List of Fad Diets: Diet Plans to Avoid

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform summary of "The Plant Paradox" by Steven R. Gundry. Shortform has the world's best summaries of books you should be reading.

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What are the most popular diets? What claims are made by all the plans on the list of fad diets?

Fad diets promise results fast, and are often restrictive. Unfortunately, they usually don’t work in the long term, and can lead to weight loss plateaus or re-gaining the weight you lost.

See a list of fad diets that all promise big results, but may disappoint.

What Are the Popular Diets?

The list of fad diets has many of the most popular diets including Atkins, South Beach, ketogenic, paleo, Mediterranean, raw food, Weight Watchers, and Zone, to name some. But most diets don’t address the root issue, which is that the food that we eat and products we use trigger biological responses in your body that makes you fat or unhealthy. Additionally, many diets focus on major short-term efforts that produce quick results but don’t change long-term habits, so you gain the weight right back. 

When you know how foods and other products affect your body, you can make choices that keep your body happy, and your weight will naturally stabilize. So it’s important to keep a list of fad diets so you don’t get caught up in tryign them.

Many people also rely on exercise to shed pounds, but several studies show that exercise is not an effective way to lose weight; rather, exercise is more effective at helping you maintain your weight. Of course, exercise also has many other benefits, including improved cardiovascular health, blood pressure, balance, mood, energy, and sleep. 

List of Fad Diets Categorized

Low carb diets—such as Atkins, South Beach, and Paleo—encourage high protein intake and cut lectin-containing grains and legumes. This often makes them successful in the short term, but when dieters reintroduce the grains and legumes back into their diet in the maintenance phase of these programs, they typically gain the weight back. Even when dieters continue restricting their carbs, their weight loss typically plateaus. These low carb diets are important to include on your list of fad diets.

Ketogenic diet is another low-carb diet, but this program also limits proteins and encourages dieters to get most of their calories from fats. A ketogenic diet is often successful for people with diabetes or other insulin resistance, as well as people with cancer, dementia, Parkinson’s, autoimmune diseases, and gut diseases. However, it’s more likely that the results come from eliminating many lectin-containing foods rather than eating fats. Keto diets are getting more popular, placing them on the list of fad diets to avoid.

Low-fat, whole-grain diets—such as Ornish, Esselstyn, and T. Colin Campbell—incorporate lectins, so these diets don’t prevent the progression of coronary artery disease. (Shortform note: Read our summary of T. Colin Campbell’s The China Study here.) However, dieters who use one of these most popular diets do still tend to lose weight; this is likely attributable to four factors.

  1. While dieters still eat lectin-containing grains, they eliminate lectin-containing fats, including soy, peanut, cottonseed, sunflower, and canola, which are high in polyunsaturated omega-6 fats. 
  2. Dieters’ low fat intake impedes LPSs from getting through the gut wall via saturated fatty acids and causing inflammation. 
  3. Dieters are encouraged to eat whole unprocessed grains, as opposed to the ground-up grains that are common in most food products labeled “whole grain.” The ground-up grains are worse because the lectins have been released and because they contain the endocrine-disrupting preservative BHT. 
  4. Dieters focus on organic whole grains, which are less likely to have Roundup chemicals that kill the microbes, including those that help you process gluten.

Keeping track of this list of fad diets can help you make sure you stick to your healthy eating plan.

List of Fad Diets: Diet Plans to Avoid

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best summary of Steven R. Gundry's "The Plant Paradox" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full The Plant Paradox summary:

  • Why eating more vegetables isn't enough, and why some vegetables are toxic to your body
  • The science behind lectins and how they tear apart your body, making you fat and sick
  • The 6-week program to get your body back on healthy grack

Rina Shah

An avid reader for as long as she can remember, Rina’s love for books began with The Boxcar Children. Her penchant for always having a book nearby has never faded, though her reading tastes have since evolved. Rina reads around 100 books every year, with a fairly even split between fiction and non-fiction. Her favorite genres are memoirs, public health, and locked room mysteries. As an attorney, Rina can’t help analyzing and deconstructing arguments in any book she reads.

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