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Fad Diets Fade for a Reason

baby food diet

Baby food is meant to be eaten by, you guessed it, babies! Credit: jencu

If “diet” is a four-letter word, then “fad diet” is a giant f-bomb dropped during formal dinner with your conservative boss. Which is why we love this guest post by Kelly Turner from DietsInReview.com. Read on for details on three fad diets that are fading away—with really good reason! —Jenn

Fad Diets Fade for a Reason

Fad diets have rightly earned their name: They explode in popularity with promises of quick weight-loss for little effort, and once no results are seen, the fad fades faster than high-waisted jeans. Some fad diets receive more press and die-hard followers than others, which can blur the line between gimmick and ground-breaking weight-loss science. Here are three fad diets, and despite their impressive following, the truth behind the claims.

HCG Diet

The Claim: HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is a hormone produced during pregnancy by the cells that form the placenta. HCG signals the hypothalamus, the area of the brain that affects metabolism, to burn fat stores. In pregnancy, this helps the body bring nutrients into the placenta, but the HCG diet uses daily HCG injections, in conjunction with a 500-calorie diet, to help you drop one to three pounds per day.

The Truth: Five hundred calories per day is not enough to fuel your body properly—it isn’t even enough calories to support normal brain function. Some think severe calorie restriction will burn fat, but in reality, your body will preserve your fat because it thinks you are starving (which you are) and will metabolize muscle proteins, which will not only compromise your strength and health, but also lower your resting metabolism, which is the opposite of what you want for weight-loss. Other negative side effects include headaches, mood swings, depression, blood clots, confusion and dizziness. Women also run the extra risk of developing a condition called Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), which causes pelvic and stomach pain, swelling of the hands and legs, weight gain, shortness of breath, diarrhea, and/or vomiting and nausea. And, I mean, come on—daily injections? No, thanks.

Baby Food Diet

The Claim: The Baby Food Diet entails eating, well, baby food for all or most of your meals. Baby food is easy on the digestive system and free of added fats, fillers and other additives. Eating tiny jars of pureed fruits and vegetables attracts dieters because it is pre-portioned and low-calorie.

The Truth: Why is this necessary? If you recognize the benefit of fruits and veggies, save yourself the embarrassment of slurping Gerber and just eat the foods whole. There is no scientific proof that getting your produce in pureed, smashed or strained form is better for your health or your waistline. If you have trouble keeping your calories low, forcing yourself to eat mushed peas that taste like, well, mushed peas, will have you reaching for a candy bar in no time. You are better off using a little personal accountability.

Apple Cider Vinegar Diet

The Claim: On the apple cider vinegar diet, you consume a few teaspoons of the tart liquid before each sensible, healthy meal. It is said that the acidity from the vinegar and the pectin found in apples can melt away the pounds.

The Truth: Just because something is said, doesn’t mean there is any truth to it. Pectin has been linked to lowering cholesterol, but there is still no scientific link to weight-loss. The vinegar for many, however, causes nausea, which can indeed deter you from overeating (or eating at all.) Long-term use has also been shown to cause bone loss and potassium deficiency, and all that vinegar can interact with medications. If you are following a healthy, sensible meal plan, skip the vinegar, and enjoy your food and your steady, healthy weight-loss.

There is a reason the sage weight-loss advice of getting plenty of exercise and eating a low-calorie diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats has lasted the test of time: because it works. Losing weight is about more than shedding the pounds quickly by any means necessary. If fad diets worked, everyone would be thin. The true path to lasting weight-loss takes a bit more work, but is worth it. Healthy weight-loss is about learning to treat your body with respect, which means fueling it in a way that promotes long, lasting health.

Kelly Turner is the senior producer at DietsInReview.com, which provides the tools and information needed to shape a healthier you.

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!


  1. Love this. You’ve got to be nice to your body and not deprive it of any nutrients so that it will treat you right!

  2. Ivori says:

    I have tried the Apple Cider Vinegar Diet … UGH ! What was I thinking ?!

    I was really shocked to read that Jennifer Aniston took on the Baby Food diet ; I thought she was against Fad Diets.

  3. Beth says:

    Been doing the HCG diet with great success, just hope there isn’t any bad side effects when completed … like a completely messed up metabolism.

  4. kat says:

    As a breast cancer survivor I would never inject hcg. But last August I asked my oncologist about homeopathic hcg drops she said all homeopathic medicines contain such miniscule amounts that the ingredients don;t show up under analysis. She also said that I needed to lose weight and I could try it if I wanted. I bought some (Body Reset brand) but took them with the idea that if I felt bad, spacey, speedy, miserable, grumpy, starving or odd in any way, I’d stop. The upshot: Seventeen pounds in 23 days. Another two on the 24th and 25th day (when I was not taking drops). The best bonus was that the weight lost was what I think of as matron weight– the extra that set in on my back, under by bra band, hips, tummy and front to back thickness, under my chin. I look like I lost more than I did because of were I lost it. My oncologist is thrilled, as is my GP.Even though I was only eating a puny 500 calories a day I felt fine, had energy, was clearheaded, happy, wasn’t hungry between meals. That was in August. I have been eating normally since then although a wee bit more fruit than before. The weight has stayed off. I went from a snug 8 to a comfortable 4. My mom, age 79, lost 12 pounds in 23 days, which is the recommended length of the diet. I know that people say that anyone would lose weight eating only 500 calories a day but I know I would have been a starving maniac without the drops. (The doctor who invented the hcg injection diet said that the hcg allows the body to release the reserve fat that is normally only released during pregnancy and then only when the mother is not getting enough calories to support the baby. Think of hcg as a back up support system). Unfortunately the FDA made the 7 companies (including Body Reset) stop selling the drops because 1. Hormones can;t be sold over the counter and 2. They could find no traces of hormones in the drops. Contradictory, I know. There are some sold online (for the usual $80-$120) but it’s a crap shoot. Body Reset is back with a new product but I have no idea if it works and I assume it doesn’t have hcg in it. Walmart sells synthetic hcg drops for around $20 but people who have tried them say they don’t work/ All this is not very helpful to those who want to try the drops but I felt like the logical criticism– not enough calories– caused people to dismiss it without trying it.

  5. I do the baby food diet, but instead of eating “baby food” I just cut up my regular food into tiny pieces…

  6. Steph says:

    Nice read! I think the key in a successful weight loss is to focus on one goal first and know what strategy works best for you. Thank you for sharing these facts about fad diets!

  7. Denmark says:

    I think people nowadays want to do diet plans more naturally.

  8. Lynn says:

    Good points, i think there is really no quick fix when it comes to losing weight. Staying healthy is a choice, and if you start to look at it as a behavior then it is attainable.

  9. Diet can have its pros and cons depending on how it is practiced. It also depends whether it’s legit. When a diet deprives the body of the proper nutrients it needs then it is not healthy at all. Exercise and a balanced diet is key to a healthy and fit lifestyle.

  10. Allan says:

    Before engaging on any type of diet, exercise extreme caution. Not everyone can handle the stress that comes with dieting. Seeing a doctor is also very important .

  11. It’s always better to go on a diet plan that is more convincing.

  12. I would personally suggest to eat healthy and do exercise regularly. I believe it has more effective results.

  13. Stella says:

    Just stick to exercise and proper diet. Don’t waste your time on diets that pop out. Sometimes it’s better to be on the safe side.

  14. Shane says:

    Exercise and proper diet is all you need. Fad diets are funny. Do your own research before jumping in.

  15. Alvin says:

    They simply don’t work. That’s all there is to it.

  16. Denmark says:

    Thank you so for sharing this informative tips.

  17. Pete says:

    Thank you for this great information. Eating the right amount of foods rich in amino acids can help you lose weight and build more protein in the body.

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