The Most Overrated Diets Over the Years

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No matter how many times doctors come out and say that sensible eating and exercise are the way to a healthy, fit lifestyle, there seems to be a new fad diet to hit the market every few months. While there has been some back-and-forth about what is best (fat or no fat? Is sugar the worst thing we can consume now?), people love a strict set of rules that they can follow. Simply telling someone to control portion sizes and not to overindulge in any one ingredient or item isn’t enough. Dieters love crazy regimens. Here are a few from over the years that people went bonkers for. Sure, some of them work — at least for a short while — but very few can be sustained over time.


Which ones have you tried?

The Grapefruit Diet

This diet requires you to seriously cut back on calories and to avoid many foods (high-starch items like sugar, pasta, and potatoes), increase your protein intake, and, of course, to consume a grapefruit with every meal. While you’re getting lots of vitamin C as a result, this diet just doesn’t work past the short-term. Plus you get really sick of grapefruits really fast.

The Cabbage Soup Diet

No one said that losing weight would be fun or satisfying to your palate. For this one, you have to eat a few bowls of fat-free cabbage soup every day. Yum. You can slowly add in other foods, like leafy vegetables, baked chicken, and skim milk. But your body doesn’t necessarily get the nutrients it needs. You might shed a bunch of pounds quickly, but you’ll end up binging in no time to replenish what your body’s been lacking.


Everyone remember Richard Simmons and his little cards? People went nutso for this. When you ate something from the stack of cards, you moved it to the other side of your little card holder. When you went through all the cards, you were done for the day. The diet allowed for about 1,200 calories a day. Simmons, of course, recommended doing the regimen along with his workout routine. Sweatin to the Oldies anyone?

The Macrobiotic Diet


Oh, Gwyneth Paltrow, you can make anything look easy, but this is not a diet for just anyone. Be prepared to not eat meat, dairy, eggs, processed foods, and sugar, according to Redbook. Instead, you’re supposed to eat vegetables, legumes, and soy. The main issue with this diet is that it is incredibly hard to eat anything you haven’t prepared yourself. Say goodbye to eating out.

The Atkins Diet

This might be the most popular of the fad diets throughout the years. Cutting most, if not all, carbohydrates out of a diet can certainly result in weight loss, but it makes life not-so-much fun. Even fruit is off limits. From day one, you crave the sugar that you’re denying your body. This is yet another one that is hard to sustain over time.

The Master Cleanse

As the name implies, this is intended to be a cleanse, and not a diet, but countless people have turned to this plan to lose weight. For those who are extremely hardcore, the cleanse is intended to last 10 days. Yes, that’s 10 whole days without solid food. Instead, you get to consume a concoction made of water, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup. You’ve probably seen people on this cleanse, clinging to their bottle of “juice” as if their lives depended on it. (And I guess it does, considering they can’t even eat a celery stick.) An added bonus is that you get to drink a cup of diuretic tea every day. Hello, unexpected trips to the bathroom! No thanks.


The Hot Dog Diet (a.k.a. the 3-Day Military Diet)

This diet combines an odd combination of foods for every meal, including hot dogs (no buns). It can be hard to imagine that eating highly processed food, such as hot dogs, can have any benefit for your body. Other standout foods from the three days on this restricted calorie fad include unseasoned tuna, cottage cheese, and saltine crackers. You do get 1/2 cup of vanilla ice cream every night, but hey, your calories have to come from somewhere, right?




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