We’re all guilty of overindulging every now and then, and with the holiday season underway, you may already be thinking about how to shed those extra pounds come the new year. Whatever you do, though, don’t embrace the following celebrity diets that the British Dietetic Association has rated the top five worst fad diets of the year.
1. The Breatharian Diet
Michelle Pfeifer is said to be a proponent of the Breatharian Diet. But what is it, I hear you ask? Believers in the Breatharian Diet contend that they don’t need food or water. Oh no, they say you can survive on little more than air and sunshine.
To be sure, you will lose weight on this dangerous diet — with no calories going in you’ll burn through fat and muscle tissue at a quick pace. Several people have also lost their lives as a result of the extreme stress put on their bodies. Adherents can look forward to early warning signs like higher blood pressure and little energy and then, in the long term, fainting, kidney damage and possible organ failure.
2. The Biotype or Adam and Eve Diet
A number of celebrities have offered praise for the different versions of the Biotype Diet and it’s supposed ability to spot-reduce fat.
While there are several variations, Biotype Diets tend to claim that there are six different body types that correspond to different glands in the body. The Biotype Diet says people must eat foods that specifically address the hormone balance of their own bodies, and in doing so can reduce fat in certain regions of the body. The Biotype Diet also advocates an exercise program and using supplements to ensure the body is supplied with a full range of nutrients.
While it is true that hormones do play a significant part in keeping a healthy weight, and of course that exercise will help to keep people healthy, the Biotype Diet appears to be based on several assumptions about a link between our diets and the body’s hormone balance that have not been proved. Any weight loss that users may experience while using this diet is likely the result of cutting out certain foods.
3. The Gluten Free Diet
The inclusion of the Gluten Free Diet might be a little controversial, but there’s an important reason it appears on this list.
Celebrity proponents of this diet are said to include Gwyneth Paltrow, but the diet has been given wider acceptance with many food stores and supermarkets carrying a diverse stock of gluten free products.
Gluten is a protein that can be found in wheat, barley, rye and oats. The Gluten Free Diet contends that cutting out these foods, or having gluten free options, can help people be healthier and lose weight.
Cutting out gluten is of course a priority for those with celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity and no one would dispute that the Gluten Free Diet has obvious benefits for sufferers of these conditions.
However, for the vast majority of people who do not have these conditions, there is no conclusive evidence that a gluten free diet carries significant benefits. Why, then, do people who use gluten free diets lose weight? Cutting out products that contain gluten –such as breads and cakes — are calorie dense and, as such, cutting them out can help reduce overall calorie intake and lead to weight loss. That’s not an advantage of the Gluten Free Diet, however, and is a result that can be achieved by simply cutting down on sugary and fatty foods.
4. The Alcorexia Diet
This diet is said to be a favorite for high fashion models. It involves cutting your daily calorie intake by just under half through the week to supposedly save up calories for the weekend — but not to eat. Rather, those “saved up” calories are used to binge drink.
Needless to say, you can’t save up calories. Also the dangers of binge drinking are well established including alcohol poisoning, neurological disease, and cardiovascular disease, among others.
5. The Dukan Diet
The Dukan Diet is a restrictive and quite complex diet that involves cutting out particular food groups (namely carbohydrates) while going through a number of dietary “phases” that emphasize heavy protein consumption. While the diet has gained a great deal of popularity, with celebrity enthusiasts including Jennifer Lopez, critics have slammed the diet as having little scientific basis and creating health problems. In particular, cutting carbohydrates, while indeed leading to weight loss, can serve up a lack of energy, dehydration and potential digestive problems. Some studies have even suggested that sustained low carb diets may increase early mortality rates. On the other hand, there is strong evidence that users of the Dukan Diet find it difficult to keep the weight off in the long term.
So, if this festive season leaves you battling the bulge, please don’t fall to temptation and embrace fad diets like those above. Just staying clear will mean you’re ahead of the curve when it comes to ensuring your new year will be health and happy.