Fad Diets We Just Can’t Forget

Brooke Newberry
(Photo: )

Over the years, desperate America has sought help through the promise of fad diets, leaving exercise, consciousness and proper whole food nutrition plans behind. Yo-yo or #yolo? You decide. 

1970s: The Grapefruit Diet 

AKA the Mayo Clinic Diet AKA the Hollywood Diet, this eating plan lasts 10-12 days and is based on the claim that grapefruit has a fat-burning enzyme. Most versions of this diet include eating grapefruit with every meal.

1972: Scarsdale Diet

This 1,000 calorie-a-day diet was developed in the ’70s by Dr. Herman Tarnower. Its aim was to help dieters lose a vast amount of weight in two weeks, which it did…due to obvious calorie reduction.

1975: The Cookie Diet

This was Dr. Siegal’s 1975 cookie invention containing a ‘secret hunger-controlling’ formula in meal replacement cookie form. They didn’t taste very good and people realized they’d rather drink a Slim-Fast. 

1976: Sleeping Beauty Diet

This diet wasn’t about food choices, and in fact, involved heavily sedating people for several days. Someone had the great epiphany that when you’re asleep, you can’t eat.

1981: The Beverly Hills Diet

High-carb, low-protein and low-calorie. This 45-day diet required eaters to consume certain foods in combination. During the first ten days, dieters are only allowed to eat fruit (in unlimited amounts).

1985: Jenny Craig Diet

Remember when Kirstie Alley was the face of Jenny? Based on delivered meals, this female-centric, high-fiber diet involved a personalized program for each dieter.

1990: Cabbage Soup Diet

This 1950s-born diet resurfaced in the ’90s. Designed for short-term weight loss, low-calorie cabbage soup (and only cabbage soup) is consumed for seven days, aiming for a weight loss of 10 pounds. Obviously, most of the weight lost ends up being water weight.

1995: The Zone Diet

The super low-calorie diet marketed itself as a ‘lifestyle’ rather than a diet, complete with a full product line. The Zone Diet is similar to the Atkins Diet but doesn’t completely eliminate the carbs.

1996: Eat Right for Your Type

Developed by Peter J. D’Adamo, this DNA diet recommends a diet plan based on blood type.

2001: Atkins Diet

In the early 2000s we were told that carbs were the devil but that we could live on steak and cheesy eggs forever…along with the brand’s ever so appetizing low-carb bars.

2003: South Beach Diet

This diet took the super low-fat approach and was originally created in the 1980s to prevent heart disease, only becoming popular as a means of weight loss in the early 2000s.

2006: Maple Syrup Diet

AKA the Master Cleanse. Celebrity-driven publicity surrounded this no-food diet, including Beyoncé, Heidi Klum and Gwyneth Paltrow. A concoction of lemon juice, distilled water and maple syrup is consumed for a period lasting anywhere from five days up to a month.  

2010: Baby Food Diet

Jen Aniston was linked to this diet in the early 2000s. Meals are replaced by baby food and weight loss follows because of unavoidable calorie restriction.

2013: Paleo Diet

AKA the caveman diet. This recently popular diet is built on a nutritional plan based on the supposed diet of Paleolithic humans. In broad terms, the diet excludes grains, sugars and dairy products and permits meats, nuts and produce.

Check out a few of these duds depicted in still life form.