Most dieters have one goal in mind. That is to lose weight in the shortest amount of time.
So it's no wonder "fad diets" are really popular.
Fad diets are diets that promise quick weight loss and other added benefits like detox.
Most often, they are targeted towards those who want to lose weight fast without exercise.
Some claims that they make you lose weight quickly, while others claim to help detox.
But sadly, most have no supporting evidence of their use and claims.
They are usually nutritionally inadequate and ineffective in the long run.
But there are a few fad diets that work and produce weight loss results.
What’s more, these diets can be healthy, well-balanced and sustainable.
Here are popular 10 "fad diets" that actually work.
1. Carb Cycle Diet
Carb cycling is a dieting approach where you cycle between high-carb and low-carb days.
This can be done on either a weekly or monthly basis.
The goal is to time carb intake to when it brings the maximum benefits and curve it when it's not needed.
On the carb days, you can eat carbs like rice, quinoa, potatoes, and even bread just as long as you add in intense workouts.
On off, carb-days lay off starchy and sugary carbs and opt-in vegetables, fats, and protein. These will also be your off gym days.
Carb cycling typically is used to burn fat, improve physical performance and overcome a weight loss plateau.
2. The Military Diet
The military diet is a low-calorie 3-day meal plan that can help you lose 10 pounds in a week without exercise.
How it works is pretty simple.
Follow their pre-set low-calorie meal plan for 3 days and eat your way for the next 4 days.
Their 3-day meal plan comes with breakfast, lunch, and dinner with no snacks between meals. While each day's total calories is set under 1,500 calories, items on the menu are as random as hot dogs and ice creams.
3. The Paleo Diet
The paleo diet takes dieting back to the ancient hunter-gatherer Paleolithic days. It limits food choices to only the foods that the cavemen hunted or gathered.
This includes meat, seafood, and vegetables, fruits, and nuts.
Foods like dairy, grains, and legumes are off-limits on the Paleo.
Because of the diet's strict restrictions on food groups, critics call it a fad diet. Despite the strictness, the Paleo diet is completely healthy and nutritionally balanced. It encourages whole, unprocessed manmade foods.
4. The Keto Diet
The keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet that limits carbs intake to 5-10% of daily total calorie intake. By depleting the carbs, the body's primary energy, this diet creates a state of ketosis, where fat is used as fuel. This persistent use of stored fat as energy leads to drastic weight loss and extreme fat burn.
The keto diet has been called a fad diet because it limits the intake of one food group: cabs.
But the diet is pretty healthy and effective for losing weight quickly.
Plus there are many studies backing the keto diet's claims and effectiveness.
5. The 5:2 Diet
The 5:2 diet, also called the fast diet, is a type of intermittent fasting known as alternate-day fasting.
The diet is split into two phases: 5 days of eating and 2 days of fasting. By restricting your calories to 500-600 a day during the fast, you can lose a substantial amount of weight.
Due to this extreme calorie reduction during the fast days, the 5:2 diet can be seen as a fad diet, but it's really not.
There are countless health benefits to a short-term fasting supported by research. It helps from fat burning, weight loss to brain functions.
6. The Dash Diet
DASH short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.
It's an eating plan based on foods low in sodium, and rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Eating nutrient-rich foods help lower blood pressure.
The Dash diet was first developed to treat hypertension or high blood pressure. The idea came when researchers found hypertension was rare in those on a plant-based diet.
On the Dash diet, you'll be eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Added sugars, fat, and red meat are off-limits.
Since the diet restricts a certain group of foods, Dash's been called fad when it's really not.
By limiting a group of foods that may raise blood pressure, the Dash diet helps to balance many areas of health.
It has shown to aid weight loss, prevent heart diseases and cancer, and improve general health.
7. Atkins Diet
The Atkins diet is one of the most popular low-carb diets around. It's one of the longest-running diets, created by Dr. Robert Atkins in the early 1970s.
It's popular for one reason - fast weight loss without hunger.
The Atkins is split into 4 stages, each given a specific level of carb tolerance.
The first stage is the extreme-low carb phase where daily carb intake is mere 20g. Instead, you'll be eating protein and fat all you wish.
This puts the body into a state of ketosis, where fat instead of carbs and glucose is used for energy. Which evidently leads to increased fat burn and weight loss.
As you advance, carb allowance goes up in increments of 5g. By adding carbs in bits, you find your own carb tolerance level and adjust your eating for your weight loss goal.
For its carb restriction, there is an element of "fad" diet. But time and time again, research has proven its benefit for the long-term weight loss.
8. The Dukan Diet
Looking at the initial stages of the Dukan Diet, it’s easy to see why it is often classified as a fad diet.
Like the Atkins, the Dukan diet comes in 4 stages.
But unlike the Atkins, what you eat most is protein. So much so that the first stage is almost entirely of lean-protein foods.
The rationale behind the high-protein diet is that it boosts metabolism. A diet high in protein is also known to reduce appetite, which can lead to rapid weight loss.
As you move up in phases, you add other foods to your diet. By the time you reach the last phase, all foods are added. Though protein-rich foods and vegetables are still the preferred choices.
With the rigid dieting rules, it's one diet that consistently succeeded in weight loss. In one study, female Dukan dieters lost on average 33 lbs over 10 weeks.
9. The Zone Diet
Compared to other trendsetting diets, the Zone diet is only famous in the close dieting niche.
Created by Dr. Barry Sears in the mid-1990s, the Zone diet is known for its balanced macro ratio.
On the Zone diet, your meal consists of 30% lean protein, 30% healthy fat and 40% high-fiber carbs. By keeping this ratio, the diet claims to produce weight loss and overall health.
It's also shown to reduce inflammation, prevent insulin resistance, and reduce blood sugar.
In one 6-week study, those on the Zone diet lost more weight than those on the low-fat diet.
10. Vegan Diet
Vegan diets have become very popular amongst people looking to lose weight.
It's one diet both sides love to debate and disagree.
On one end, supporters emphasize the nutritional values of plant-based foods. While the other argues its unbalanced and extreme way of eating.
But most importantly, a vegan diet can be as healthy or unhealthy as you want it to be. In essence, it's all about food choices. Eating mounts of meatless processed foods won't lead to weight loss or better health.
Yet, picking nutrient-packed, healthy plant-based foods can benefit your health and weight loss.
This is well documented in many studies. With healthy vegan choices, you can reduce certain risk factors for chronic diseases. It can also lose far more weight than those on low-fat diets.
The key is to include all macros: protein, fats, and carbs available from plant sources.
Take Home Message
Fad diets continue to be popular trends, and new diets will always be created to meet the desire of people who want to lose weight fast.
Though most fad diets tend to be unhealthy and don’t have any evidence supporting their claims, there are few that have been proven legitimate.
We summed up 10 of those that really live up to their claims and actually support a healthy life.
But be noted that just because a diet works for weight loss in the short-term, it doesn’t mean it’s sustainable or effective in the long term.
For permanent weight loss, it’s always best to adopt a healthy lifestyle that support supports the healthy weight and clean eating.