Skip These Diet Hacks If You Really Want to Lose Weight

There isn’t one guaranteed weight loss strategy that works for everyone. Many people still turn to the latest diet trends in search of an effective quick fix, however — even though they shouldn’t. Even if your weight loss methods of choice aren’t life-threatening, you could still end up wasting your time — and your money. If you’re serious about shedding extra pounds, avoid these trendy diet hacks, no matter how tempting.

Refusing to eat at night

Woman eats sweets at night.

You’re better off eating a healthy dinner than caving and eating an unhealthy snack later. | Evgenyatamanenko/iStock/Getty Images

According to Fitday, late-night snacking doesn’t guarantee weight gain. Of course, if you’re getting up in the middle of the night and eating an entire package of Oreos, you’re probably going to be disappointed. But snacking on something healthy and full of fiber, like a piece of fruit, isn’t going to ruin your weight loss efforts. If it’s 9 p.m. and you’re hungry, eat.

Not eating only increases your chances of overdoing it at breakfast tomorrow morning, which will probably set you up to gain more weight than you lose.

Shunning carbs

Sweet potato on a wooden table.

Not all carbs are bad. | Margouillatphotos/iStock/Getty Images

Should you get ride of added sugars from your diet to lose weight? Yes. Should you cut all carbs out for the same reason? No. Without the essential nutrition you get from carbs, your metabolism will slow down, your energy levels will plummet, and you most likely won’t lose weight in the long-term.

Carbs are good for you, if you choose healthy sources, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You will literally go hungry without them.

Counting calories

A woman uses a calorie counter application on smartphone.

Counting every calorie can drive you nuts. | DragonImages/iStock/Getty Images

Counting calories doesn’t always lead to weight loss. Whether you mean to or not, you probably under-report what you’re eating, even when entering your food into a food logging app. If you allow yourself 1,500 calories per day, and you have 200 leftover calories after dinner, you’re also much more likely to spend those calories on a cookie instead of something healthier. Also, just because something is only 100 calories doesn’t automatically mean it’s good for you — empty calories and weight loss almost never get along.


Hummus with green olives and pita chips on a table.

Eating “a little bit here and there” can really add up to big calories. | Nettedotca/iStock/Getty Images

There’s nothing more appealing than a diet hack that encourages you to eat more to lose weight — right? That’s the problem, says TIME Health. You’re told to eat more often, but not always what to eat, or how “small” a tiny meal actually is. Despite evidence that eating more mini meals throughout the day does not boost metabolism, it’s still not uncommon to hear that grazing is the best way to lose weight. Honestly, you’ll most likely end up eating more by trying to eat more frequently.

Choosing low-fat and other ‘diet’ foods

Two containers of yogurt on a table.

“Low fat” diets are usually full of sugar and preservatives. | Hanhanpeggy/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Many low-fat, sugar-free, low-sodium foods are still highly processed, which provides little to no nutritional value, warns Healthline. Taking the fat, sugar, or excess sodium out of a food doesn’t stop manufacturers from adding other risky ingredients. To really cut back on saturated fat, added sugars, and salt, you’d need to eat fewer processed foods, and focus on eating more fresh, whole foods, like fruits and vegetables.

Drinking detox teas

A woman holds a mason jar full of tea.

Detox teas can wreck havoc on your digestion. | Malori May/iStock/Getty Images

Drinking special brands of tea might help you lose weight — sort of. However, says there’s a catch — you still have to do the work. You can’t just start drinking a daily mug or more detox tea, continue your couch potato lifestyle, and get results. You actually have to diet and exercise regularly to trigger weight loss. Which makes you wonder — wouldn’t a healthy diet and quality exercise alone do the trick, without detox tea? There isn’t enough research quite yet to say for sure, but the answer is probably yes.

Going gluten-free

A bowl of gluten-free macaroni on a gray table.

Gluten-free diets aren’t necessary for everyone. | Gaus-nataliya/iStock/Getty Images

Most experts agree you shouldn’t give up gluten unless you have to. According to Harvard Health Publications, going gluten-free because you think it’s healthy could actually hurt you. Cutting out most whole grains could result in a fiber-deficient diet, which can cause overeating. Also, many products bearing gluten-free labels are still just as processed and sugar-coated as their gluten-containing alternatives. Gluten-free cake is still cake — eating too much of it can still cause weight gain.