Raise your hand if you take diet advice from The Devil Wears Prada: “I eat absolutely nothing at all and when I feel like I’m about to faint I eat a cube of cheese.” Ah yes, the crash diet. We know you well. But lately, other, more reputable-sounding diets have been springing up. Cleansing, juicing, all-meat, no-carb, low-carb…the list goes on and on. What’s scary now is that some of these diets are actually terrible for you and they’re masquerading behind healthy talk. Here’s a list of three of the worst offenders and why you should stay the hell away from them.
Let’s talk about the main idea behind juicing that people don’t seem to stop and think about before embarking on a juice diet: juice is just the stuff that fruits and vegetables leave behind.
“By juicing a fruit or vegetable, you're likely eliminating a lot of the "good stuff" from them, like fiber,” says Meghan Cohen, the coordinator for the Center for Health and Wellbeing at the University of Maryland.
The reason fruits and vegetables are good for you in the first place is that they contain fiber which keeps you full, and lots of vital nutrients.
Juicing leaves you with sugary, flavored water that will first of all not fill you up and second of all send your energy levels crashing as soon as your body processes those sugars, which will be quickly.
Plus, these juices still have a ton of vitamins in them, and even too much of the good stuff can be no good for you. Ever wonder why there’s a childproof cap on gummy vitamins? Because you can overdose on them. Talk about too much of a good thing.
I’m not sure when the idea that flushing out every single thing in your body became widely thought of as not only a good, but healthy idea, but it’s probably the worst offender in the books.
Cleanses are hugely popular, and the industry will probably only continue to grow if people believe the health claims like the ones the BluePrintCleanse site promises: that cleanses are “the perfect partner” for prescribed antibiotics and that they “fight off degenerative diseases.”
“There is really no such thing as "cleansing" or "detoxing" because that's what our body has a liver, kidneys, and intestines for,” Cohen says. “Our bodies do a terrific job of "detoxing" on their own, so any "cleanse" or "detox" diets are pretty pointless.”
Fasting and a lack of protein are both pillars of cleansing, and both of these things make you feel like crap. Your body needs protein to function and without it you can experience headaches and fatigue. Fasting is an obvious one—it gives your body less fuel to do what it needs to do, for example fight off the flu that’s STILL going around despite the fact that it’s April.
It’s insane how few people realize that fat is good for you. Fat is great for you, in fact. The right types of fat that is. Obviously not the kind that comes oozing ever so delightfully out of your Chick-Fil-A bag, but the kind that comes in nuts, fish, avocados and a lot of other foods.
“Fats are a main source of energy for our bodies, as well as a key component in brain development, blood clotting, and other normal body functions,” junior dietetics major Katie Meade says. “Fats also help your body absorb vitamins and nutrients that help eye, skin, hair, and bone health.”
People are laboring under the misconception that if there’s less fat in your diet, you won’t be fat either.
“It's important to note that any "diet" that asks you to eliminate an entire food group is probably not going to provide your body what it needs,” Meade says.
But healthy fats are what help fill you up and stop you from snacking. They’re also what keep your hair nice and shiny, and oh—in your head. Fat keeps your nails strong and your heart healthy.
Without enough fat in your diet, your hair can thin or fall out and your nails can chip and crack and your body won’t do all the great stuff it’s supposed to be doing.