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15 Most Popular Diets That Are Actually Shams

People love food, but people also like to look and feel good. Since we're hardwired to eat a lot for our survival we often end up battling between what our body wants on the inside and what we would prefer to look like on the outside. Enter the ever popular fad diets that promise to fix what ails us and give us control over our weight once and for all.

The only problem is that a lot of these "diets" don't work better than simple healthy eating, but that the industry knows there's a lot of money in convincing you that you need their specific product or meal. Here are some of the most popular fad diets out there...that are actually sort of shams.

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15 The Alkaline Diet

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The Alkaline Diet suggests that you should cut out food and drink that mess with your pH levels, such as coffee, meat, dairy, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, anything processed, and anything artificial. Some of those are pretty good suggestions, but the body is quite good at handling its pH levels on its own, and there isn't proof that you need to do it. Plus there's no proof that changing your pH affects your weight in any way. Stick with the concept of not putting that toxic stuff into your body, but don't kick yourself for enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning.

14 The Blood Type Diet

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The blood type diet suggests that we can tailor make the perfect diet for our body based on our blood type, which sounds pretty reasonable. However, there isn't anything that has proved that this diet is actually worth the time. Then again, it hasn't been disproved either. The basic premise behind it is that people with O type blood need to eat a diet high in protein, type A should eat vegetarian, type B should eat omnivore, and type AB should do a combo. Of course there are other things they weigh into our needs besides our blood type though, like our activity level.

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13 The Paleo Diet

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The Paleo or Paleolithic diet suggests that we should be eating like our Caveman ancestors, which means high protein and animal fats and low grains. There are a few issues with this concept however. For one thing, there was no single caveman diet. What people ate back then was dependent on where they were...because they weren't getting their meals shipped in. Second of all, those people were not necessarily more healthy than we are, they lived short lives so they didn't have the time to develop some of the diseases people today do. Many cavemen did actually eat grains, and just because caveman lived off of meat doesn't mean you should be stuffing your face with bacon.

12 The Slim Fast Diet

The Slim Fast Diet provides prepackaged bars and shakes to dieters that promise to help melt away the pounds. This can work for people who aren't great at figuring out and sticking to portion sizes on their own, but the shakes aren't real food and they're full of things you don't need. You're much better off figuring out to portion control real food that is full of nutrients and antioxidants than living off a diet shake in a can. Does the diet plan work? Sometimes yes. But not any better than general calorie restrictions.

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11 The Cookie Diet

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The Cookie Diet promises to help you shed pounds if you eat a few of their special cookies throughout the day and then eat a dinner of lean protein and vegetables. And it certainly might help you lose weight...but not more than eating the same amount of calories of anything else. This kind of diet is a replacement diet that can be helpful when you don't know how much you're eating to begin with, but it doesn't teach you anything about healthy eating or what to do when you get tired of eating cookies all day everyday.

10 The Atkins Diet

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The Atkins Diet suggests that people with weight to lose are eating too many empty calories through their carbohydrates, and that they are better off cutting out the carbs and adding in more protein. Then the body is supposed to go into fat burning mode. The issue with this diet, is that without carbs, the body goes into a state of ketosis which can cause constipation, bad breath, and even overwork the liver and kidneys. We need some carbs for fast energy, so you can also feel kind of crappy without them.

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9 The Grapefruit Diet

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The Grapefruit diet plan means working grapefruit or grapefruit juice into all of your meals. That's not a bad idea, since grapefruit has been shown to have some weight loss benefits. However, the plan also suggests restricting your calorie intake to somewhere around 800 to 1,000 calories, which would make you lose weight no matter if you were incorporating grapefruit or not. Cutting calories that low doesn't work in the long term and for a lot of active people it doesn't work so well in the short term either, because you'll be exhausted.

8 The HCG Diet

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The HCG diet actually involves taking supplements or getting injections of HCG or human chorionic gonadotropin...which is a pregnancy hormone that can be used to treat infertility. There is not however, any proof that it helps people lose weight. People following the diet put this stuff into their body while also restricting their food intake, but HCG can make you tired, irritable, more prone to headaches...and it can even make men grow breast tissue. Probably not worth the couple pounds you might lose, if it even has any effect on the body.

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7 The Cabbage Soup Diet

The Cabbage Soup Diet requires that you eat the fat-free and low calorie cabbage soup for the bulk of your meals and then mix in some items like milk and bananas. Now the concept of eating low calorie and high fiber means that yes you will probably lose weight quickly. But it's not a very flexible plan, and eventually you'll have to go back to eating normal food. Not to mention all that cabbage fiber can make you really gassy, so you might lose some weight but smell stinky or be super bloated. Plus, there's not much protein on this plan.

6 The Master Cleanse

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The Master Cleanse became quite popular as a weight loss plan...but it was never meant to be one. The cleanse was actually developed to help stabilize the pH levels in the body, but since it consists of just lemon, cayenne pepper, and a little maple syrup in water, you're not going to be ingesting many calories if that's the only thing that you're eating. Do you lose weight when you starve yourself? Yes. Does that mean it's a good diet option? No! A lot of the weight you lose on a cleanse is just water weight anyway which comes back when you start eating again.

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5 The Baby Food Diet

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The concept behind the Baby Food Diet is that those little jars of mushy stuff are low in calories so if you eat those instead of like a pizza or something you will lose weight. Well sure you will, most baby food jars only have somewhere between 20 and 100 calories. It's not really a sustainable concept since it's not like you're going to be toting baby food jars with you to snack on throughout the day. You're much better off eating the real version of a sweet potato than the baby food version because then you'll get the fiber that fills you up and feel like a grown up doing it.

4 The Five Bite Diet

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Someone out there suggested that you can get through life without restricting your food choices at all...as long as you only take five bites of them. Obesity doctor Alwin Lewis, M.D says skip breakfast, and then eat five bites for lunch and five bites for dinner. The concept of treating yourself in moderation is a great one, but the problem here is that you might be completely starving after only having ten bites of food, which will make you more likely to lose self control and binge out in the middle of the night or something. Eating healthy does not need to mean starvation.

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3 The Werewolf Diet

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The Werewolf Diet is also referred to as the lunar diet, and suggests that you change your eating habits based on the moon. The diet suggests that during a full or new moon you should fast and can lose up to six pounds of water weight in a single day. But the thing is that no matter when the moon is up you will always lose water weight if you're fasting, and it will always come back as soon as you start eating again. Plus even if you like to fast for some reason when you're following the schedule of the moon it doesn't give you much opportunity to work around your social life.

2 The Tapeworm Diet

Maybe any kind of diet named after an animal real or fictional just isn't a good idea. The tapeworm diet is what happens when people literally swallow tapeworm eggs so that they can eat whatever they want and the growing tapeworm will prevent them from gaining weight. While this might make you lose weight, it's sick and it's also dangerous. Tapeworms don't always stay in your intestines when they put them there, and when they're on the move in your body they are dangerous to your organs.

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1 The Sleeping Beauty Diet

Okay it's not exactly clear how popular this "diet" actually is, but following it is a pretty terrible idea. The concept behind the Sleeping Beauty Diet is that when you're sleeping you're not eating, so some people actually resort to taking things to help them sleep just to avoid eating. Well technically yes, when you're sleeping you're not eating, but you're also not living your life. You're probably better off going for a run than drugging yourself to sleep any day, and not to mention sleep aids aren't always anything close to safe.

sources: health.howstuffworks.com, huffingtonpost.com

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