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The Worst Diets Ever: Diets That Don't Work

Avoid these 5 types of diets for best weight loss results, experts say.

The Worst Diets Ever continued...

And what about restrictive diets that offer a rewarding "cheat day"? May labels them "absurd."

"It just doesn't make sense to try to be perfect (whatever that is) on Sunday to Friday while obsessing about everything you are going to eat on Saturday," she says.

2. "Detox" diets (like Master Cleanse, the Hallelujah Diet, and The Martha's Vineyard Diet Detox).  Extreme regimens calling for procedures like liver flushes, bodily cleanses, colonics, hormone injections, and more are highly suspect, experts say.

"All the flushes and cleanses are pure nonsense, unnecessary, and there is no scientific basis for these recommendations," says Pamela Peeke, MD, chief medical correspondent for the Discovery Health channel.  "Your body is well equipped with organs, such as the liver and kidneys, and the immune system, to rid itself of potential toxins and does an excellent job of cleansing itself without needing flushes or cleanses."

3. Diets with 'miracle' foods or ingredients (like supplements, fructose water, bitter orange, green tea, apple cider vinegar). Dieters are always searching for the food, pill, or potion that will help them lose weight, but unfortunately, there are no such miracle ingredients.  "No one single food or group of foods eaten together or at a certain time of day has any impact on weight loss," notes May.  

Be leery of any plan that recommends a shelf full of supplements, enzymes, or potions (especially if you purchase them from the diet book author or company).

"You don't need expensive supplements," says Blatner. "If you want to take a once daily multivitamin for nutritional insurance, that is fine, but otherwise, we recommend you get your nutrients from food."

4. Fasting and very low-calorie diets (like the "Skinny" vegan diet, Hollywood Diet, and Master Cleanse).  Fasting has been a cultural and religious tradition for centuries, and is fine for a day or so, but fasting for weight loss is counterproductive, Giancoli explains.

"When you ... consume too few calories, your body thinks it is starving and adjusts the metabolism," she says. "But when you go back to eating normally, your metabolism doesn't readjust and therefore you need fewer calories than before -- otherwise known as the yo-yo syndrome."

What's worse, weight loss during a fast is usually a combination of fat, fluid, and muscle, but the pounds regained will probably be all fat.  Not convinced yet? Giancoli says you won't feel good, nor will you have much energy to be physically active while fasting.

And what about very low-calorie diets? Blatner say that diets promising losses of more than a half to 1 pound per week are simply not realistic.

"When you see diet books touting 5, 10 or 15 pounds in a short period of time, it is unrealistic," says Blatner. Depending on how much you have to lose, you may experience some initial water loss. But over time, weight loss averages out to around a pound per week, she says.

5. Diets that sound too good to be true (like The Weight Loss Cure 'They' Don't Want You to Know About.) If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Diet plans that claim to have a "secret," that make dramatic statements against respected health authorities, or make recommendations that contradict those of scientific organizations are suspect.

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