Fad Diets: Do They Work?

It’s easy to get sucked into trendy claims of fast and easy weight loss. Some fad diets focus solely on curbing your appetite, while others may involve restricting calories, carbohydrates, or fat.

However, more often than not, such results remain short-term and are unsustainable in the long run.

It can be hard to know which diets actually work, or are worth trying since they all claim to be the superior choice. The truth is, no one diet works best for everyonewhat works for you may not work for someone else. Here’s the low down on three of the most popular fad diets.

Keto Diet

What it is: The Keto, or Ketogenic, Diet is a low-carbohydrate and high-fat eating plan that has undeniably skyrocketed in popularity the past few years. Its main aim is to limit your carbohydrate intake, cutting out food such as bread, potatoes, and sugary treats, forcing your body into a state of ketosis to use more fats as the main source of energy.

Does it work: While it claims to aid in reducing hunger levels and promote loss of water weight, these results seem to be attributed to an overall reduction of calorie intake instead of the diet itself. Furthermore, low-carbohydrate diets aren’t for everyone-—there are numerous risks that it may entail, such as nutrient deficiency and constipation. In some cases, this sudden switch-up may even result in severe mood swings.

Intermittent Fasting

What it is: Unlike most fad diets, Intermittent Fasting places emphasis on when you eat instead of what you eat. This may seem attractive as it only involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting. Most popularly, this entails restricting food intake to just 8 hours a day, while fasting for the next 16.


Does it work: Although it is possible to practice Intermittent Fasting safely, people with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, low body weight, or chronic illnesses should stay away from this fad. This could further cause gastric problems such as heartburn, bloating, and constipation. Research also shows that this lifestyle may not be as effective for women, negatively affecting their blood sugar level, menstrual cycle, and even fertility.

Mono Diet

What it is: There are several variations of this diet, all following the key principle that one has to consume just one food item or food group for several days or weeks at a time. Some of the most popular choices include eating just potatoes, apples, or eggs.

Does it work:
This is perhaps the most unsustainable and risky diet on the list, as it involves severe food restriction. Additionally, once a normal diet is resumed, rapid weight gain is almost guaranteed. It also increases your risk of nutritional deficiencies, slowing your metabolism rate, and may lead to muscle loss especially if you’re following the diet for prolonged periods of time.

Ultimately, there is no perfect diet. The best weight loss plan is simply one that entails a balanced diet and exercise, allowing you to enjoy a variety of foods in moderation.