5 Fad Diets to Avoid in 2013

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You'll want to be able to do this after the holidays but these fad diets won't get you there, at least not safely or for long.

With the holidays coming to a close it's time to step up to the scale and assess the damage. If the numbers on the scale are much larger than you remember it's possible that a diet may be in order. But don't panic! Rushing into a fad diet is at best not along term solution and at worst might actually leave you worse off.

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Before we run into the list let's take a moment to talk about the easiest way to spot a diet that it is dumb and that you should avoid: It sounds too good to be true. Fad diets are like those online ads that promise to dramatically improve your life if you just, "Do one simple thing!" Hopefully you don't click on internet spam, so use those same skills to spare yourself the embarrassment of being screwed over by a fad diet. We would also note that branded diets with tie-in foods are probably out to separate you from your wallet rather than you from your fat.

Gluten-Free Diet
The Sell:
Having trouble losing weight? Tired? Stressed out? Stomach problems including diarrhea or constipation? You have a gluten intolerance and everything in your life will be immediately improved if you switch to a gluten-free lifestyle.
The Burn:
Gluten-intolerance is indeed a medical condition caused by celiac disease that affects many people to varying degrees. The problem with a "gluten diet" as an actual weight loss/life improvement strategy is that the only person who should be informing you that you have a gluten-intolerance is a doctor, not your friend who once heard about it or you spending two hours reading WebMD and sagely deciding that you totally have this disease and that's why you're always tired and sometimes have digestive problems. If you do have a gluten-intolerance or sensitivity, switching to a gluten free diet will definitely provide you relief from symptoms. But again, the only person who can help you figure that out is a trained health care provider. Beyond that there's no reason to think that a healthy person without a gluten-intolerance will suddenly have an improved life because they've taken the medical advice of someone who does have a gluten-intolerance.

Dukan Diet
The Sell:
Aren't European people always so skinny? It must be because they have a special diet regime! Thankfully, this French doctor has revealed the secrets of Continental good health and will share them with you if you buy this book and follow his four step process. It's so amazing because you can lose weight even though you're eating as much as you want! I heard Kate Middleton used it to get ready for her wedding!
The Burn:
This diet largely boils down to switching you to a high lean protein diet similar to the Atkins diet and then drastically cutting your calorie intakes for a course of rapid weight loss. If all you're eating is chicken breasts and unlimited snow peas it's fairly easy to lose a lot of weight. The major problem with this diet is pretty straightforward: Starving yourself by heavily restricting the calories you eat, whether by switching to foods with less calories or simply not eating as much, will make you lose weight. The problem is that they're largely unsustainable for anyone who doesn't want to subsist on grilled chicken breasts and salad for the rest of their days. Beyond that any diet that promises or promotes rapid weight loss runs some pretty well known health risks.

Alkaline Diet
The Sell:
Feel sick? Have trouble concentrating? Losing weight? It's because your bodily fluids are too acidic! That's because you're eating meats and diary products which "acidify" your blood and that's what's making you sick and fat! If you just drank and ate more greens, which we conveniently sell in easy to use mixes, you can reverse this process. You can drink away your fat!
The Burn:
This is just straight bunk pushed by people trying to sell you magic pills and drinks. The basic premise, that certain foods make your body more or less acidic or alkaline and that varying your internal chemistry by avoiding certain faoods can cure you of your fat or even cancer, has virtually zero supporting evidence from reputable sources. Many of these diets claim that you can test the acid/alkaline balance of your urine as a means of monitoring your progress. Without getting heavily into the physiology of why the whole diet plan is dumb, let's focus on why these home monitoring kits are a waste of time.
Your body is a finely tuned machine, it requires very specific levels of acidity and alkalinity to continue to function properly. As a result it's very good at getting rid of anything that would try to alter that delicate balance. One of the favored methods of eliminating unwanted substances is by filtering your blood through your kidneys which remove all unwanted things and dump them into your urine. So if you eat a bunch of acidic foods, so much that it starts to upset the balance inside your body, the chemicals that are causing that rise will get yanked out of circulation by your kidneys and dumped into your urine. This basic mechanism makes the home urine testing kits "work" because the person pushing it can create a self-fulling prophecy.


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