If you’re about to venture onto a diet to help boost your fitness level and health, you need to tread carefully. Far too many individuals jump onto the first diet that appeals to them, which more often than not, is one that promises as rapid of a weight loss progression as possible.

But, this is almost always less than ideal. A proper diet must take care of a few vital elements that are required for fat loss success. If your diet doesn’t, it may produce some quick results as you start shedding excess water weight, but beyond that, you’ll end up losing muscle, not fat.

Clearly not a good thing as far as your long-term appearance and health goes.  To help you steer clear of these ‘diet fads’, as they’re so often called, let’s walk you through the main ones you should beware of so you can stay safe out there in the diet world.

Restrictive ‘Cleansing’ Diets

The very first type of diet to be careful of is any sort of ‘cleansing’ or detoxing diet that is designed as pretty much starvation with the addition of some ‘magical’ concoction.

Any time you see a diet that doesn’t contain at least your weight in pounds in grams of protein per day (so say 130 grams of protein per day for a 130 pound individual), walk the other direction.

This diet is going to set you up to lose lean muscle mass, which will not only bring down your fitness level, it’ll cause your metabolism to run slower, meaning you won’t burn up calories nearly as fast all throughout the day.

A perfect example of this is the popular ‘master cleanse’ diet. Stay away from this one.

Diets That Take You To The Extreme

The next big diet no-no that you don’t want to make is any diet plan that takes you to the extreme. A prime example being the Atkins diet.

While some people have had success on this and it may work for a select few when done 100% properly (note that most people do NOT do it 100% properly), for the vast majority of individuals, it’s not one that will produce viable, long-term results.

Any time you cut out an entire nutrient – carbohydrates as the case is with the Atkins approach, you are asking for trouble.  You’ll be foggy minded, your energy will plummet, you’ll grow deficient in key vitamins and minerals, and a fitness plan? Forget about that. Intense exercise cannot be done when carbohydrates are not present.

A good diet should be about balance.

Diets That Rely On Meal Replacement Shakes

The next quick fix diet fad to steer clear of is any plan that has you relying on meal replacement shakes.  Again, not a prime way to go.  If you are substituting whole foods for shakes, you’ll run into three problems.

First, your diet will lack dietary fiber. You require fiber each day to stay healthy and with no roughage coming in, you’ll get close to no fiber at all.

Second, your diet will lack satiety. How full are you really going to feel drinking liquid all day long? Most people will experience ravenous hunger on these plans. Maybe not at first, but wait for it.  It will come.

Finally, you’ll also be lost as soon as you come off the diet. You can’t live off shakes for the rest of your life, so once you have lost the weight, how will you maintain it? You won’t know how to eat properly for ‘real life’, and you’ll just likely end up reverting back to your old habits, which means reverting back to your old body.

Diets That Use Gimmicky Supplements

Finally, the last one to be on the lookout for is any diet that uses gimmicky supplements. A good example here is the HGC diet plan. This diet maintains the notion that by using the HGC, which is a hormone that pregnant woman produce, you will feed off your own fat cells, therefore you can survive on an incredibly low calorie intake.

But, what about protein for muscle maintenance? What about nutrients for health? You’ll get neither of these – at least not in adequate amounts on this diet plan, so really, it’s just setting you up for long-term health problems regardless of whether you do lose weight or not.

So hopefully this opens your eyes and helps you see which fad diets to avoid.  Instead, get on a plan focused on eating healthy food in balanced quantities and start tracking your intake with an app such as Weight Tracker Pro.  Then adjust based on your results and you’ll be losing weight the healthy way – while ensuring it stays off.

Have you tried any of the above diets with no results? Share them with us – or let us know which diets you think might have been missed that you consider a ‘fad’ approach as well.