Are Fad Diets Worth It?

 Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap/

Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap/

The fourth annual Enhancing Health Through Plant-Based Nutrition conference took place last week in Portland, Ore. One researcher, Susan Levin, MS, RD, CSSD, relayed her studies on the popular fad diets at the moment. They’ve all made headlines and perhaps we’ve even tried/trying one of them. Here is a summary of her research:

Blood Type Diets
I once┬áread a book on this, learning that type O (my blood type) should eat lots of protein. In the book, blood type A should eat close to a vegetarian diet, B should drink milk. Is it true? Does it work? Levin didn’t find any research to back this up. However, she did say following this diet will help you eat less processed foods, which may make you healthier after all.

High Protein
The Atkins diet seems to be a fad that is fading, as followers realized the weight didn’t stay off. Just eating protein can drop pounds quickly, but it’s a lot of water weight. Levin states that a high-protein diet contains too much fat and too few cards to support brain function. Fruits, vegetables and even carbs are a necessity to the diet.

Juice Cleanses
If you are a night owl, you’ve seen the informercials for the latest juicer and how to get in more fruits and vegetables just by drinking them. Levin says that you can lose weight, but just like the Atkins diet, it’s mostly water weight and it will return. Maybe that’s why celebrities do a juice cleanse right before a big event. But overall, it’s high in sugar and you really need solid foods. Save the liquids for when you’re sick!

Currently the most popular fad diet, Paleo follows eating a diet of fish, meat, eggs, vegetables…anything they’d eat during the Paleo era (before the invention of processed foods). On the positive side, it limits junk and packaged foods, but you should vary your diet more.