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Fad diets are everywhere. If you’ve been on the internet lately, chances are you’ve been targeted with a “hot new ab-building” diet with some wacky ratio of carbs to fats. Many of the modern diet trends in America defy logic – such as the all-egg diet.

Unfortunately, many fad diets lack scientific backing, as there have not been enough research studies on the effects and the risk-to-reward ratio. In addition to being ineffective, some fad diets can be dangerous when taken to the extreme or practiced over long periods. Here’s why.

Calorie Deficit: The Hallmark of a Fad Diet

Many fad diets, most notably the “juicing” regiments that are meant to “detoxify” and “shed the fat” actually operate on what simple principle that has nothing to do with the foods or drinks you consume during the diet itself: you are likely running a significant calorie deficit. Think of the cayenne pepper and lemon water diet. The reason this works in successfully eliminating excess weight (temporarily) is that you are eliminating nearly all the calories from your diet. When you are not taking in enough carbohydrates (which are broken down into blood sugar in the body) to power your caloric consumption throughout the day, your body will transition to fat as an alternative fuel source through a process called “ketosis”. When done correctly, ketosis can actually be a good long-term strategy for weight loss, but a well-planned ketogenic diet is not a “fad” diet because there is a focus on whole foods and there is legitimate medical literature that supports its effectiveness.

Unfortunately, even after a successful “binge” diet where nearly all calories are given up, most people return to their normal dietary habits and regain all the weight they had lost, leaving them at square one. 97% of fat dieters gain back all the weight they lost during the process – meaning all that sacrifice was for nothing.

What Does a Good Diet Actually Look Like?

So, we know that fad diets don’t work. What diets do work? We could start with a few basics:

    • Focus on whole foods.
    • Avoid processed foods
    • Maintain your metabolism by exercising regularly
    • Get plenty of sleep to keep your body’s fat-burning processes churning