Five Fad Diets You Should Know More About


Published: November 17, 2010

Want to lose a few pounds? Unable to fit into those jeans you’ve been dying to wear? Maybe you want to eat a bit healther? Or just try something new? Well then try dieting on for size. Here are some of the most popular ones right now with some extra info you should know before embarking on them.

Atkins Diet

Dr. Atkins, also known as the “Father of Modern Low-Carb Diets”, devised his golden egg on the principle that an excess of “bad” carbohydrates in our daily diets is what leads to being overweight. In the Atkins diet, the overall carbohydrate intake is significantly restricted to a maximum of 40 grams a day. This forces your body to go into ketosis, a state during which your body resorts to fat as its fuel.  Then this level is adjusted to each individual person’s needs and lifestyle. It has four phases: induction, ongoing weight loss, pre-maintenance and maintenance.

Pros: Weight loss is achieved very rapidly at first and the ability to select higher quality carbohydrates is significantly increased.

Cons: Limiting carbohydrate intake sets up the dieter for self-destruction. This limitation can lead to a sense of deprivation that can easily backfire on dieters. Furthermore, carbohydrates are an essential component of a balanced diet for an active lifestyle, and restricting them to less than 40 grams a day is ludicrous!

The Zone Diet

This diet focuses on altering your body chemistry and regulating certain hormone levels, such as insulin and cortisol, by eating an appropriate ratio of foods. With a diet composed of 40 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent proteins and 30 percent fats, the dieter enters “the zone.” This is achieved by eating lean proteins, fruits and vegetables and healthy fats. Carbohydrates are limited somewhat, given that the dieter avoids over-processed and refined ones,  like white rice and white flour products.

Pros: A healthful balance of foods is achieved. The zone is easy for lasting weight loss and weight management.

Cons: None really, except for the occasional difficulty of trying to reach the optimal ratios of foods.

Weight Watchers

This system uses group support to help dieters achieve their goals. A large network of dieters is created as they follow either the flex plan or the core plan. The first plan is focused on “points,” which are assigned to different foods based on calories. Each person is allotted a specific amount of daily “points” they can use on foods, and they are given bonus “points” for occasional treats or splurges. No food is off limits, given that the dieter has enough points to cover it. Alternatively, the core plan focuses on overall nutritional value of foods, instead of calories.

Pros: The dieter has a fallback support system that can be very useful especially when he or she is feeling diet-weak. Foods are not restricted but moderated, granting the dieter options. This helps combat the sensation of deprivation. The core plan makes the dieter more aware of nutritional value and the benefits of eating right.

Cons: On the flex plan, it is possible for a dieter to eat solely junk food with a low nutritional value and still not go over their allotted points. This can be detrimental to the dieter’s health.


South Beach Diet

In the first of three phases, the dieter eliminates most carbohydrates, fruit included, and saturated fats. After this two-week nixing of foods, carbohydrates are slowly reintroduced into the diet, alongside some saturated fats in phases two and three. Dieters are recommended to eat three meals and three snacks a day, but after phase one is completed, the structure of eating patterns is solely up to the dieter.

Pros: The diet is simple in the sense that the dieter only has to choose foods from provided lists. There’s no guessing involved. Also, the diet is low in saturated fats, making it heart-healthy.

Cons: The diet restricts a lot of foods in the first two weeks during phase one. It seems incomprehensible how fruit could be considered a “bad” carbohydrate and therefore must not be eaten. Again, restriction can lead to the sense of deprivation and a consequential binge.


No meat is eaten. Followers base their diet on produce and carbohydrates and rely on special foods, such as tofu and tempeh, for their protein. Depending on the severity of the follower, animal byproducts, such as dairy products or eggs, are consumed or eliminated as well.

Pros: Vegetarianism is animal-friendly and emphasizes the practice of humane behavior. Also, it is a diet usually low in saturated fats and cholesterol, which are found in animal products.

Cons: It can be hard to begin if you have never been a vegetarian before. Aside from that, there are not many cons to vegetarianism. However, if the follower is not careful about maintaining a balanced diet like anyone else, then certain health problems can arise, such as iron-deficiency anemia and osteoporosis.