In our healthcare practice, we see frequent cases of people who want to lose weight fast. Out of desperation, some of them have decided to try one or some of the many health fads that don’t work.

It’s not uncommon to hear some patients talk about the latest health trends, such as no-calorie diets and juice cleansing. They also tell us about the pills, diets, detox juices and intense exercises they thought would help them shed dozens of pounds in a few weeks. Unfortunately, these too-good-to-be-true tactics are not effective for healthy weight loss or long-term lifestyle change.

So, what are the worst health trends being passed around as effective weight loss solutions? In this post, we’ll be highlighting five of the current health fads to avoid.

Using Weight Loss Pills

If you’re looking for a quick way to lose 10 pounds, you’ve probably seen ads promising a slim body after use of a magic pill. But weight loss drugs — including harmful, illegal ones like cocaine — can have a terrible effect on vital organs like your brain, heart and liver. Although some natural supplements like garcinia cambogia can improve metabolism and improve fat-burning, they only produce desired results when you eat healthy whole foods and exercise regularly.

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Indulging in Fad Diets

Weight loss programs attract at least 45 million people in the U.S. every year. But most of the programs don’t promote permanent weight-loss. Some of the fad diets involve cutting out certain food groups, such as fat and carbohydrates. Some also ask you to eat a zero-calorie diet. However, each of these macronutrients performs an essential function in the body. Failing to eat a well-balanced diet won’t aid weight loss, it’ll inhibit it.

Doing Juice Cleansing

It’s true that consuming a juice-only diet for several days can reduce the load on your digestive system, so you may end up feeling lighter. But most juices have little or no protein, which is an essential nutrient for your body. This means you’ll end up losing muscle mass since your body will have to break down your muscles to satisfy daily protein requirements. As soon as you start eating solid food again, you’ll gain fat and your body weight will increase.

Switching Over to Diet Soda

Diet drink manufacturers could give you the impression that you’ll lose weight or stay slim by drinking their products. It’s better to avoid these diet beverages because they don’t offer long-term success. The study published by the American Geriatrics Society showed respondents who consumed drinks with artificial sweeteners ended up with more belly fat. The lesson is clear: Skip the diet stuff and gradually cut back on soda until you stop drinking it completely.

Intense Workouts

Exercise is essential for weight loss. But like every ingredient of a weight loss program, it needs to be handled with moderation and care. Excessive and intense exercise that goes on for several hours each day will cause you to become very hungry. Eventually, you will need to eat more to satisfy your hunger. This will ultimately wipe out the positive effects of the intense workouts at the gym. So, you should avoid exercise routines that go on for more than one hour to avoid over eating.

About UPMC Nutrition Services

Nutrition is vital for maintaining your overall health. UPMC Nutrition Services offers comprehensive diet and nutrition counseling on a variety of topics, including eating disorders, weight management, and heart disease. Our team provides medical nutrition therapy for chronic conditions such as celiac disease, cancer, and diabetes. UPMC’s network of registered dietitians is available to help guide all patients toward a healthier life.