Which Popular Diet Plans Are Completely Impractical?

So, you’re ready to try a new diet. Lucky for you there are a bazillion fad diets out there that are supposedly super great and are sure to have you slimmed down in no time.

Hold up. You probably want to do a little homework before you jump into some of these swanky plans. Why? Because while some of them seem great, they are actually quite problematic. In addition to not being the healthiest methods of weight loss, some plans actually make your life more difficult than it needs to be.

Which weight-eviscerating regimens are actually just a major pain in the behind? We looked into it and found 10 impractical plans that you are better off skipping.

The 5 Bites Diet

Wait, I can only have HOW much of this pasta? |  iStock.com

Here is portion control 2.0. You can eat whatever you want, but you can only have five bites of it. For starters, it isn’t healthy, as it requires you to skip breakfast — which is bad for your metabolism — and you’ll have to take a multivitamin to make up for the lack of nutrients you take in during the day. Sounds like more of a burden than a diet plan. Also, can we pause and recognize how wasteful this is? Who wants to make a whole pot of pasta just to take five bites of it? If portion control is what you are after, you’re better off going for a plan with more spoonfuls.

The Cabbage Soup Diet

fresh cabbage on a white background

Have a scrumptious bowl of cabbage soup… every day. | iStock.com/Valentyn Volkov

Seriously, nobody has the time to make that much cabbage soup. But this plan, which involves consuming mass quantities of cabbage soup over the course of a week, is more than just a time suck. As Katherine Zeratsky, R.D. of Mayo Clinic explains, the lack of nutrition in this diet can cause you to lose muscle and water weight. “Because you’re not getting proper nutrition,” Zeratsky said, “you may feel weak or tired while on the diet. And once you stop the diet, it’s easy to regain any weight that you lost.”

The Raw Food Diet

various of fresh vegetables

The smell of anything cooked will certainly drive you crazy after a couple of days on this diet. | iStock.com/vicuschka

Despite probably being extremely difficult to shop for — who has time to buy fresh veg every other day? — raw veganism sounds about as health-conscious as it gets. But the celebrity-promoted diet can actually be incredibly hazardous to your health over a long period of time. Genetics expert Steven Jones told MSN that while this method will definitely make you lose weight, you would also “starve to death” after six months because of the lack of nutrition. While incorporating more veg into your diet is great, you’re better off keeping other foods in your meal rotation. Trust us, grocery shopping will be so much more practical this way.

The Master Cleanse

serving or refreshing summer lemonade garnished with mint

Just say no to this impractical diet. |  iStock.com

Everyone remembers when the lemonade diet, aka Master Cleanse, emerged. All of a sudden, celebrities and the most obnoxious self-proclaimed health guru at work were relegating themselves to just drinking spicy lemon water and laxative tea. It all sounds great until you find out this diet deprives you of food for 10 days, which will cause you to feel tired, light-headed, and starved. So, unless you are independently wealthy and can lie at home feeling like garbage, you are going to be detoxing while trying to perform your everyday tasks.

Plus, the weight loss doesn’t last long. “You will likely gain the weight back really quickly once you start eating normally,” Dr. Hansa Bhargava tells WebMD. “If weight loss is the goal, it is better to lose weight gradually with a balanced diet that makes sure you get the nutrients you need. Cross this one off your list.”

Any liquid diet

Green kale smoothie

Going with a diet made only of juices and smoothies just doesn’t make much sense. | iStock.com/jenifoto

Restricting your solid food intake will probably cause you to drop a couple pounds; however, you are going to be miserable and starving the entire time. This is because our brains don’t register that we are full from liquids like solid foods. “The mechanisms controlling hunger and thirst are completely different,” Live Science explains, “and liquids — even if they contain calories — don’t seem to satisfy hunger even if they quench your thirst.” Chances are you’ll have constant hunger pangs. Plus, when you go to satisfy that hunger with solid food, you will then be taking in even more calories. Do yourself a favor, and keep some solid food in your plan.

The Blood Type Diet

sample of blood collection

This diet is beyond complicated. | iStock.com/Ca-ssis

Have you seen how complicated this diet is? The dietary restrictions for this plan, which is based on your blood type, are quite strict and may require more preparation in the kitchen. Plus, it calls for a list of supplements and organic foods, which can end up costing you a pretty penny. But a diet this regimented and expensive must be super effective then, right? Not so fast. WebMD tells us any weight you lose on this plan has nothing to do with blood type. The article concludes by saying, “If the Blood Type Diet intrigues you, consider this: The science is stacked behind traditional recommendations for healthy eating for weight loss — not restrictions based on the type of your blood.”


candy gummy worms

Tapeworms are slightly more sinister than candy ones. | iStock.com/jenifoto

The fact that this is a weight loss option is still a bit baffling. There’s a reason why Mayo Clinic has it filed under “Diseases and Conditions.” Nevertheless, the practice of ingesting the parasite gained interest and a celebrity following a few years back because it reportedly helps you drop weight. The reasons for skipping this diet are no-brainers: Having a tapeworm in your system causes nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, among other loathsome side effects. Now, wanting to lose weight is completely understandable. But making yourself sick and inconveniencing your body has to be the most impractical weight loss idea out there.

The 3-Hour Diet

Healthy food concept

Could you handle eating every three hours? | iStock.com/Tatomm

Of all of the fad diets on this list, Jorge Cruise’s 3-Hour Diet probably sounds the least ridiculous. Eating small amounts according to the timetable is, in theory, a pretty good idea. But problems arise when it comes to sticking to the strict timetable and 400-calorie portion sizes. For starters, you have to be heavily aware of the time, and almost always have food within arm’s reach. (What if you get caught on the subway and can’t get to food on schedule?) And while there are very few dietary restrictions as WebMD points out, not portioning properly defeats the whole purpose of the diet.

The HCG Diet

Medical syringe

A diet that requires injections? Hard pass. | iStock.com/lendy16

Ah yes, the diet that requires you to inject yourself with hormones. No. 1 sign of impracticality: Sticking yourself with a dang needle on a regular basis. But not only is it impractical, it’s also dangerous. As a recent New York Post piece points out, there is no real evidence that the injections promote weight loss — only that the body isn’t built to withstand so much extra hormones. Stroke and ovarian hyperstimulation are among the major health problems that can arise from the HCG shots.

The no-eating-when-hungry diet

Plate with crumbs and used fork

The easiest way to stay full is to eat in the first place. | iStock.com/serezniy

Surely you already know that fasting has its pitfalls. It messes up your metabolism, and has the potential to make you gain even more weight once you start eating again. But what makes this so-called diet plan such an inconvenience is that it also makes you sluggish and light-headed, making it impossible for you to function properly. Now here you are, tired and starving, and unable to think about anything but the fact that you can’t eat. In short: A diet should be for losing weight, not your sanity.