Top 10 Ridiculous Fad Diets


When many people think of diets, the first thing they think of is losing weight. While that is often true, not all diets are solely about taking off pounds. A diet is really just the way that someone tends to eat on a regular basis, when and what foods they eat and how much. Some diets are undertaken for moral reasons, such as is the case with people who sustain from eating delicious, succulent cuts of meat that make your mouth water. Others believe that their strange diet will make them healthier, even if they aren’t concerned about losing weight at all. Of course some diets are mostly about losing weight, and those are usually the strangest.

10. The cookie diet.

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The cookie diet sounds really stupid when you first hear about it, because it doesn’t seem like you are going to have much of a chance to lose weight eating confections. However, the diet plan is actually supposed to be quite good at causing you to lose weight. The idea is that you eat several specially formulated cookies throughout the day to control hunger and keep your caloric intake small and then have one mid size meal. While it does help people lose weight, the problem is that it does so by keeping people on a caloric restriction of around 1,000 to 1,200 which isn’t exactly enough for a human to get by on in a healthy manner. Many people supplement the lack of proper nutrition with multivitamins, due to not getting the right nutrition on the lower caloric plans.

9. The ramen diet.

This one is popular among college students mainly because it is easy and cheap and many young people eat far too much of it. Unfortunately ramen has pretty much no nutritional value, unless you count an incredible amount of sodium, reaching as much as 3,000mg in some flavor packets of ramen. To make matters even worse, ramen noodles are really high in fat, especially saturated fat. While some people suggest leaving out the seasoning packet and mixing ramen noodles with something healthier, the noodles themselves still contain an incredible amount of sodium. Really people would find more bang for their buck just buying a dollar box of actual pasta instead.

8. Raw food.

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One of the crazier diet fads that seems to enjoy a resurgence on a semi-regular basis and has a strong steady following is the raw food diet. This diet isn’t really focused on losing weight at all, and isn’t particularly a moral choice either. The raw food diet is usually undertaken by people who have become convinced that eating food in its raw, natural, unprocessed state is the best for you. However, this makes their diets extremely limited, focused mostly on fruits and vegetables with certain select kinds of raw fish, meat and dairy products as well. The main problem with this diet isn’t necessarily nutrition but that you will be spending an incredible amount of time in the kitchen preparing everything, as the diet is highly specialized.

7. The Atkins diet.

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The Atkins diet is too famous to leave off this list, and is probably the most controversial item here. While some people still defend it, it is not nearly as popular as it was during the height of its fad popularity. In fact, while the Atkins diet may not be as popular as it once was, many people still embrace a low carb diet. The problem the Atkins diet was looking to solve was the fact that most carbohydrates people were eating were mostly white flour and white sugar, not very good for you. However, the Atkins diet eliminates enough carbohydrates in your diet that it can actually be bad for you. A better approach that some people go for is to use some of the ideas in the Atkins diet, but still eat carbohydrates, just stick to good ones made entirely from whole grains.

6. TV dinner diet.

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Another popular diet plan is the TV dinner diet; many people buy them by the cartful because they are quick and relatively cheap. More importantly to those watching their weight however, is that the TV dinners make portion control a lot easier and make calorie counting simple. The problem with these dinners is mainly that the sodium content is usually astronomical. Much of the time you’ll be lucky to find one that has a sodium count per serving that is less than a 1,000mg and oftentimes it will be much higher than that. Unfortunately, it looks like these frozen meals aren’t a very healthy choice.

5. Nothing but liquids.

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All liquid diets are occasionally prescribed for medical reasons; however, it is usually for a very short period of time. Of course some people saw the potential for weight loss and a new diet plan was born. While some companies will peddle various products for a liquid diet that helps you lose weight, the main problem is that it is a yo-yo diet. Specifically this means you may lose a lot of weight while you are on it, but will find it hard to not put the weight right back on after you stop.  Worse yet many people who try to follow such a diet plan over an extended period of time develop health problems; it is not good for you long term.

4. Fruitarianism.

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Fruitarianism is perhaps the strangest and most restrictive diet plan in the world. Vegans themselves are considered to be pretty extreme, taking their diet beyond just the table and into other aspects of their lives as well. However, fruitarianism is so extreme that even vegetables are not allowed. The idea being that unless something can be removed from a plant without doing harm to the plant, they will not eat it. Some are so extreme that they won’t even eat seeds or anything that might be able to create another plant. But if you thought that was extreme, some will ensure they only eat fruit that fell from a tree and will refuse it if it was picked by hand. The diet makes it very difficult to get proper nutrition and would be very difficult for most people to maintain.

3. Dairy diet.

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Some recent studies have supposedly pointed toward large amounts of dairy in a diet being great for weight loss; however, the studies are quite misleading. Essentially the studies found that those in their dairy group lost more weight, but those in the dairy group were getting the nutrients from taking calcium supplements, not from actually eating dairy products. To make matters even more absurd, the study was supported by the National Dairy Council, which is like Coke supporting a study saying that soda is good for you. The truth is dairy products have some useful nutrients but should be consumed in moderation like all foods, as certain forms of dairy products in large amounts can have negative effects. For instance, large amounts of cheese are not particularly great for your cholesterol.

2. Chocolate cake diet.

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This one isn’t exactly a fad diet; however, with this recent research it’s probably not long until a company markets their own special cake diet plan to fit this new idea. Essentially new research found that those who eat a confection such as chocolate cake with well balanced breakfast actually lose a pretty good amount of weight. The idea behind it is that eating the sugary confection in the morning helps speed up the metabolism, and makes you less likely to crave the sweets later in the day. And because you ate the confectionary early in the day, you don’t really have to worry about gaining weight from it, your body should have it all digested well before the day is over. Perhaps this one is a decent idea, and it would be as simple as pairing a small confection with a balanced breakfast in the morning.

1. Baby food diet.

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One of the most bizarre fad diets is the baby food diet, many point to a fitness trainer named Tracy Anderson as the originator, although she has denied it recently, the diet also does not have an official set of rules. However, supposedly some in Hollywood have cottoned on to the idea and made it into a fad. Usually the diet involves replacing a couple of your meals with baby food and keeping your third meal low in calories. The other variation involves eating normal meals but eating baby food instead of snacks that might otherwise be high in calories through the day. Nutrition experts have pointed out that baby food is actually meant for babies, and won’t necessarily have the right nutrients for a grown adult. They also feel that with the wildly varying calorie content in baby food, and the fact that the taste and texture will likely never satisfy an adult, that they can’t see anyone keeping up with the diet for more than a few days.

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  1. So a diet that has been around more than 40 years and has resulted in more weight loss and better improvements in heart disease risk factors when compared to other diets in virtually every study is a fad diet????

    • I assume you’re speaking of the Atkins Diet as it’s one of the longest lived fad diets on this list.

      Yes, it’s a fad but it has times of resurgence in popularity. Most recently people saw it as a cure for diabetes. I had one friend go from Type 2 diabetes to Type 1 because his body wasn’t getting the carbs it needed and his pancreas freaked out.

      Fad diets aren’t always ‘here then gone’ types… they are diets that fail to truly take health into account and always adopt ‘quick and easy weight loss’ as their mantra. Atkins, South Beach, and all those on this list in addition to numerous others will always have staunch followers (HCG a few years ago?) because people always want something for nothing.

      So yes, a diet that has been around for more than 40 years and resulted in weight loss can absolutely be a Fad Diet due to the idiocy that it inspires.

  2. Breatharians believe that one can live only on air and sunlight. It never became much of a fad as its strongest adherents kept dying.

  3. I think I vaguely rememeber the story of a guy back in the 1970’s of a guy that lived off of dog food — yuck!!