Have you ever come across a diet that promises rapid, short-term weight loss? 

Most likely, it’s a fad diet that you should avoid. 

Losing weight doesn’t happen overnight, and if a product or diet is promising it will, it’ll probably end up doing more harm than good. 


Sometimes it can be hard to tell if you are in the face of a fad diet or not.

Most commonly, a fad diet will promote rapid weight loss, be short-term, exclude certain food groups, have no scientific backing, restrict the number of calories you can consume, and come with a strict set of rules.

Take a look at these fad diets you should avoid, plus get tips for what to do instead.

  1. HCG diet
  2. Cabbage soup diet
  3. Baby food diet
  4. Juice cleanses

1. HCG diet

The HCG diet is widely considered to be an extremely unhealthy approach to weight loss.

woman standing on scale

It was created in the 1950s when British physician Albert Simeons started to promote the diet for weight loss. 

It mainly comes with two requirements. The first is that you can only eat 500 calories each day. 

The second component to this diet is the human chorionic gonadotropin supplement taken daily. This medication is mainly used to treat fertility issues, according to Mayo Clinic.

The Food and Drug Administration does not classify HCG supplements as safe for weight loss.


Medical News Today reports that HCG supplements can cause mood changes, fluid buildup in bodily tissues, enlarged breasts in males, and blood clots.

A low-calorie diet also comes with a slew of side effects like malnutrition, low mood, an irregular heartbeat and gallstones, according to the source.

2. Cabbage soup diet

As the name implies, the diet mainly consists of cabbage soup.

This diet consists of eating cabbage soup for seven days with one to two other low-calorie foods daily.

Obese woman

This diet is, for one, not sustainable, but it also lacks nutrients from major food groups. 

Since it’s such a short-term diet, there probably won’t be any significant weight loss in the time period.


This diet lacks many nutrients vital to overall health. Its restrictive nature, and the short time in which it’s followed, cause people to regain the weight they lost once the week is up.

3. Baby food diet

The baby food diet, like many fads, has roots in Hollywood.

This diet has people reaching for the baby food in their cupboards and eating multiple jars for two meals a day.

While baby food contains enough nutrients for a young child, it does not have enough for a full-grown adult. Continuing this diet for a prolonged time can lead to nutrient deficiencies, according to Verywell Fit.

A jar of baby food

Additionally, after consuming even multiple jars of food for a meal, you’ll probably still find yourself feeling hungry since it’s so low in protein and fiber content.

4. Juice cleanses

Freshly squeezed juice filled with fruits and nutritious greens is great for you, but not when it’s the only thing you are eating.

If you are drinking juice alone with no solid foods, a healthy product becomes unhealthy.

Juice cleanses can lead to dehydration and kidney problems, according to Health.com, as well as increased hunger.

What should I do instead?

Overall, when it comes to weight loss, the best thing you can do is create a healthy balance of a nutritious diet with all food groups and regular exercise.

Gymgoers exercise on ellipticals

It’s vital to create realistic weight-loss goals for yourself and maintain an understanding that noticeable changes are going to take time.

“For most people, a realistic weight-loss goal is probably only going to be about four to eight pounds a month,” Jessica Isaacs, a Los Angeles-based registered sports dietitian and Red Bull wellness adviser, told Fox News Digital.

A well-rounded diet should keep all food groups in play while also keeping portions in mind.

“We want a balanced diet, really focusing on being mindful of portions, and then a high, daily, consistent protein intake is important. We can store carbs, we can store fat, we don’t store protein,” Isaacs added.

It’s going to take time, balance and realistic goal-setting to lose weight and keep it off. 

Fad diets can be the source of quick solutions but not healthy, long-lasting ones.

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.


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