The worst fad diets for your brain and body, from the Bible-inspired Daniel Fast to the werewolf diet

Michael Dodge/Getty Images
  • Fad diets are popular ways to lose weight, but they don’t all have science on their side.
  • Yo-yo dieting can be dangerous and set people up for long-term heart trouble.
  • Nutritionists agree it’s best to stick with a diet plan that you can adhere to for life, instead of zig-zagging in and out of restrictive plans that set people up for failure.

Fad diets are nothing new. The first modern fad diet, which touted the benefits of going low-carb, was invented by funeral director William Banting in 1862. Since then, the world has seen its fair share of dieting trends, from eating cabbage soup for a week straight to consuming foods based on your blood type.

Despite the ridiculousness of these fads, and lack of research supporting many them, fad diets continue to play a role in how people eat and attempt to take control of their health, for better or for worse.

Here are the fad diets that can be worst for your brain and body.


The Daniel Fast, or Shepherd diet, requires dieters to fast and pray in the pursuit of better health.

Kevin Winter/Getty ImagesChris Pratt has done the Daniel diet.

Actor Chris Pratt has done the Daniel Fast, which requires eating only fruits, vegetables, and unleavened bread for 21 days, as well as praying daily.

The goal of the diet, according to its website, is to help dieters “focus on their health using Christ-centered teachings,” but limiting food intake so severely could prevent a person from getting all of the nutrients they need. There is no science-backed evidence this diet works, either.


Whole30 dieters cut out sugar, alcohol, dairy, grains, beans and other banned foods for a month.

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Created in 2009 by then husband-and-wife pair Melissa and Dallas Hartwig, the premise of the monthlong Whole30 regime is that if you put only “good” things in your body, you’ll feel better, reduce inflammation, and transform your relationship with food. Whole30 dieters are restricted to eating only fruits, veggies, meat, seafood, eggs, and some fats including avocados, cashews, and olive and coconut oil.

It’s a tremendously popular plan on Instagram, where people post colourful photos of their veggie and fruit-filled #Whole30 plates.

But Whole30 isn’t really supported by science; nutrition experts say it takes more than 30 days for your body to perform a truly complete reset if you want to reduce inflammation. Besides, fibre-rich foods, which the Whole30 diet strictly limits, can improve inflammation markers and help stave off all kinds of diseases.


For those who like to howl at the moon, the werewolf diet follows a fasting regimen tied to lunar cycles.

Madonna and Demi Moore are both reportedly fans of this loony lunar plan, which dictates when dieters should eat based on the sky above.

“The basic iteration calls for 24 hours of fasting during the full moon or new moon, when you’re permitted only water and freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juice,” according to US News and World Report.

But remember, just because the moon helps push around the Earth’s tides doesn’t mean it has any effect on your own body weight.


The baby-food diet is an infant’s dream but an adult’s nightmare.

This diet plan is as terrible as you might’ve guessed: Replace two meals a day with roughly a dozen jars of baby food, and you can have a normal adult-sized dinner. Though people have been speculating that stars adhere to this diet for years, there’s really no evidence anyone in Hollywood is going bananas for baby purée.

Jennifer Aniston told People magazine in 2010 that despite the rumours of her being on the diet, “I’ve been on solids for about 40 years now.”

“Sorry, but the last time I had baby food, I believe I was 1,” the “Friends” star said.


The Special K diet replaces two meals a day with a set portion of cereal flakes and milk.

Kellogg’s

The diet plan, popular in the early 2000s, was billed as a way to gear up for swimsuit season in a hurry by replacing two daily meals with a cup of Special K cereal and half a cup of low fat milk.

The plan was promoted by Kellogg’s cereal company for years as a research-backed way to be “slimmer for summer” but they have scrubbed all traces of it from their current website.

Subsisting on a cereal-based diet can push people to miss out on key nutrients and illness-fighting compounds that are abundant in plants like fruits and veggies. Besides, Special K doesn’t have a ton of fibre in it, so you’d probably do better to try out some other cereals that are less processed.


A gluten-free diet is helpful for those with celiac disease, but research has not proved its benefits for people who don’t have the condition.

ChameleonsEye/ShutterstockGluten-free food is normally seen as a diet for celiac disease. Nearly one out of every 133 people has celiac disease.

Eating a diet without gluten, a protein found in carbohydrates like bread and pasta, is often touted by believers as being healthier than gluten-filled diets, but research has shown doing so is beneficial only to people with celiac disease.

Carbs with gluten contain more fibre and promote heart health than carbs without gluten, so you’ll have to up your intake quite a bit to get your daily requirement the gluten-free way.


The Paleo diet is meant to mimic eating habits of the Paleolithic era.

Paleo dieters subsist on meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, while shying away from grains, sugar, dairy products, and anything processed. Paleo aficionados argue that this diet is what our bodies are built for, and that modern farming has evolved faster than our guts.

But scientists disagree about the merits of the plan. Paleo dieters who often fuel up on heavy doses of proteins like meat put themselves at risk for vitamin D deficiency, and may not get enough calcium for their bones to stay healthy. There aren’t really any long-term clinical studies on the benefits or risks of the Paleo diet, either.

UC Davis Health dietitian Alex Nella encourages his patients who are excited about Paleo to make some modifications to the standard Paleo diet: adding beans, lentils, whole grains, and dairy onto their plate.

“I also recommend that they carefully choose protein sources, emphasising quality over quantity,” he said in a Q&A.


Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey eats one meal each weekday and fasts all weekend.

When Dorsey appeared on fitness author Ben Greenfield’s podcast, he detailed his controversial diet, which involves eating just dinner every weeknight.

“It really has increased my appreciation for food and taste because I’m deprived of it for so long during the day,” Dorsey told Greenfield.

For his one daily meal, Dorsey has a protein (either fish, chicken, or steak), vegetables (an arugula or spinach salad, asparagus, or Brussels sprouts), and a dessert of mixed berries or dark chocolate, all of which he eats after 6:30 p.m. and before 9 p.m.

On weekends, Dorsey fats for the duration, only breaking his fast on Sunday night with bone broth. He has said the diet makes him feel more focused.

On Twitter, people said Dorsey’s highly restrictive diet – an extreme type of intermittent fasting – could be a form of disordered eating, and experts agree.

“Animals who are starved shouldn’t feel playful,” Dr. Jennifer Gaudiani, CEDS, FAED, an internal-medicine doctor who specialises in eating disorders, previously told Business Insider. “They should feel concerned and focused. They may interpret that initially as productive, but it’s the brain saying, ‘I don’t have enough food.'”


Just like its name suggests, the raw-food diet involves eating mainly foods that are raw.

Teri Virbickis/ ShutterstockRaw-food dieters eat uncooked foods 75% of the time.

The diet was invented in the 1800s when a doctor said he cured his jaundice by eating raw apples. Today, people who do a raw diet typically eat 75% raw foods, which are foods that haven’t been cooked, processed, microwaved, irradiated, genetically engineered, or exposed to pesticides.

The problem is, humans have evolved to eat certain foods that are cooked first and people on the diet could get just half of the calories they should be consuming daily, according to the US News & World Report. That lack of calories likely means raw food dieters are also skipping out on key nutrients every day.

Raw-food eaters who take it to the extreme by consuming raw fish and meat are increasing their likelihood of exposure to harmful bacteria too.


Patriots quarterback Tom Brady released a book outlining his diet, TB12, in 2017.

The TB12 diet includes rules like eliminating foods like potatoes, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, and berries. Brady believes these foods, which fall under the “nightshades” category, can cause inflammation.

This idea isn’t science-backed, and food-related inflammation is typically not enough to cause adverse health issues like the TB12 diet suggests. Skipping out on so many types of good-for-you produce could result in nutrient deficiencies.

The whole diet is also loosely based on eating alkaline, a largely debunked diet myth that suggests eating foods with a low pH will promote bone health and provide more energy. “If you actually eat a bunch of baking soda – even if you do that – you don’t change [the pH level] that much,” Mayo Clinic sports performance expert Michael Joyner told Vox.

The TB12 diet also suggests drinking an extremely huge amount of water (up to 2.5 gallons daily), which may be helpful to a constantly training athlete like Brady, but can cause permanent brain damage to an average Joe who usually drinks less water.


Followers of the carnivore diet eat only animal products.

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Besides the obvious meaty choices, other carnivore-approved foods include eggs, fish, and dairy.

Nutritionists don’t think this is a good plan, since there’s essentially no dietary fibre in the mix and it’s missing a lot of key nutrients we don’t get from animals, like the beneficial plant chemicals in fruits and vegetables that studies suggest help reduce our cancer risk.


Fruitarians eat only fruit.

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Sure, being a frugivore, and subsisting on fruits, roots, nuts and seeds may work for animals like orangutans, but the human version of this plan – being a “fruitarian” – is probably not the best idea.

Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, who died from complications of pancreatic cancer in 2011, was said to be a fan of this fruity diet, but when Ashton Kutcher tried it in 2013 while preparing to play Jobs in a biopic, the all-fruit plan had some scary effects on his own pancreas.

“I went to the hospital like two days before we started shooting the movie,” Kutcher told USA Today. “I was like doubled over in pain.”

The pancreas secretes insulin in the body when we eat carbs like sugary fruit.

“If all he was doing was eating fruit, he may have been overworking it,” dietitian Keri Gans told US News and World Report of Kutcher.

In addition to posing serious malnutrition and pancreatic risks, the diet is high in sugar, which makes it a disaster for diabetics and can set fruit dieters up for weight gain and tooth decay.

“By relying mainly on fruits and depriving yourself of needed vitamins, fats and proteins, it’s possible to push your body into starvation mode,” Cleveland Clinic dietitian Laura Jeffers wrote. “If your body feels it’s starving, it will slow down your metabolism in an attempt to conserve energy for vital functions.”


Raw vegans go further than the typical vegan rules of no meat, dairy, or animal products.

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All the plant-based meals on this diet are never heated beyond around 104 degrees F.

This doesn’t make a ton of sense, because fresh foods like carrots and mushrooms can be better for you when they’re cooked.


Freegans eat what others throw out.

Mario Tama / Getty Images

The goal of freeganism is to opt out of consumerism.

“Freeganism is a total boycott of an economic system where the profit motive has eclipsed ethical considerations,” as the site freegan.info explains. “Instead of avoiding the purchase of products from one bad company only to support another, we avoid buying anything to the greatest degree we are able.”

Freegans rely on dumpster diving and “urban foraging,” by learning when and where places like hotels and restaurants dump their extras. To survive on this diet, you have to know how to show up in the right place at the right time. Nutritionally, it’s probably not so great either, because you have so little control over what and when you eat.


The master cleanse, or “lemonade diet,” claims to help people drop 20 pounds in 10 days.

Master cleansers can consume only salt water, laxatives, and tons of lemon water with cayenne and maple syrup. After 10 days or more on this diet, followers are encouraged to reintroduce solid foods slowly into their daily regimen, with soups and juices.

Beyonce is reportedly a fan of the plan and used it to get ready for “Dreamgirls.”

Not eating is a proven way to shed pounds short term, but given that you’re using laxatives and starving yourself, the weight loss amounts to a lot of lost water weight and muscle mass. The starvation diet could even slow your metabolism, setting you up to gain more weight back when you finish the cleanse.


In recent years, swapping out whole foods for juices and soups to “cleanse” the body has become popular.

barnimages.com/FlickrJuice isn’t a meal.

Juice and soup cleanses can take a variety of forms, but typically involve a person swapping out one or all of their meals for soup or juice to detox the body. Experts have said that these cleanses cause people to miss out on key nutrients and feel crummy as a result.

Plus, the body has a natural detoxification system in place, so a diet meant to kick-start the process is simply a waste of time and money.


The low-fat plans that were popular in the late ’80s and early ’90s are increasingly being debunked by science, which suggest that fat can be good for us.

Getty Images/Joe Raedle

Nutritionists are starting to agree that sugar, not fat, is the real driver of weight gain in our diets.

It’s true that more processed versions of lard, like recently banned trans fats and their alternatives, aren’t great. But plant-based oils like olive, avocado, and even fatty fish can be wonderful additions to any diet.

Besides, when food manufacturers drop the fat from their products, they usually add in sugar to amp up the taste, which does not help waistlines in the long run.


The Champagne diet was endorsed by Vogue magazine in 1963.

As advice meant to help women achieve smaller waists, a Vogue writer published a diet that suggested eating smaller amounts of food but supplementing what you did eat with a bit of Champagne. “Any diet that cuts calories for a while is a good diet,” the article read, but we know now that’s not necessarily true and can lead to a lack of essential nutrients.


There was even a time when cigarette smoking was considered a great way to diet and keep weight off.

When cigarettes were a status symbol and marketing of the tobacco product was in its prime from the 1930s through the ’50s, doctors were recommending “healthy” cigarette brands for certain health issues.

Lucky Strike brand cigarettes made advertisements suggesting that cigarettes could quell a person’s appetite and help them lose weight. Although science has shown that nicotine in cigarettes does suppress appetite, puffing on a cigarette comes with health risks like cancer, lung disease, gum disease, and more.


Putting tapeworms in your intestines is not a solid dieting strategy, either.

VCG via Getty Images(Tapeworms not pictured.)

Sticking a tapeworm in your stomach to eat your food for you can prompt serious complications.

People with tapeworm infections often lose their appetite, crave salt, get diarrhoea, become dizzy, and have abdominal pain. In rare cases, tapeworm infections prompt appendicitis, dementia, and even death.

People with worms may also lose a few pounds, but weight loss is not guaranteed. All that a tapeworm can promise you for sure is an infection, which if it explodes beyond the intestines can cause seizures.

Knowing all this, it seems like common sense that people would try to avoid tapeworm infections at all costs, but that’s not always the case. One Iowa woman admitted she bought a tapeworm off the internet and swallowed it in 2013, prompting the medical director of the Iowa Department of Public Health to let her know that “those desiring to lose weight are advised to stick with proven weight loss methods – consuming fewer calories and increasing physical activity.”


In 1977, Vogue magazine recommended the “wine and eggs” diet. It suggested drinking one bottle of wine per day and supplementing the booze with hard-boiled eggs.

Oli Scarff / Getty ImagesFormer Vogue editor Helen Gurley Brown created the diet.

Former Vogue editor Helen Gurley Brown first mentioned the diet in her 1962 book “Sex and the Single Girl” and it was republished in the magazine in 1977.

Gurley suggested drinking a bottle of white wine daily, split up into three meals, and supplementing the wine with a hard-boiled egg and coffee at breakfast and two hard-boiled eggs and more black coffee at lunch. For dinner, dieters got to treat themselves to a five-ounce steak, even more black coffee, and the remainder of the white wine.

Obviously, doing so is bad for you because you’re missing out on the majority of nutritious foods you should be eating on a daily basis and subsisting on meat, alcohol, and eggs.


The cabbage-soup diet requires you to eat mainly cabbage soup for seven days straight to lose weight fast.

Sian ProctorThe diet is usually used to lose weight fast.

Dieters can also eat limited amounts of fruits and vegetables, beef, chicken, and brown rice during the seven-day period. The diet is usually used to lose weight fast, since it limits calorie intake severely, but doing so isn’t healthy or sustainable for long-term health. You could also feel more weak and tried than usual from eating so little.


Apple-cider vinegar has been touted in recent years asa weight loss tool, but research on the diet is thin.

Kristin Salaky / INSIDERResearch has yet to conclusively prove that apple cider vinegar has the ability to promote weight loss.

The diet involves one to two tablespoons of apple-cider vinegar daily before eating any meals. Proponents believe that the acetic cid in the vinegar can help boost metabolism and therefore help with weight loss. The apple cider vinegar is very acidic and is diluted before use, usually in water.

Extensive, peer-reviewed research has yet to suggest apple cider vinegar has the ability to promote weight loss, though.


Popping a diet supplement may sound like a magical way to lose weight, but it isn’t.

“Sellers of these supplements might claim that their products help you lose weight by blocking the absorption of fat or carbohydrates, curbing your appetite, or speeding up your metabolism. But there’s little scientific evidence that weight-loss supplements work,” as the National Institutes of Health says.

At best they will do little for your waistline, and at worst they will do serious harm.

Unlike prescription drug makers, diet-pill makers are largely unregulated: They don’t have to prove their cocktails of herbs and minerals actually work, and they alone are responsible for making sure their supplements are safe.

However, the US Food and Drug Administration sometimes steps in to take supplements off the market, or force manufacturers to change their labelling, if supplement makers are lying about the effectiveness of their product and there’s no evidence to support their claims, or if a product is deemed unsafe.

For example, the FDA took ephedra off the market in 2004. The plant product can suppress appetite and increase calorie burn in the body, stimulating the nervous system and leading to weight loss, but it’s also deadly dangerous and can lead to nausea, vomiting, anxiety, mood changes, high blood pressure, abnormal heartbeats, strokes, seizures, heart attacks, and death.

Diet pills can also interact with other drugs you may be taking in strange ways, so it’s important to check with your doctor before you start popping one.


Some people eat tons of iodine rich foods in an effort to kick-start their metabolisms.

A diet rich in iodine can help keep your thyroid gland humming along healthily.

Foods that are iodine-rich are typically healthful additions to a diet, like seaweed, cheese, milk, eggs, iodized salt, and fresh saltwater fish.

A condition called hyperthyroidism <- an overactive thyroid- can lead to weight loss. But trying to hack your way into good health, by eating a diet extremely high in iodine or popping supplements, is a dangerous strategy.

Not only can hyperthyroidism lead to troubling side effects like muscle fatigue, it can prompt a rapid irregular heartbeat, trouble sleeping, diarrhoea, trouble breathing and swallowing, and in some cases, death. What’s more, getting too much iodine can actually set certain people up for developing hypothyroidism, which slows down metabolism.

It’s best to stick to a more balanced plan, incorporating iodine rich foods into your diet, not relying on those foods (or untested iodine supplements) as one’s sole sustenance.


Alkaline dieters believe that eating less acidic foods can help with weight loss and prevent arthritis and cancer.

Joanna Gaines/FacebookMost vegetables are considered alkaline foods.

The diet suggests that eating low-acid foods, or more alkaline foods, will help the body obtain a more neutral state and prevent disease. That means dieters can’t eat most dairy products and produce like tomatoes because they are considered too acidic.

Experts say there isn’t really a way to change the pH level of the body, though. Also, no studies have proven that acid in the blood, stomach, or urine can cause cancer like the diet suggests.


The HCG diet, which claims dieters can lose up to two pounds a day, has been called dangerous by the FDA.

Sonya Yruel/Drug Policy AllianceHCG comes in oral droplet or spray form.

HCG stands for human chronic gonadotropin, a hormone typically at high levels in the body during early pregnancy. The diet was invented in 1954 by a British doctor and allows only 500 calories a day, which is well below the recommended amount.

The diet is also supplemented with HCG, usually in the form of oral drops or sprays, although when the diet was first invented, an HCG injection was administered.

Studies on the HCG diet have found that the weight loss people experience has nothing to do with the HCG hormone, but simply with the scary small number of calories dieters consume.


Kate Middleton was rumoured to have tried the Dukan diet, which was ranked the worst diet of 2019 by US News & World Report in its annual ranking.

The diet was named after its creator, Pierre Dukan, and involves eating a high-protein and low-carb diet to lose weight. There are various phases to the diet, and one includes a day where you eat only protein.

Experts have said the diet is restrictive and unsafe and that there is no proof it is effective for weight loss.


The General Motors diet is a seven-day weight-loss plan that has nothing to do with the car company.

Many people mistakenly believe this diet was developed at General Motors in the ’80s as a weight-loss plan for employees, but it’s not true.

“We’ve concluded it’s an urban myth,” GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson told The New York Times. “It’s a fairly unconventional diet, and in the 1980s G.M. was the most conventional of companies.”

The GM diet is a bizarre plan, whoever did come up with it.

The one week diet kicks off with a day of only fruit (heavy on the melons), followed by another that’s purely vegetables, starting out with a baked potato for breakfast.

Then the diet moves on to more variety. Both fruit and vegetables are allowed on day three, and then only bananas, milk, and soup on the fourth day. Finally dieters round out the week on a more savoury note with beef and tomatoes on day five; beef and vegetables on six; and brown rice, veggies, and juice on day seven. No one said this diet made any sense.


On the ice-water diet, you’re supposed to drink only ice-cold water and consume nothing else besides that and small amounts of produce.

Christopher Furlong/Getty ImagesYour body needs more than water to stay healthy.

Consuming nothing but water will, of course, lead to weight loss, but doing so can lead to serious nutrient deficiencies, since the diet is essentially a fast.

Although drinking water is important, you must also eat regular balanced meals to stay healthy.


The Sacred Heart diet, like the cabbage soup diet, requires dieters eat mainly soup for seven days straight.

Daniel Zemans/FlickrDieters have to eat a special soup recipe.

Instead of cabbage soup, Sacred Heart dieters eat a special soup recipe that contains stewed tomatoes, beef broth, carrots, celery, and a few other ingredients. No one is quite sure where the diet originated, but people use it to lose weight quickly, even though science has shown these types of crash diets are unsafe and typically result in the dieter gaining weight back.


On the blood-type diet, your food options determined based on your blood type.

Getty Images/Joern Pollex

People who have type O blood, for example, are supposed to eat a high-protein diet, while people with type A blood shouldn’t eat any meat, according to the diet plan. Depending on your blood type, the diet could severely restrict what you can eat, which could lead to nutrient deficiencies.

A 2013 review of the diet found no proof it works.


The Dubrow Diet is a new plan from the reality-TV husband-and-wife pair Heather and Terry Dubrow. In many ways, it’s just an intermittent-fasting routine.

Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Nobu Newport BeachTerry and Heather Dubrow developed a diet that’s similar to intermittent fasting.

Terry Dubrow catapulted to fame on the TV show “Botched,” and he and his wife, Heather, starred in “The Real Housewives of Orange County.”

They’re leveraging that fame to tout a diet plan that is essentially a version of intermittent fasting, a regimen in which dieters spend up to 16 hours a day fasting, confining their eating to an eight-hour window.

One reason the Dubrow plan may be effective is that it keeps people from mindlessly snacking all day. But fasting also has the potential to increase ketone levels in the body, which can be a problem, especially for type 1 diabetic patients, who are at risk of developing diabetic ketoacidosis if the body starts running out of insulin.

The couple claim that 100 adults who tried the diet for six months under the Dubrows’ supervision lost 33 to 86 pounds. But rapid weight loss doesn’t always last, and yo-yo dieting can have serious consequences for your heart.


Steven Gundry, the surgeon behind the Dr. Gundry diet plan, says you’re at “war” with your genes and certain foods are to blame.

Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Music Business Association

Gundry has authored two books on dieting, along with a cookbook. His latest, “The Plant Paradox,” villainizes plant proteins called lectins, which are in lots of foods, including grains, beans, tomatoes, and potatoes.

Kelly Clarkson loves this eating regimen, but experts in nutrition do not.

“There are some studies on lectins since the 1970s, but they are very inconsistent, and a lot of them are in very isolated environments like in test tubes or animals,” Ariana Cucuzza, a dietitian nutritionist at the Cleveland Clinic, told Live Science, adding that translating the results of those studies to humans could “be very confusing” and that “people don’t really know how it affects us.”


The Scarsdale diet is a low-carb diet that has dieters eat strict portions of protein, fat, and carbohydrates to lose weight fast.

ShutterstockThe diet claims to help people lose up to 20 pounds in two weeks.

Dieters eat three meals a day, and each must consist of 43% protein, 22.5% fat, and 34.5% carbohydrates and are supposed to drink at least four cups of water daily. The Scarsdale diet is meant to be done for one or two weeks straight and says dieters can lose up to 20 pounds during that time.

Losing that amount of weight so quickly is unsafe and can result in weight gain following the diet.


To be on the medieval diet, consume two loaves of bread and three pints of ale every day, then work hard manual labour for 12 hours.

In medieval times, when water was often suspect, people opted to hydrate with ales and load up their plates with lots of bread and potatoes, often skipping breakfast.

It’s not clear if anyone has actually tried to maintain this diet long-term in modern times, but one writer who tried medieval dieting out for a week and a half for Atlas Obscura found she “didn’t even get that drunk” and actually enjoyed incorporating more rich broths and stews into her diet, while forgoing sugar.

At the time, a peasant’s diet was much healthier than a king’s, relying more on plant proteins and nutritious phytochemicals for sustenance instead of subsisting on the rich meats that can prompt gout in high doses.

“The medieval diet was very fresh food,” food historian Food historian Caroline Yeldham told the BBC. “There were very few preserves so everything was made fresh and it was low in fat and low in salt and sugar.”

Doctors likewise suggest that the grainy, low-nutrient medieval plan isn’t totally flawed, as long as you’re working out like a peasant and not a king.


The Atkins diet was invented in the 1960s by cardiologist Robert C. Atkins and involves eating a low amount of carbohydrates and high amounts of fat and protein.

Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesThe Atkins diet suggests eating low-carb foods.

Kim Kardashian has attributed the diet to her weight loss in the past. It requires dieters to go through multiple phases, like cutting carbohydrate intake to 20 grams a day during phase one.

That means carbohydrates make up just 10% of a dieter’s daily calories, when most nutritional guidelines recommended getting 45% to 65% of your daily calories from carbs, according to the Mayo Clinic. Cutting carbohydrates so quickly and so severely can initially cause fatigue, constipation, headaches, and other adverse side effects.

Atkins ranked 37 out of 41 diets in US News & World Report’s annual ranking, largely because the diet’s weight loss effects come from it causing a diuretic response, not from instilling healthy and sustainable eating habits.


The ketogenic diet is extremely low in carbohydrates and high in fat. It aims to get dieters in a metabolic state called ketosis, where the body burns fat for energy, but it is not a plan people should toy around with on their own.

Africa Studio/Shutterstock

The keto diet could be considered the OG of fad diets. William Banting, a London funeral director, accidentally discovered his own meaty version of the plan in the 1860s and authored a wildly popular how-to booklet, losing a total of over 50 pounds on his “Banting Diet.”

On a well-planned ketogenic diet, people get 70% to 80% of their daily calories from fat, another 20% to 25% from protein sources, and consume very few carbohydrates. Keto dieters are thus known for filling up on ketogenic-friendly staples like cauliflower, eggs, cheese, and meat, while avoiding grain-based breads, pastas, and other high-carb foods including apples and carrots.

Ketogenic diets can be also doctor-recommended under the right circumstances; it’s a well-established way to help control type 2 diabetes, and the plan has for nearly 100 years been used to reduce instances of childhood epileptic seizures.

But if people aren’t careful about how they approach it, the fatty routine can be disastrous.

Relying too much on protein-packed foods like red meat and cream, while not getting enough essential nutrients from plants can cause dieters to raise up their odds of developing health problems like gout while putting extra stress on the kidneys.

It typically takes around five days for a person’s body to enter the ketosis fat-burning state, and this diet shouldn’t ever be treated as a quick-fix yo-yo plan for a little extra flab.

“You need to be committed,” cancer researcher David Harper, who’s been on a keto diet himself for six years, previously told Business Insider.

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