Food & Diet

4 Diets That Just Don’t Work

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Many diets out there promise you quick weight loss without much effort. There are hundreds of diets online as well as in magazines, but how can you know which will really result in successful weight loss and which will only torture you and cause you to lose nothing but your time and energy?

Some diets will actually help you lose weight fast, but as soon as you stop dieting you’ll gain back every pound, or even more. There isn’t a magical skinny pill which will make you slim without being on a diet; there isn’t any magical food that will make you lose weight – not unless your diet is balanced.

Dawn Jackson-Blatner, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association says that the only right way to lose weight effectively is to eat fewer calories than you burn throughout the day. However, although you will lose weight on “crazy, unbalanced diets”, as Blatner calls them, they will not be effective in the long run, as they will leave you frustrated and cause you to binge on foods you weren’t allowed to eat during the program.

Here are the 4 types of diets that just don’t work, at least not in the long-term, and the experts’ explanations why.

1. Detox Diets

Diets which focus on cleansing your body such as Master Cleanse, the Hallelujah Diet, the Martha’s Vineyard Diet Detox, etc. are too extreme and according to experts, they are not very efficient when it comes to weight loss. Moreover, such diets recommend liver flushes, body cleanses and some even suggest taking hormone injections.

According to Pamela Peeke, MD, from the Discovery Health channel, your body has liver and kidneys as well as the immune system for the purpose of cleansing the body and flushing out toxins out of the organism. She adds that flushes and cleanses don’t have any scientific data to back up their efficiency and health benefits.


According to the Mayo Clinic, there is little evidence that detox diets eliminate toxins from the body, and colon cleansing, which is usually a part of a detox diet, causes cramping, bloating, dehydration and nausea. The clinic doesn’t suggest detox diets, but if you choose to undergo one, it should only be seen as a jump-start to making healthier lifestyle choices from that point on.

2. Diets That Focus Only On One Food Group

Among those diets there are the Cabbage Soup Diet, Raw Food Diet, Grapefruit Diet, etc. Any diet which doesn’t allow the consumption of a certain food group sets you off balance, as you need to eat several food groups in order to take in all the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy, according to Andrea Giancoli, MPH, RD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

Although diets that are as restrictive as the mentioned ones and those which focus on single foods or only a group of foods do work at first and do cause you to lose weight at first, they will frustrate you and you will soon get bored of eating the same foods day in and day out.

Once you are sick of eating the same things all the time, you are very likely to return to your old unhealthy habits which initially caused the weight gain, as David Katz, MD, from Yale University explains.

3. Miracle Food/Supplement Diets

Dieters are always looking for a supplement which will help them lose weight more quickly. Diets based on taking apple cider vinegar, fructose water, green tea or supplements will not help you lose weight unless the rest of your diet is balanced.  One single food or supplement can’t have an impact on weight loss, as Michelle May (author of Am I Hungry? What to Do When Diets Don’t Work) suggests.

Blatner further encourages dieters to stay away from expensive supplements and get all the nutrients out of food.

4. Diets That Require You To Eat Too Little Calories

Such diets are the Skinny Vegan Diet and the Hollywood Diet. Eating very small portions and taking in a very small number of calories can cause you to lose some weight in the first couple of days, but not in the long run, as Andrea Giancoli, MPH, RD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association explains.

The reason why these diets don’t actually work, even though you consume fewer calories than you take in, is because your body thinks it’s starving and it then adjusts its metabolism so you’d need fewer calories, but it doesn’t adjust it back when you start eating normally again, which commonly results in weight gain.

To make things worse, in the process of losing weight you’ll be losing fat and fluids, while when you start gaining weight, it will mostly be fat, as Giancoli explains.