We all know that feeling. Summer came and went, and it’s back to the old grind. Sure, those end of summer parties were well worth the celebration, but we could all do without those taunting extra pounds of BBQ’s past, right? If a few too many frozen cocktails have you turning to the latest fad diet to shed it fast, it’s time to snap out of it, and learn why these popular (and often downright crazy) diets are not the miracle trick.

1.    The Mushroom Diet:

The 411: Plain and simple, the Mushroom Diet is a 2 week plan to replace either lunch or dinner every day with a mushroom-dense meal. The diet claims to help you spot-reduce, aka lose weight in problem areas without losing it in the areas you’d prefer curvier (ladies, you understand what I mean).

Why it’s NOT for You: After celebs such as Kelly Osbourne and Katy Perry admitted to embracing a little (okay, a LOT) of fungus in their diet regimen, it seemed like everyone was ready to shed a few pounds without shedding their curves, but are mushrooms really as magical as they appear here? No way! Okay, mushrooms are a vegetable, and vegetables are healthy, but they are no miracle. If you’re used to grabbing a few slices between classes and meeting your friends at Chipotle for a burrito every night, then sure, swapping one of those meals with a mushroom-centric dish is bound to help, but let’s not give those fungi more credit than they deserve.

Fad diets

Photo by Becky Hughes

2.    The 5:2 Diet (Intermittent Fasting)

The 411: The 5:2 Diet, also known as intermittent fasting, quickly became popular in the UK and spread over to us. It is a plan to eat whatever you want for five days of the week, and then for two non-consecutive days, you eat a calorie-restricted diet (500 calories for girls and 600 calories for guys). Think: starvation mode.

Why it’s NOT for You: Gorging yourself is never healthy. While yes, shocking your metabolism by occasionally fasting for a holiday or eating in excess for a celebration may be acceptable, the idea of eating at such as extremes as the norm is definitely not a good idea. Eating, as with most aspects of life, is about balance. Not to mention, as a student, which days do you fast? The weekend is the furthest thing from a time meant for calorie-restriction (the weekend is usually practiced as a caloric free for all). And when you’re not trying to live your life to the fullest on the weekends, who wants to sit through Calc 101 starving? Skip!

3.    The Tongue Patch Diet

The 411: Made popular by Venezuelan demand, the Tongue Patch Diet involves having a patch, made from the same material they use to fix hernias (gross!), being surgically sewn into your tongue, which inflicts pain every time you try to eat solid food. While the patch is sewn in, you are to eat only 800 calories (in liquid form, mind you), and any attempt at chewing solid food imposes immense pain. If you don’t get the patch removed after a month, you could end up permanently patched, as it starts to merge with your tongue. (P.S. it costs $2,000… not exactly student-budget-friendly).

Why it’s NOT for You: This might just be the craziest one of them all. First of all, the thought of being punished for eating any solid food (yes, kale, quinoa, and egg whites included) is insane. Oh, and you should also know that patients report difficulty/pain when speaking or even trying to move your tongue. So, it isn’t exactly going to help your class participation grade or the state of your oral hygiene (which we expect would decline immensely if brushing your teeth caused immense pain). Self-control is a beautiful thing that pain-inducing patches were not meant to replace.

Bottom line: The best way to lose a few pounds fast (and keep it off) is to eat whole foods (aka no ingredient list on the back of the package), indulge in moderation, and eat the way we were meant to eat (solid foods- a variety of them- consistently throughout the week).