3 Dangerous Fad Diets: HcG, Baby Food, Apple Cider Vinegar

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 fromDietsInReview.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 includeheadaches, 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.

Photo credit: jencu


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