4 Formerly Popular Diets that Aren't Recommended Today

Discover the reasons why these four once-trendy diets are no longer recommended. Protect your well-being with a truly balanced diet.
4 Formerly Popular Diets that Aren't Recommended Today
Maria Patricia Pinero Corredor

Reviewed and approved by the nutritionist Maria Patricia Pinero Corredor.

Written by Editorial Team

Last update: 26 December, 2023

There are countless popular diets that were trendy until just a few years ago. In fact, to this day, many people continue to share dietary models that spread the idea that rapid weight loss is possible, among numerous other benefits. But why are most of these diets discouraged?

According to an article shared in Frontiers in Nutrition, many of the fad diets are ineffective, not only because they are restrictive, but also because they are difficult to maintain over time, can cause nutritional deficits, and have side effects. In this article, we’ll take a look at four dietary programs that are not recommended today

From fad to obsolete: Discover the diets that were trendy

With your best friend excited about the results of his Paleo diet and your sister committed to a raw food diet, you might wonder if you’re falling behind on the trends. However, it’s essential to remember that blindly following the fad isn’t always the best option for your health.

It’s time to dust off those eating regimens that captured the attention of many in the past and have now been forgotten. Read on to find out why these diets are no longer trending and why they don’t help you achieve a healthier, more balanced diet.

The Atkins diet

Cardiologist Robert C. Atkins was the architect behind this eating plan. In the 1960s, Atkins postulated that carbohydrates were the main culprit for health problems and weight gain.

Motivated by this belief, he developed a diet that relies on carbohydrate restriction and a preference for foods abundant in protein and fat to achieve and maintain the desired weight.

The Atkins diet is structured in four phases; however, the first is the most restrictive. This ‘induction’ stage is characterized by a very low carbohydrate intake (20 grams net per day).

To monitor carbohydrate intake, an approach called “net carbohydrate” is used, which is calculated by subtracting the amount of fiber from the total amount of carbohydrates in grams.

What are the risks of the Atkins diet?

Restricting carbohydrate intake can also lead to ketosis. This occurs when the body does not get enough to convert them into sugar for energy.

In response, the body breaks down stored fat and ketones build up in the body. This situation can lead to side effects such as nausea and bad breath.

According to Mayo Clinic specialists, reducing carbohydrates to the extreme during the first phase of this plan can also lead to a number of side effects such as the following:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation

On the other hand, the Cleveland Clinic warns about other aspects of the Atkins diet that are worth keeping in mind. First of all, this regimen allows the consumption of processed meats, which are rich in fat and sodium.

Regarding this, it’s important to consider the negative effects it can cause on long-term health. For example, they have been shown to increase the risk of heart problems and certain types of cancer.

In addition, it excludes healthy foods such as fruits and some vegetables in order to stay below the carbohydrate limit.

These foods are an important source of vitamins, minerals, disease-fighting phytochemicals, and fiber, essential elements for a balanced and healthy diet. Restricting their consumption can deprive the body of essential nutrients and negatively affect overall health.

Smart eating: how to design a balanced weekly menu
The key to any healthy diet is eating a wide variety of nutrients.

Like this article? We think you may also like to read: Beyoncé’s Diet and Workout to Maintain her Figure at 41 Years Old

This eating plan is a ‘modern interpretation’ of what people might have consumed during the Paleolithic era. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2.5 million years ago it consisted of eating legumes, root vegetables, seeds, nuts, insects, shellfish, and honey.

Today, it’s based on the inclusion of lean meats, fish, low-glycemic fruits and vegetables, nuts, and seeds. In addition, it largely avoids the consumption of carbohydrates, dairy, most types of added sugar, and certain oils, such as canola oil.

It doesn’t emphasize calorie counting or portion sizes. Some plans even allow a few cheat meals per week.

What are its risks?

The Paleolithic diet, like any dietary approach, carries certain risks that are important to be aware of. Here are some of them:

  • Constipation. There are those who base the Paleolithic diet on animal protein and neglect carbohydrate sources that provide fiber. This misconception can lead to problems such as constipation, since the lack of fiber negatively affects the digestive process.
  • Risk of high cholesterol. As explained by experts at UC Davis Healthat the University of California, the Paleo diet is high in saturated fats because it involves a higher intake of animal-based foods. Consequently, following this diet for a long time can raise bad cholesterol levels and, therefore, the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Changes in intestinal bacteria. According to a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, people who follow a long-term Paleo diet may experience negative changes in their microbiota and have higher levels of harmful bacteria.
  • Osteoporosis and fractures. On the other hand, if calcium and vitamin D aren’t consumed from allowed foods or a vitamin supplement, the risk of osteoporosis and fractures is also elevated.

The Raw food diet

The raw and unprocessed food diet, known as ‘raw food’ or ‘raw diet’, was a trend in the past, but has lost popularity in recent times. This is based on consuming food in its natural state, without subjecting it to any type of heating that may alter its structure.

This diet includes various preparation methods such as soaking, dehydrating, and juicing foods. In addition, it allows for chopping and blending the ingredients. However, it’s important to note that the diet excludes any food that has been heated above 104° to 118°F (40° to 48°C).

Within the dietary recommendations of this lifestyle, a variety of choices are included:

  • Raw or dehydrated fruits and vegetables
  • Freshly made fruit and vegetable juices
  • Soaked and sprouted beans and grains
  • Raw nuts and seeds
  • Coconut milk
  • Almond milk
  • Powdered green foods, such as dried wheat grass or seaweed
  • Fermented foods, such as kimchi and sauerkraut
  • Eggs, fish, and raw meats

However, it’s recommended to avoid certain foods in this lifestyle, such as refined oils, salt, sugar, coffee, tea, alcohol, and pasta.

What are the risks?

Diving into the world of the raw food diet was tempting, but it isn’t as safe as you might think. Behind that fresh and natural appearance, food hides dangerous secrets. In fact, the act of cooking plays a relevant role in breaking down toxic chemicals present in them and reducing the risk of poisoning.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), those animal products that have not passed through fire are the main culprits wreaking havoc on our health.

We are talking about raw and undercooked meats, including chicken; unpasteurized milk and its derivatives, and, of course, seafood. As mentioned in previous lines, this regimen advocates the consumption of raw eggs, however, a study published in 2017 mentions that this practice can cause salmonellosis.

But beware! Don’t think that raw fruits and vegetables are exempt from risk. Although you may be less likely to suffer consequences when eating them in their natural form, bacteria can lurk in them.

Fortunately, cooking and washing them well can eliminate that danger. This way, you can enjoy their flavor and avail yourself of their benefits without fear.

Fad diets

We think you may also like to read this article: The Soup Diet: Why Is It Not a Good Option for Weight Loss?

This is another diet that was trending and is certainly one of the most shocking. Also known as the ‘K-E diet’, it consists of an extreme approach in which a technique called ” nasogastric tube feeding” is used.

In this case, a feeding tube is inserted through the nose to steadily pump in a mixture of proteins, fats, and micronutrients to provide about 800 calories a day.

According to a report in TIME Magazine, the diet works by pushing the body into the early stages of starvation. When calories are reduced so drastically, the body responds by entering a state of ketosis, in which it begins to burn stored fat.

On the other hand, by causing such rapid weight loss, this diet can cause the body to lose not only fat, but muscle mass as well.

At the time, the K-E diet was a trend among brides looking to slim down before their big day.

What are its risks?

Research from Stanford Medicine reports that nasogastric tube feeding can have some side effects, including:

  • Constipation
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin problems (around the tube site)
  • Problems with the feeding tube, such as blockages (obstruction) and involuntary movements (displacement)
Remember that this therapy is only recommended for people who do not get enough nutrients in the conventional way or psychiatric patients who refuse to eat.

Lessons learned from former trend diets: Prioritizing long-term health

In conclusion, past trend diets have exposed their lack of sustainability and potential long-term health risks.

Obsession with following restrictive or extreme diets can lead to nutritional imbalances and eating disorders. For this reason, it’s important to remember that the key to healthy eating lies in adopting a balanced approach.

Fruits and vegetables are abundant sources of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, so it’s recommended to include them in every meal. Whole grains, such as brown rice and quinoa, provide fiber, while proteins such as chicken, fish, beans, and dairy products are essential for tissue development and repair.

In addition, it’s important not to forget healthy fats, such as those found in avocado, nuts, and olive oil, which are essential for brain function. Also, pay attention to portions and moderate consumption of processed foods rich in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium.

Instead of looking for quick fixes and fads, it’s better to focus on establishing long-term sustainable eating habits that promote overall health and wellness.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.