Diet Fads to Avoid in the New Year

In the New Year, it’s a good time to reflect – both personally and professionally. It is also the time of year when sneakers get dusted off, gyms see increased activity, and consumers resolve to be healthier.

Each year, a slew of new diets make “too good to be true” claims about losing weight fast with minimal effort. Here are a few that seemed to be pretty popular in 2014 but that you might want to think twice about in 2015.

“Raspberry Ketone” supplementsjan 1

Dr. Oz touted them as being a “Fat burner in a bottle,” suggesting that they can help with weight-loss efforts. What is it? Raspberry ketone is essentially the compound in red raspberries that provides aroma. Some suggest that the compound may block the metabolism of fat but a review of recent research finds conflicting results and the majority of the studies were in vitro or in mice.

Green Coffee Beans

Green coffee beans are simply raw or unroasted coffee beans. Some researchers claim green coffee bean extract can help with weight loss and the supplement has generated a lot of buzz, also making an appearance on Dr. Oz. Chlorogenic acid is the specific compound found in the bean that they feel is responsible.

One widely cited study, published in the January, 2012, Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity journal, followed 16 adults who took supplements at different dosages or placebo for 12 weeks. Participants were encouraged to consume a similar number of calories daily. All were considered overweight. The subjects lost an average of 18 pounds. While these results seem promising, the study sample size was small and even participants taking placebo lost weight. This suggests participants may have felt encouraged to slim down because they were being monitored as part of the study and that the extract may not have been solely responsible.

Juice Detoxes

These diets involve consuming nothing but juice, water and sometimes tea for anywhere from three to 14 days. The claim is that by replacing meals with juices, you will remove toxins from the body and lose weight. But, the body has its own detox system—the liver, kidneys and gastrointestinal tract—which can and does cleanse the body better than any juice concoction. While research shows that these types of diets may cause temporary weight loss, likely due to water weight, everything returns to normal after returning to food.

Bottom line

There’s no such thing as a quick fix. Even Dr. Oz suggests that in addition to the magic pills, consumers need to also modify their diets and exercise habits to be successful at maintaining a healthy weight. In the New Year, resolve to forget about fad diets and get back to basics with realistic goals for eating better and finding a way to fit in more physical activity.

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