Face the facts: diets just don’t work in general. Yet, Americans spend more than $60 billion annually trying to lose weight. A lot of that money goes to diet programs, like Weight Watchers, which charges $42.95 per month, and Nutrisystem, which charges up to $300 per month for meals. Before you spend the dough, find out which diets are actually going to make you gain weight.
1. The Biggest Loser Diet
After the hit sensation of the television series, where fans got to see competitors’ weight fall off, The Biggest Loser Diet was created in the form of a book and a paid online membership. Because it follows a diet created by dietitians and the show’s trainers, one might expect it to be a healthy way to lose weight.
In a lot of ways, it is. It focuses on healthy food groups and exercise. But it sets the calorie limit seriously low. Most the contestants on the show regained the weight by following a very similar diet. If you follow the same diet, you should expect the same results.
2. Military Diet
I don’t know why it’s called the military diet, because I really don’t think the Military approved any of it. It’s also called the 3-Day Diet. It requires the dieter to follow a three day diet plan with severely restricted calories and then, during the remaining four days of the week, the dieter makes their own meals totaling 1500.
These four days are designed to let your body recuperate from starvation. But 1500 calories really isn’t enough to do that and your body will already be feeling the effects of starvation by day three of the meal plan. Your metabolism will slow down, so you’re probably not going to lose those 10 pounds a week the diet promises. In fact, because your metabolism is slowed, you will likely gain weight after you go back to eating your regular meals.
3. Dukan Diet
This diet is considered the French Atkins because it focuses on low carb, low fat, and high protein. It’s very popular in Europe and has been used by Kate Middleton and Jennifer Lopez. Dieters can expect to lose four to seven pounds in the first five days, but it’s mainly water weight and can lead to dehydration.
Another issue is that it really does not teach healthy eating habits. The most important part of losing weight and keeping it off is learning portion control, but this diet does not focus on portion control at all. It basically teaches the idea that you can have all you can eat and still keep the weight off, which is just never true.
Like the Dukan Diet, Nutrisystem does not teach portion control. In fact, it doesn’t teach anything. All the work is done for the dieter. All you have to do is eat the (fairly expensive) food and you’ll lose weight.
But you really have to learn to take care of yourself to keep the weight off. In order to keep the weight off on this diet, you would have to keep ordering the food year after year. Since that’s not feasible, it would be unlikely that Nutrisystem would ultimately work.
5. Lemonade Diet
The Lemonade Diet is also known as the master cleanse and it seems that no matter how many times it’s disproved, people still decide to use it. You are basically not giving your body any of the calories and nutrients that it needs to survive and you will slow your metabolism doing this. As soon as people end their master cleanse, they usually gain the weight right back. Just stop with the juice diets.
6. Paleo Diet
The Paleo Diet is an incredibly hard one to stick with (and may have even caused the death of the Neanderthals). There’s so much that’s forbidden, including healthy foods like peas, oats, and potatoes. This diet is very much all or nothing.
You have to cut out all refined sugar, dairy products, grains, legumes, soy products, starchy vegetables, deli meats, many condiments, and basically all packaged and processed foods. All soon as these foods are introduced back into the diet, you will likely start to see weight gain again. Side note: it’s also terrible for the environment.