, alcohols, and additives, and removing them completely for a short period is the only way to allow the body to heal and repair itself.” image-0=”” headline-1=”h2″ question-1=”What Do You Eat on the Whole30 Diet?” answer-1=”Under the Whole30 regimen, dieters spend a month eating whole, unprocessed foods like meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, and healthy fats. The goal is to eat foods with pronounceable ingredients—which are less likely to be processed. However, dieters must avoid grains, legumes, dairy products, sugars, and certain oils.” image-1=”” headline-2=”h2″ question-2=”Why Should You Avoid the Whole30 Diet?” answer-2=”Any diet that aims to be short-term and unsustainable is a bad idea. In addition, short-term elimination diets that aim to promote weight loss can actually make cravings worse, making you more likely to overindulge after the month is up. Moreover, restricting healthy foods like legumes and whole grains is unwise.” image-2=”” html=”true” css_class=””]

Meal Replacement Programs

For dieters who balk at the idea of substituting all their meals with juice or liquids, meal replacement programs might seem tempting. These programs have been around for years, both as part of a structured weight loss program and as an easy one-off purchase from a grocery.

[sc_fs_multi_faq headline-0=”h2″ question-0=”What Are Meal Replacement Programs?” answer-0=”As the name suggests, a meal replacement program involves replacing one or more meals per day with a specific product. Depending on the program, there are plenty of different options when it comes to the meal replacement, from shakes to snack bars to small microwaveable meals. Thanks to the popularity of subscription boxes, there are even meal replacement programs with small, low-calorie meals that get delivered to the dieter’s door!” image-0=”” headline-1=”h2″ question-1=”What Do You Eat With a Meal Replacement Program?” answer-1=”The answer to this varies from program to program. However, most meal replacements involve a high-protein product that has between 200 and 300 calories per serving. Often, meal replacement programs require a dieter to restrict calories during all meals, not just the one they’re replacing with a product.” image-1=”” headline-2=”h2″ question-2=”Why Should You Avoid Meal Replacement Programs?” answer-2=”If you’re hoping for a long-term solution to a healthy diet, this one isn’t the right choice. Eating a meal replacement product instead of a meal isn’t sustainable for months and years to come, and the caloric restriction involved in these programs will hurt more than it helps.” image-2=”” count=”3″ html=”true” css_class=””]

Know the Top Weight Loss Diets to Avoid

At the end of the day, knowing the top weight loss diets to avoid is essential if you want a healthy weight loss journey. Severe caloric restrictions, shady products, and short-term elimination diets can be dangerous, and they also put you at risk of gaining the weight back—and more—once you’re done.

Instead, it’s important to focus on weight loss solutions that set you up for long-term success. While they may not be as glamorous as the latest fad diet, sustainable eating plans are the only proven method of helping you lose weight in a healthy way!

Want to jump into a diet that’s sustainable, healthy, and tailored for your needs? Schedule a consultation with Blue Sky MD to learn better ways to lose weight and eat right.

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