Crash diets have always had a huge appeal to people who are looking to drop pounds and drop them quickly. Unfortunately, they are not always the ideal way to go when you're working on a long-term weight-loss goal, but we can't deny they provide substantial results.
While this might seem like a good way to kick-start your health and fitness efforts, often these diets can cause more problems in the long run. With so many crash diet fads out there it's important to understand what the pros and cons of each are to avoid causing physical harm to your body. We all agree that staying in shape and maintaining a healthy weight is important to keeping your body healthy, but is it safe to lose weight as quickly as some of these diets promise?
5 Crash Diets to Avoid
1. The Hollywood Diet focuses on rapid weight loss through the detoxification of the body. A specially formulated shake, consisting of anti-oxidants, fruits, and other substances known to accelerate weight loss and detoxify is drunk exclusively by the dieter for 24 or 48 hours and can result in a 5 lb. or 10 lb. weight loss during this time frame.
The Pros: Rapid weight loss and a digestive cleanse while ensuring what you are consuming is healthy and nutrient rich are major draws to this crash diet. This diet also claims to treat other issues like skin problems, headaches and body odor, to name a few.
The Cons: Dieters often report feeling hungry during this diet, which could result in binge eating or snacking on unhealthy foods to satisfy this hunger. Upset stomach and diarrhea are also side effects of this diet and can be experienced in different degrees depending on the dieter. According to the developers, this system is designed to remove the toxins in the form of a fluid, not a solid. To avoid dehydration during this diet it is very important to drink lots of water; experts of the diet recommend consuming 8 glasses of water a day. If these symptoms seem excessive discontinue use and consult a physician if necessary.
2. The Cabbage Soup Diet has been around for decades and is a fad that limits your daily calorie intake forcing your body to burn stored fat. The 7-day, low-fat, low-calorie plan must be followed exactly in order to see results. The majority of this plan involves a low-fat cabbage soup that is eaten several times a day. Each day you're allowed to mix in a few other specific foods, for example, on Day 4 you are allowed up to 8 bananas and as much skim milk as you would like. If done correctly, dieters can expect to lose up to 10 lbs.
The Pros: Results are seen almost immediately and no supplements are needed, although almost all the sources recommend including a multivitamin of your choosing. Although your food is restricted there is more variety than others, which may mean you're less likely to get bored. Some dieters claim that after completing this crash diet that they no longer crave sweets or heavy carbohydrates.
The Cons: While low in fat and calories, this diet is high in sodium. Dieters often experience bloating, loss of concentration, low energy levels and dizziness. It's typical to experience severe hunger on this diet which makes it hard to stay on track. By consuming over 1000 calories under the daily recommendation you are depriving your body of important nutrients. Also, most of the weight loss is water weight which you are likely to gain back once the 7-day plan is over.
3. The Water Fast takes calorie intake out of the equation all together. The dieter discontinues the consumption of anything but water, 2.2 - 3 liters a day! If no calories are consumed the body will burn fat and you will lose weight, period.
The Pros: Drinking lots of water gives a false sense of fullness. Your kidneys will be working hard to process all this water through your system so it's likely they will be flushing out lots of toxins as well. After 2-3 days your body will enter a state of full ketosis, which means your body will stop burning carbohydrates and start burning fat. At this point you will lose any hunger pangs you may be experiencing. It's also free and extremely easy to do, on paper.
The Cons: It's extremely unhealthy and dangerous. Fasting can lead to dizziness and loss of energy/concentration at the very least. Your body needs nutrients from healthy food to function properly so this diet cannot and should not be attempted for long periods of times. This fast will also cause your metabolism to slow resulting in immediate weight gain once the diet is discontinued, maybe even more than was lost.
4. The Juice Fast substitutes all meals for fresh squeezed juices. It is considered a cleanse and does not restrict your body's needed calorie intake. A 2-3 day fast is often recommended as a good start for beginners, and many people advise you not to exceed 7 days. You'll need to invest in a juicer and make time for juicing in your daily schedule, but this can be fun and create some great tasting, nutritious concoctions. An 80% vegetable, 20% fruit ratio is suggested as well as condensed green powder supplement, if you are going to try this for more than 7 days. Weight loss results vary depending on the individual and how active of a lifestyle they maintain.
The Pros: As with all crash diets you will see fast results. You will also detox your body, flushing out your system with juice. The 9-12 cup a day juice fast claims to keep your calories up and prevent you from feeling hungry during this period.
The Cons: The number one con is that it can be very expensive. And, by "juice" we mean fresh squeezed juice, not juices by the carton that contain sugars or are from concentrate. The cost of a juicer, if you don't already own one and the produce needed to juice can really add up in cost. The high sugar levels of this diet can be dangerous, especially to people that already experience related health issues. Low protein levels can prevent the body from the needed building material for tissues and can have a negative effect on your hair and skin. The fruits and vegetables you are juicing are also considered healthier if they are consumed whole. By juicing you lose important nutrients and anti-oxidants found in the skin and also the fibrous pulp.
5. The 7-Day All You Can Eat Diet is an extreme diet change that allows you to eat as much as you want but restricts you from a variety of different food choices. The diet limits you to vegetables, fruits, meats and milk eliminating the bottom level of the food pyramid all together. To increase your metabolism 8-10 glasses of water a day is also required and some people recommend a multivitamin. This diet is rich in fiber and claims to also cleanse your body of toxins. Over a 7 day period dieters can expect to lose between 5-11 lbs.
The Pros: You'll suppress your hunger with this diet plan and although the limited list of what you're allowed to consume may seem like eating will be boring this mentality can be used to your advantage. By being bored with your food choices you will be eating to fill up instead of for enjoyment. Helping yourself to that extra portion because "it tastes so good" will likely not happen. Your limitations are not that specific, however, so you can get creative with what your eating. For example, one version of the plan says on Saturday you can eat 12 ounces of meat and unlimited green vegetables. It's up to you to decide what these meats and green veggies will be and how they will be prepared. This high fiber diet will also cleanse the colon and intestines on the way out.
The Cons: This restrictive diet can be too much of a change for some and too monotonous for others especially over 7 days. It's easier to stick with a diet if you see it as a healthy lifestyle change that you can incorporate in your eating habits. Also, depending on your current diet the degree of change may cause an upset stomach, sickness, loss of energy and dizziness. It would be best to start the 7 days on a weekend when you have no obligations just in case you experience any of these negative symptoms.
Tips for a Healthier, Happier You
It's no secret that the ideal way to stay in shape is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Stay active and eat a healthy, well balanced diet while limiting your consumption of sweets. You may not see immediate results but in the long term your body will lose weight, gain muscle mass and you will feel more energized.
If you do choose to try a crash diet it's important to make sure you have no underlying health problems before beginning and consult a physician if you began to experience any unusual health issues. Taking a multi-vitamin daily and being conscious of what you are consuming can help ensure your body is not being deprived of important nutrients. As always, with dieting, use your best judgement and remember if it sounds to good to be true it probably is.