Dietitians Debunk Some Crazy Popular Diets

I know, I know, you want to lose weight. Like, now. No, like, yesterday. So you’re going to try that trendy new diet that your friends are on. It shouldn’t be too hard, right?

Lots of diets sound like they’re based on scientific fact, but what happens a lot is that the people promoting these diets tweak good science into big untruths (and sadly, big profits). It’s sometimes barely perceptible that this is happening, and it makes their products seem legit when they’re totally not. Luckily you’ve got help now to figure these things out!

So put down that Bulletproof coffee and acid/alkaline food list and listen to Abbey and Abby! You do not need bad diets to be healthy, fit, or to lose weight. You just need common sense, and no one delivers that like us, the two outspoken dietitians.

In our first video in a series, Abbey Sharp and I critique the following bad fad diets that will lighten your wallet but not your scale or your spirit.

The Raw Diet
Consisting of foods that aren’t heated above 40-49C, this diet is all about not destroying ‘natural enzymes’ that foods contain. Fair enough, there are such a thing as enzymes that are natural. I mean, most of the enzymes on earth would qualify as ‘natural’ if they’re not man-made.

But does eating a diet that’s uncooked have any benefits? Not really. The truth is, the acid in your stomach denatures those ‘natural enzymes’ that you’re taking so much care not to cook! Some foods are better off cooked, too — for health and for palatability. Most importantly, How long do you think you’ll be able to maintain a raw diet for?

The Bulletproof Diet
How about a 600-calorie butter coffee for breakfast? The Bulletproof Diet, developed by someone with no nutrition expertise whatsoever, promotes its creamy coffee elixir made by whipping special ‘bulletproof’ coffee together with grassfed butter.

The issue? The Bulletproof Diet is no miracle. You’re drinking a lot of calories that aren’t very nutritious, and those calories are making you feel full. No magic.

The Alkaline Diet
The Alkaline Diet is based on the belief that acidic foods create an acidic environment in the body, which can cause cancer and other diseases. The diet emphasizes alkaline foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains — which is great — but the no-so-great part of this diet? It’s based upon claims that are totally unscientific. What you eat doesn’t change your blood pH at all, because your body tightly regulates this. The science behind acid body environments and disease is also wonky – cancer causes an acidic environment in your body — not the other way around. Overall the alkaline diet is actually healthy, but the claims it makes aren’t. Go ahead and eat fresh, unprocessed foods, but no cake? Come on. How long can you live without cake?

The Master Cleanse

The ‘granddaddy of cleanses’, this crazy, disgusting (or crazy disgusting, if you will) cleanse involves ‘detoxing’ with a lemon juice, water, and cayenne pepper concoction and salt water flushes or laxatives. The problem is that your body cleanses itself, and there’s nothing it can’t handle that the Master Cleanse can. In fact, starving yourself with this juice fast is a losing battle, because any weight you lose will come right back once you eat solid food. There are better ways to kick-start a healthy diet – like, maybe stop eating junk?

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About Abby Langer