The Most Famous Dieting Fads of All Time

In the past years, there have been lots of dieting fads that have gained huge popularity because weight loss has become one of the main health worries of people. These popular diets vary from slightly reasonable to absolutely insane. Even though they differ in processes, they all focus on major weight loss without an emphasis on exercise and usually result in the return of weight over time.

A lot of people blindly follow a fad diet, which can offer them quick results. These diets are also not difficult to find, as you can search for them easily online. Fad diets are the equivalent of get-rich-quick schemes in the fitness world. Most of the time, they are too good to be true. However, that does not mean that it’s not worth knowing the principles behind these diets and separating facts from fiction.

If you want to know more about the popular diets that emerged throughout the years, you’re in the right place. Today, we are going to give you a list of the most famous dieting fads of all time.

1. Keto Diet

Keto Diet

In the past years, the Keto diet has gained huge popularity. Many people switched to this diet for weight loss, including celebrities and fitness enthusiasts. It is a low carbohydrate, high-fat diet with moderate protein consumption. This diet was originally made for people with seizure disorders, but it also helps in quick weight loss. However, it comes with some disadvantages, such as increased lipid profile, weight re-gain, and constipation.

2. Twinkie Diet

Twinkie Diet

Twinkie Diet was created by a guy named Morgan Spurlock in 2005. He was a filmmaker and wanted to make a documentary about American eating habits, so he decided to make a great film while also losing weight. He came up with the idea based on a comment his friend made when he told him he wanted to lose weight: “Well if you just eat a lot of Twinkies, you’ll be thin!”

According to news reports, Spurlock lost 25 pounds while eating four or five Twinkies every day for 30 days. He also gave himself a lot of cheat days (days where he could eat whatever he wanted). He still lost weight like crazy and got lots of attention from news organizations and people who were trying the diet on their own.

3. South Beach Diet

This diet was designed by Arthur Agatston, MD, a Florida-based cardiologist. He wanted to protect his patients from serious medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease, and the South Beach diet is a common diet that focuses on the importance of controlling hunger by eating before it strikes. With this, dieters are urged to disrupt the usual hunger-overeat-gain-weight cycle by removing bad carbohydrates and concentrating on lean protein, low-fat dairy, and good carbs such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

The first phase of the South Beach diet is strict. However, the third phase, which is maintenance, is meant to be a lifelong eating plan that allows the dieters to enjoy occasional treats while maintaining a healthy weight at the same time.

4. Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is also a popular diet fad. It encourages people to fast for two days with 75% energy restriction, then indulge in Mediterranean-style food in the next five days. This results in reduced energy intake on unrestricted days. Based on research, people that follow this diet see results like weight loss, improved levels of body fat, and lower insulin levels. It is also easier to follow compared to other diets.

The results of intermittent fasting may be promising, but it still needs to be studied on a longer-term basis. Also, people with diabetes also need to be careful and follow it under guidance as they can be at risk of hypoglycemia.

5. The Blood Type Diet

The Blood Type diet claims that eating certain foods will improve your health depending on your blood type. It is also known as the Eat Right 4 Your Type diet. Most people have blood types O or A, but many celebrities have blood type B.

6. Vegan Diet

Vegan Diet

A vegan diet is composed of eating only plants, like vegetables, grains, nuts, fruits, and foods made from plants. People who follow the vegan diet do not eat foods that come from animals, including eggs and other dairy products. It makes you eat more fiber-rich foods that are low in calories, which results in weight loss. Many people switch to a vegan diet for a lot of reasons aside from weight loss. However, people following this diet might experience a deficiency of micro-nutrients, such as folate, iron, calcium, and vitamin B12.

7. Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean Diet

This diet is perfect for those who love to have a dinner of fish and veggies with a glass of red wine. It is a heart-healthy diet that includes the food staples of people who live in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, like Italy and Greece. This diet focuses on heart-healthy fats, which contain unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. This diet is rich in nuts, legumes, seafood, fruits, vegetables, olive oil, whole grains, and as well as red wine in moderation.

8. The Cabbage Soup Diet

This famous fad required you to eat cabbage soup and nothing else for days at a time to lose weight. After only a few days, many people gave up because of the monotony of eating cabbage soup for every meal.

9. Zone Diet

This diet has been popular with celebrities like Jennifer Aniston. This diet believes that changing the balance of the foods you eat will aid you in losing weight, rearranging your metabolism, and fighting off chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. Most of the time, protein is added to balance the carbs at every meal or snack.

People who are into the zone diet follow a 30-30-40 breakdown to help control insulin levels and hunger. They get 30% of their calories from protein, 30% from fat, and 40% from carbohydrates. Many devotees give this diet praise for variety and ease of use. However, others warn that this diet plan can feel restrictive and is light on some nutrients.

10. The Tapeworm Diet

This surely is one of the weirdest diets out there. If you don’t know how tapeworms work, they are essentially parasites that live inside your body and eat food for you. The idea behind this diet was that if you ingest tapeworm eggs (in the form of capsules), they will hatch in your stomach and grow into adult tapeworms, which will consume everything you eat or drink in your stomach.

Imagine that you haven’t even finished eating a hamburger, and your meal is already digested by your new friends (who have now made themselves at home in your stomach). Then, as the tapeworm grows bigger, so will you! You’ll be eating for two!

11. Paleo Diet

The Paleolithic diet, commonly known as the Paleo diet or the caveman diet, only allows foods that humans ate when we first wandered the Earth half a million years ago. These include lean meats, fish, fruits, nuts, and non-starchy veggies. It means that when you are on a paleo diet, you cannot eat dairy foods, grains, starchy veggies, and processed foods.

Due to the straightforward guidelines of the Paleo diet, its focus on nutrient-rich foods, and its emphasis on exercise, it has earned a loyal following among people who say it helps them lose weight and stay healthier. However, according to experts, the long-term result of this diet has not yet been proven because it is difficult to maintain.

12. Raw Food Diet

Raw Food Diet

People who are into the Raw Food diet believe that cooking food and breaking down its enzymes destroys many of its nutritional benefits. In this diet, foods are restricted to raw items or food that is cooked or heated to no more than 118° Fahrenheit. This diet fad allows you to eat as much as you like and as often as you want, as long as the foods are raw and vegetarian.

Many nutritionists praise this diet due to its focus on fresh produce and avoidance of processed foods. However, many also say that the Raw Food diet lacks nutrients and is challenging to sustain.

13. Weight Watcher

Weight Watchers or WW is also a popular commercial diet and comprehensive program for weight loss, which is based on a point system, counseling, and meal replacement. In fact, it is a leader in the commercial diet industry. It produces weight loss comparable to other diets that are supervised by nutrition professionals. It does not restrict people from eating a particular food, and it also helps them understand the need to choose a healthy lifestyle.

The beliefs of this diet include eating a balanced diet, eating in moderation, and eating what you want. It uses a points system to track what you eat, and it provides motivation through local support meetings with weigh-ins. However, the high level of flexibility and temptation in this diet make it difficult for some. But it has had a great track record of success for a lot of years and still remains one of the most popular diets today.

14. Atkins Diet

The Atkins diet is all-you-can-eat bacon and scrambled eggs diet. But in 2002, a New Atkins Diet Revolution was created. It is a streamlined version of the original diet, and it balances lean protein with controlled portions of fat and healthy carbs. With this diet, you start with just 20 grams of carbs a day and increase the amount very gradually each week. The main idea of this diet is to stop eating foods that are made with refined flour and sugar. Aside from that, nutrient-dense whole-grain foods are also off-limits until you reach the maintenance phase of the diet.

According to people who have tried this diet, it is easier to stick to it compared to other diets, and it has great short-term effectiveness. However, many say that you are not really getting a well-balanced diet and may experience a lack of calcium.

To know the difference between Atkins diet and keto diet, click here.

15. Macrobiotic Diet

This diet used to be one of the most popular diets years back. It promotes whole foods and encourages meditation and slowing down your lifestyle along with your eating habits. Meals in this diet consist of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Therefore, weight loss is achievable. However, other people say that this diet plan has rigid guidelines that make it difficult to maintain. Aside from that, they say that it can lead to nutritional deficiencies. So, just like in any other diet, it is essential to do your research first before adopting a macrobiotic lifestyle.

16. Nutrisystem

If you want a diet where the thinking and planning of what to eat are done for you, then Nutrisystem is perfect. It is a fad diet plan where meals are pre-made and engineered to deliver on a certain number of calories per day, which is based on your age and gender. Weight-loss success is possible in this diet, and it is also an easy diet plan to stick to since everything is done for you. However, the major drawback in a Nutrisystem is that packaged meals can be costly.


These are some of the most famous dieting fads of all time. Most of these diets are not inherently bad for you, but any form of extreme restriction can be difficult to maintain and can create unhealthy mental hang-ups and behaviors around food. Remember that the diets that work best are those you can stick to. And if you need to lose weight fast, it is better to seek the advice of a professional.

We hope the information we shared here helped you in knowing more about the popular diet fads of all time.