As we all know, and say it with me, there’s no such thing as a diet! Newsweek has taken the trouble to research and find the worst of the worst. Without further ado:
1. The Fat-Free Diet
The theory: Eat whatever you want as long as it has no fat. If your diet contains no fat, you won’t get fat.
Reality check: While it’s true that extra fat in your diet adds calories, just sticking to foods touted as fat free doesn’t necessarily help. Supermarket shelves are crammed with products advertised as fat free that are loaded with sugar and empty calories and that offer little in the way of fiber, vitamins or minerals. Check product labels before you buy.
2. The Snack-Pack Diet
The theory: Cookies and chips sorted into 100-calorie packs help limit the damage from an attack of the munchies.
Reality check: The dozens of 100-calorie snack pack foods on the market now may offer a lower-calorie alternative, but few of them are truly healthy choices, and they aren’t likely to be very filling or fiber rich, which can send you running for another bag or something less healthy.
3. The Couch-Potato Diet
The theory: Who needs exercise? You can lose weight without working out! Cutting back on calories is enough.
Reality check: Who needs exercise? You do. Studies have shown that dieters who change what they eat and increase their regular activity are more likely to lose and keep weight off. Increasing activity has other health benefits as well, such as lowering your risk of heart disease, the leading killer of women. Even a brisk 20- to 30-minute walk most days of the week can make a big difference.
4. The Detox Plan
The theory: You’ll lose weight when you clean out your insides by downing a concoction made from orange juice and molasses or some other bizarre mix.
Reality check: There’s no evidence that purging your intestines of “toxins” makes you any healthier or more likely to lose weight. A high-fiber diet is all you really need.
5 . The Beef and Bacon Diet
The theory: All protein, all the time, and don’t worry too much about fat.
Reality check: Cutting down on carbs, especially empty carbs like white flour and white rice, can help you lose weight, but a diet that contains large amounts of fatty meat simply isn’t healthy.
6. The Twinkie Diet
The theory: Calories are all that counts, so eat whatever you want, including nothing but Twinkies, and you will lose weight as long as your total is under your daily limit.
Reality check: Although calories do count, the source of those calories is important. If you eat only junk, your body will lose out on vital nutrients and that can have long-term consequences for your health. So watch those calories, and watch where they come from.
What’s the worst diet you’ve been on? The worst one I’ve been in is starvation.