5 Weight-Loss Scams Too Many People Are Falling For

People are quick to try new health and diet trends without doing too much research, and it shows. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 70.7% of Americans over the age of 20 are overweight. The problem with addressing the issue by opting for such weight-loss scams is they often require eliminating certain food groups that our bodies need. This can lead to deficiencies and scores of health problems. So how do you know which ones to avoid? Easy. Steer clear of these five fad diets.

1. Raw food diet

vegetable in retro refrigerator bin

The raw food diet may not help with weight loss after all. | iStock.com/KenTannenbaum

When following this type of lifestyle, basically everything you eat will be raw. This means your daily food intake will be filled with raw vegetables, fruits, sprouted grains, seeds, and nuts. According to WebMD, some people even consume raw eggs, meat, and fish. Eating raw excludes anything processed and everything that’s heated above 104 degrees Fahrenheit, as mentioned by LiveScience.

Eating raw depletes your body from getting essential nutrients such as vitamin B12, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are all important for normal bodily functions. Our bodies need calories from fat, protein, and carbohydrates, and following a completely raw lifestyle makes it hard to get these nutrients without consuming whole grains and cooked products. You’re better off sticking with cooked foods.

2. Gluten-free

Whole grain wheat kernels

Gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean healthier. | iStock.com

This trend has been quite popular among dieters, but unless you have an actual intolerance, you should be aware of what eliminating it does to your body. According to Scientific American, gluten is a protein found in grains, such as wheat, rye, and barley. Many processed foods that we consume daily, including pastas, breads, and cereals, contain gluten, which can make it tricky to follow this lifestyle in a healthy way. The gluten-free processed foods many end up consuming are often made with refined grains, which don’t have the same valuable vitamins and nutrients that whole grains do.

3. Vegan

Tofu stir fry

Veganism isn’t always the best. | iStock.com

Going vegan means eliminating any and all animal products. This includes meat, fish, dairy, eggs, and even honey, according to Time. Many celebrities have adopted this lifestyle, which is probably one of the main reasons why it’s become such a popular diet. But choosing to go vegan should be more than just choosing options that don’t have any animal products. The problem with going animal-free is that it can also make it hard for your body to obtain essential nutrients.

To name a few, Health mentions it causes lack of vitamin B12 and iron, and it also makes it tough to get enough protein. Popular Science also states that, as omnivores, humans are meant to eat both plant and animal products to get all of the vital nutrients and amino acids needed for muscle mass and bone health.

4. Paleo

Grilled meat with cranberry

The paleo diet requires you to skip out on healthy grains. | iStock.com

This diet brings us back to the way our ancestors ate, and is often called the caveman diet. People who follow this lifestyle eat only what cavemen were able to eat back in the day. This means meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. However, like other popular trends, going paleo eliminates foods that provide our bodies with important nutrients, and can also cause us to eat too much of a few types of food.

UC Davis Medical System explains, while a paleo diet can be healthy, it can also increase the risk of heart and kidney disease from too much protein and saturated fat. The article also mentions that complex carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet, which is a category that includes whole grains. Since paleo devotees skip grains completely, this means they’re missing out.

5. Alkaline

fresh salad with kale, tomatoes, and oranges in a blue bowl

This diet doesn’t make too much sense. | iStock.com

Kate Hudson, Victoria Beckham, and Gwyneth Paltrow all live by an alkaline diet, which caught the attention of health-conscious eaters. This diet looks at pH levels in our body. According to U.S. News & World Report, this is measured on a scale of 0 to 14. Acidic foods fall between 0 and 7 on the scale and alkaline foods fall between 7 and 14.

It’s hard to keep up with this lifestyle because, to keep your body neutral, you’ll have to eat mostly alkaline at each meal. This means no red or processed meats, whole dairy products, many breads, condiments, anything fried, or anything high in fat and sugar. The other problem is it doesn’t make any sense. Medical professionals agree that your pH won’t change substantially, no matter what you eat.