In this day and age of rapid information transmission, more and more people are discovering and trying fad diets in the hope of quickly and easily achieving that hourglass body shape. These unbalanced and unsustainable “fad diets” are trademarked by their promises to help you to lose weight in a short period of time. They seem relatively effortless compared to following a balanced diet paired with exercise, which is the reason why so many people try them out.

However, they might be doing more harm than good. In Australia, for example, the increasing number of people engaged in fad diets is translating into increased hospitalisations for organ dysfunction and even heart failure. With many fad diets, you’re cutting out important nutrients that your body needs for normal growth. Moreover, in extreme cases, excessive dieting can lead to anorexia.

Here are three fad diets you definitely shouldn’t try:

1. Five-Bite Diet

The Five-Bite Diet was developed by Dr Alwyn Lewis in 2007, published in his book Why Weight Around?. This diet advises to skip breakfast and to eat five bites of any desired foods for lunch and dinner, with protein a must. It also includes multivitamins and unlimited calorie-free drinks. According to the creator of this diet, your body should get used to the decreased consumption and you should stop feeling hungry after three days.

The dangers

You’d barely get 1,000 calories in your system daily with this diet. Along with consuming less calories, you’ll consume less vitamins, minerals, essential protein, fibre and all the nutrients that come with a balanced diet. In the long run, this may result in nutritional deficiencies. Very low-calorie diets (800kcal or fewer) are used for clinical-management programs for obesity and should only be done under the supervision of a doctor.

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2. Cotton Ball Diet

This diet is exactly as described. The Cotton Ball Diet was originally used by models to lose weight and advised dieters to dip cotton balls into orange juice (or other liquids) for consumption. This diet “works” because though the cotton balls contain no calories or nutrients, they fill up and stretch the stomach, sending a signal to our brain that we have consumed food and that we’re full.

The dangers

Cotton balls are not digestible. They can also be a choking hazard. Even if they don’t get stuck in your throat, they can be a blockage in the intestines and bowel after being swallowed. Moreover, they contain no nutrients, so all the nutrients you’d get from this diet are the scarce amount from the orange juice. You may feel full at first, but the lack of glucose in your blood will soon put you in a fasting state. Prolonged behaviour like this could put your body in starvation mode. Yes, your body will burn fat to give you the energy you need, but it will also start to degrade muscle and protein in order to provide you with sufficient energy.

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3. Military Diet

The Military Diet consists of a very strict amount of specific food items and claims to achieve weight loss with its distinct combination of foods. This diet requires dieters to eat, for example, one cup of cottage cheese, one hard-boiled egg and five saltine crackers for lunch on the second day of diet.

The dangers

Again, this limited diet does not provide sufficient micronutrients. Even if there are vegetables on the list, there are also items like hot dogs, ice cream and saltine crackers. The diet provides a daily amount of 1,100–1,400kcal, with 1,500kcal on rest days. A consistent low-calorie diet may cause cravings after stopping the diet, leading to relapse.

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Fad diets may help you to take off a few pounds, but sensible eating is always a better way to lose weight and keep it off. Eatology offers tailor-made meal plans and delivers them right to your door. The gourmet recipes are made up of wholesome, nutrient-dense ingredients, and the great flavours will help you to reach a variety of health goals, whether it be losing weight, boosting energy or staying healthy. Check out Eatology today and start eating sensibly!

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