What Are the Different Types of Fad Diets?

Steve R.

A fad diet often claims a person can lose a substantial amount of weight in a short period of time — as such, it can become very popular: a fad. Some examples of fad diets include the Cabbage Soup Diet, Grapefruit Diet, Lemonade Diet, and Tapeworm Diet. Typically, the fad diets are meant as a quick fix, not to be followed for the long haul. An individual will generally gain the weight back after stopping the fad diet.

The Grapefruit Diet was once a popular fad.
The Grapefruit Diet was once a popular fad.

The Cabbage Soup Diet is generally meant to be followed for seven days. This diet claims by eating mostly unlimited amounts of cabbage soup for a week, a person can lose up to 15 pounds (6.8 kilograms). Recipes for the cabbage soup diet may differ, but generally the plan calls for vegetables that are low in calories, including cabbage, tomatoes, and onions. To give the soup flavor, bouillon, chili pepper, and onion soup mix may be added. The program also calls for a dieter to eat certain foods, such as baked potatoes, rice, and beef on specific days.

The Tapeworm Diet uses tapeworms to help consume some of the food that a person eats.
The Tapeworm Diet uses tapeworms to help consume some of the food that a person eats.

Another one of the diet fads includes the Grapefruit Diet, also referred to as the Hollywood Diet. Unlike the Cabbage Soup Diet, cabbage is not allowed with the Grapefruit Diet. The premise of the diet is to keep within a daily allowance of 800 calories per day, drink 64 ounces (1.8 l) daily, and consume half a grapefruit or eight ounces (around 2.5 dl) of grapefruit juice with each meal. The premise of the diet is that the grapefruit encourages burning body fat when a person consumes fatty foods such as meat. A person stays on the Grapefruit Diet for 12 days, stops for two days, and then repeats the diet for another 12 days.

A strictly liquid diet, the Lemonade Diet entails consuming a special drink for about two weeks straight. Often called the Master Cleanse, the Lemonade Diet is easy to learn. A person simply drinks at least six servings a day of a concoction made up of lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper, and filtered water. During this fad diet, solid foods are avoided completely. When done with the diet, a person slowly weans himself back onto solid food.

One of the more radical fad diets is the Tapeworm Diet. This method, banned in some countries including the United States, involves putting a tapeworm in a person’s stomach. The tapeworm helps to consume some of the food a person eats. However, the creatures can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and anemia.

An individual will generally gain the weight back after stopping the fad diet.
An individual will generally gain the weight back after stopping the fad diet.

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Discussion Comments


I had a friend who tried the cabbage soup diet. She lasted about two days and those two days were enough for everyone around her too. The smell was terrible!

And more than that, she was in an awful mood for most of that time. There just isn't enough energy to sustain you in clear cabbage soup. You need to eat some kind of carbohydrate in order to keep your blood sugar up, or you get grumpy.

And the worst part is, if you follow that kind of diet, your body might start burning muscle in order to get nutrients, and muscle burns more calories than other body tissues. So, with lower muscle density, you'll end up putting on weight faster once you finish the diet.

You're better off exercising without changing your diet at all, than getting onto a fad diet.


@pleonasm - You probably read about that in the novel about Seabiscuit as it went into great detail about the dieting challenges of the jockeys back in those days. It's still a problem today and I'm sure more than one of them will try a popular fad diet regularly.

I think fad diets are awful though, because most of the time they seem to simply be a single person who has decided to make a buck out of selling what amounts to quack medicine.

I mean, I could suddenly start advocating a diet composed of clover and strawberries and say it was the best thing ever for losing weight and if I said it often enough and in convincing enough language I'm sure I could make money out of it. But would it really help people? No. If anything it would do the opposite.

I'm sure there are some people who really believe their fad diet is worth something, but I also think most of them are charlatans.

I remember hearing about how jockeys back in the days when horse racing was more popular, would use tapeworms to keep their weight down. They needed to be under a certain about of weight in order to ride at all, and of course they would want to be as light as possible because it meant the horse would have less to carry and would be able to go faster.

This was one of the many reasons that back then jockeys were often sick and could die at the drop of a hat. The tapeworm diet is a fad diet that doesn't really work as the tapeworm isn't going to consume the bits of food which make you fat. They consume certain vitamins you need to stay healthy though and can cause all kinds of other problems.

Plus, they would take purgatives to get rid of the worm when they started feeling sick and if they miscalculated the dose, or if the worm was too big by that point that could be fatal as well. Especially since they never drank enough water in order to keep weight down.

Really, women who follow fad diets have nothing on sports jockeys! I'm glad that they seem to be phasing human jockeys out in favor of robots now.

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