The 10 Most Famous Fad Diets of All Time

People have understood the importance of eating right and hence, are always on the lookout for a good diet that can help them to achieve their weight management goals. However, when it comes to fad diets, you may come across too many options on the internet. These fad diets may be overwhelming as they claim quick weight loss.

You need to choose the right diet for you as per your health conditions, medications you are taking and most importantly after talking to your primary healthcare provider. The options available are endless and hence, you must choose the diet wisely. Here is the list of 10 of the most popular fad diets with their benefits and downsides to help you choose the right match for your health goals.

Most Famous Fad Diets

Before starting any diet, you must remember that rapid weight loss cannot be sustainable. Quick weight loss diets may not be healthy and you may gain weight once you stop the diet. Let us have a look at the 10 most popular fad diets.

Paleo Diet

The Paleo diet emphasizes whole foods, lean protein, vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts. The other flexible versions of the Paleo diet may permit the consumption of dairy products like butter and cheese, but the majority of Paleo diets discourage processed food, sugar, grains and dairy products.

In this diet, you consume fewer carbohydrates and more proteins. As a result, you consume 300 to 900 fewer calories than the everyday requirement. Some studies claim that the Paleo diet may reduce waist size and promote significant weight loss. This diet may be effective in reducing risk factors for heart disease like triglycerides, blood pressure and cholesterol. Also, it may help people with diabetes as it controls the blood sugar in the body. However, the Paleo diet totally eliminates whole grains, legumes and dairy products which are healthy and nutritious.

Keto Diet

The goal of this Keto diet is to push your body into a state of ketosis where it burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. This low-carbohydrates and high-fat ketogenic diet replace carbohydrates with unsaturated fats like seeds, nuts, butter, oil, cheese and avocados. The Keto diet may help in weight loss and type 2 diabetes.

Also, it may help children with epilepsy as it may reduce seizures due to a reduction in inflammation in the brain. However, the side effects of the Keto diet can be unintended weight gain, kidney problems and heart issues. The state of ketosis can be dangerous for people with Type 1 diabetes as it may cause acid buildup in the bloodstream. Also, the Keto diet restricts many foods with health benefits and may not be a long-term solution.

The Atkins Diet

It is the most popular low-carbohydrates weight loss diet which permits more consumption of protein and fats by avoiding carbohydrates. The Atkins diet is split into four phases which begin with the induction phase and here you are allowed to eat 20 grams of carbohydrates per day for two weeks. After that, the next phases allow the slow reintroduction of healthy carbohydrates into the diet.

Many studies have found this diet to be beneficial for faster weight loss. It helps to reduce belly fat and overall weight loss. Also, it may reduce risk factors for chronic health conditions like heart problems and diabetes. Compared to other diets, this diet is easier to stick to. One of the downsides of this diet is that it may lack calcium.

Mediterranean Diet

It is often termed a heart-healthy diet as it includes vegetables, legumes, fruits, whole grains, olive oil and heart-healthy fats. The foods that are permitted in this diet are from the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea like Greece and Italy. This diet also allows red wine in moderation and allows consumption of seafood, nuts, unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids.

The Mediterranean diet limits sweets, dairy products and red meat and encourages regular physical activity. The diet may help to reduce the risk of heart problems, diabetes, some cancers and Parkinson's disease. No doubt, it is one of the healthiest diets considering the alternatives and eating patterns for the followers, but it may develop vitamin D deficiency when you cut back on dairy products.

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasters have to focus on when they eat. They have to follow a strict schedule alternating the periods of eating and fasting. Usually, there is a six to eight-hour window each day. Some may choose to eat only one meal for a few days every week. Drinking a lot of water to stay hydrated is encouraged.

The diet gives you the flexibility to choose your eating and fasting schedule. It may improve health conditions like obesity, heart problems, some cancer and neurological disorders. However, people who are pregnant, breastfeeding or taking insulin require regular food intake and this diet may not be suitable for them. Also, fasting may result in overeating, undereating, irritability or abrupt weight gain.

DASH diet

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet focuses on the intake of foods with low sodium and low fat. It is often recommended for people with heart problems and hypertension. The diet permits the consumption of high-potassium foods like fruits, vegetables, beans and lentils along with low-fat products like fish, poultry and unsalted nuts. The DASH diet may lower blood pressure and the plan is adaptable to any lifestyle. However, consuming less sodium may be unhealthy.

Vegan Diet

This diet eliminates all animal-derived products like eggs, honey, dairy products and meat. A vegan diet is high in fibre and low in cholesterol and is often linked to lower inflammation. This plant-based diet may control chronic health diseases and obesity. Vegans may experience depression or an increase in the risk of stroke as they have low levels of vitamin B12.

You may have to consult a doctor and take some supplements to avoid nutritional deficiencies. Research shows that a vegan diet is beneficial as it restricts whole and minimally processed foods, but giving up all animal products like honey or milk can be tough for some people.

Weight Watchers

The Weight Watchers (WW) system focuses on eating a balanced diet and eating everything you want but in moderation. You can easily track what you eat and through the system get the motivation to follow your weight management goals.

Local support is provided through virtual meetings and the diet has been in practice for more than 40 years. It offers immense flexibility but also makes it a bit difficult to overcome the temptation to eat your favorite foods in moderation.

Zone Diet

This diet maintains the balance of foods you consume by adding protein and reducing carbohydrates. A zone diet may help you in weight loss, reset metabolism and reduce the risk of chronic health conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

Typically, followers have to adopt a 30-30-40 breakdown to control their insulin levels in the body and hunger. Here, you consume 30 percent protein, 30 percent fat and 40 percent carbohydrates. The variety of food options and ease of use make it one of the popular diets. However, some may feel this diet is restrictive and light on nutrients.

Dukan Diet

It is a high-protein and low-carbohydrate weight-loss diet which is divided into four phases. Each phase has its own dietary pattern and two phases are for weight loss while two are for maintenance. The weight loss phases permit consuming unlimited high-protein foods, while the maintenance phases may permit consuming non-starchy vegetables for carbohydrates and fats.

This diet may decrease the hunger hormone ghrelin and result in weight loss. The weight loss may also come at a cost of muscle loss and calorie restriction which may cause the body to regain weight easily.


Different diets may work for different people. Your doctor is the best person who can determine whether the diet is suitable for you or not. Alternatively, you have to choose the diet that suits your lifestyle, tastes and health conditions. Always go for a long-term diet which can help you stay fit.