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Are These Popular Diets Safe, Or Just Fads?

Are these popular diets safe, or just fads?

There are many popular diets, how do you know which diet is best for you? Your mom swears by Weight Watchers, your best friend is doing Atkins, and your boss pairs the Zone Diet with Crossfit. All three of these individuals are seeing great results, and urging you to try the same diets. But when you do, these diets either make you feel hungry all the time, or fail to provide the weight-loss results you’ve been working so hard for.

Weight Watchers, Atkins, and Zone Diets are all popular diets that promise to help you lose weight and become healthier. However, there’s a reason these diets work for some people and not for others, and it’s because everyone is unique. For instance, some individuals are genetically predisposed to benefit the most from low-carb diets, while others may benefit more from low-fat diets.

Determining your ideal diet

How do you know which diet is best for you? The best diet for you is one that addresses your individual goals and nutritional needs, as well as any food allergies, sensitivities, or dietary restrictions. People are often drawn to the newest fad diets after seeing others experience great results, but like any other nutritional approach, these diets tend to work only for people who are genetically predisposed to benefit from them — and lead only to frustration among people who don’t see the same results.

Before trying any of these popular diets, talk to your doctor about your health goals and unique nutritional needs. You may also want to consider specialized DNA testing that reveals exactly how your body responds to certain foods, as well as which vitamins and minerals your body needs to function at an optimal level.


The keto diet is a low-carb diet designed to cause nutritional ketosis — a state in which the body burns fat instead of carbohydrates for energy. A typical keto diet is very low in carbs, high in healthy fats, and requires moderate protein intake. Ketogenic diets can be very effective for weight loss, particularly for people who are sensitive to carbohydrates. They may not work as well for people who are more sensitive to dietary fat.


The Paleo diet, also known as the “caveman” diet, consists only of foods our ancestors ate millions of years ago. The Paleo diet consists mainly of lean meats, fish, nuts, fruits, and low-starch vegetables.


This heart-healthy diet places emphasis on foods that contribute to improved cardiovascular health — many of which are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts, fruits, vegetables, olive oil, and fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel are part of the Mediterranean diet.

South Beach

This diet encourages you to eat before you’re hungry so you can avoid overeating. The South Beach diet focuses mainly on complex carbs, lean protein, and low-fat dairy, and requires cutting out all simple carbs.


The Atkins diet is high in protein and healthy fats, and low in carbohydrates. There are several phases to this diet — for instance, people start with no more than 20 grams of carbs per day, and combine high-fat, high-protein foods with low-carb vegetables like leafy greens to trigger weight loss.

At all of our weight-loss clinics, our patients received fully customized nutritional plans based on factors such as health history, activity level, diet restrictions, and other unique characteristics. Whether you’re a 51-year-old vegan or a mom on the go who’s still nursing, we’ve got your plan. Schedule a no-cost consultation to learn more!


Medically reviewed by Jay J. Garcia, MD on August 16, 2017

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