Top Seven Worst Diet Tips

July 14, 2015   28 Comments

If you make the mistake of telling a stranger that you wrote a book about losing weight, you will want to pull your hair out.

The Worst Diet Tips

Fortunately, I have a lot of hair.

People can’t wait to tell me their solution to the weight loss problem. First, they ask me what I advocate (eating more fruits and vegetables, changing habits, exercising) and then they launch into their latest and greatest solution.

I always nod appreciatively, but I wonder if they would do the same to a person who wrote a book on aerodynamics or another scientific pursuit. My approach in the book is evidence based – meaning there are scientific studies that show if you increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat while decreasing the amounts of meat and processed foods – you will lose weight and keep it off.

The basic concept is that you remain satiated because the volume of food that you eat remains the same, while the amount of calories you eat decreases (and you lose weight). There is an added benefit of getting more nutrients because you are eating fruits and vegetables.

Diet tips that are not evidence based make up most diet tips you will find in magazines, TV, and on links that state “Lose 10 pounds in five days!”.

Here are seven diet tips that people keep giving me:

1. Don’t eat fruit, it makes you fat. Cookies make you fat - fruit is filled with fiber, water, and nutrients. No one ever got fat eating too much fruit (well, no one that I know).

2. Fat-Free and Sugar-Free are good food choices. Most fat-free or sugar-free foods are full of artificial ingredients to make them taste like sugar and fat. A much better choice has less sugar and fat naturally.

3. Go Vegan (not as a lifestyle choice but as a way to lose weight). Beef and other meats are nutritious and can be healthy when not eaten in large quantities with condiments such as bacon, cheddar cheese, and onion rings. Try decreasing your meat consumption before you take the radical step of ending it.

4. Cut out all your carbs. A friend of mine gleefully told me that all I had to do was cut out carbs to lose 20 pounds. She did look slimmer until about 6 months later when she had put it back on (I didn’t say a word). I think we could all use some carb cutting when it comes to cookies, white bread, and large quantities of white rice BUT whole grains, beans, and fruits are good carbs. Our bodies NEED carbs. Do tell the restaurant that you don’t want the bread basket.

5. Give up all added sugar. Yeah, that will work FOR ABOUT FIVE MINUTES when you decide that a life without chocolate is not worth living. ‘Nuff said.

6. Go Gluten-Free. Gluten is not making you fat. But that breadbasket is not helping. See cut out all carbs above.

7. Do cleanses, detoxes, or juice fasts. These will help you lose weight in the short term because you have stopped eating, but you will be mighty grumpy. Your body actually detoxes on its own using your digestive system, kidneys, and liver. No need to “cleanse” to lose weight.

Please share your worst tips!

Other posts you might like:

How Much Exercise Do You Need?

How Much Exercise Do You Need for a Longer Life?

Some people have no problem with exercise. They get up, run, walk, go to the gym, and move seemingly without effort....

Use Instagram to Inspire You

How to Use Instagram to Inspire You

Instagram is the fastest growing social network for a reason....

Get Free Email Updates! Yes please!


Great tips, hope people will heed your advice.

The worst diet tips I have ever heard are ...To Just eat Smarties, or to just eat cabbage soup, or to just cut out foods that are white. I once tried a diet that all I are were hotdogs and vanilla ice cream !!


I work at a grocery store and I cannot tell you how many times people buy magazines with those titles in it! It drives me crazy! Magazines are a waste of trees anyway!

I can rightly say that I have tried all these so-called "diet tips" out there and have proven them ALL wrong. Snack Girl is absolutely right in saying that reducing (not eliminating) meat and processed foods and bulking up on natural fruits and veggies is the only real way to go. Now, I specify "natural" fruits and veggies since there are canned and frozen and dried and candied and what-not. The trick to those is reading, really reading, the ingredient list. My creedo to weight loss is if I can't recognize or pronounce a quarter or more of the ingredients listed, it does not belong in my body. Not to say I'm a raw advocate or a paleo follower, no (if you can follow those lifestyles, kudos to you), but I refuse to consume something that contains more letters than the English alphabet.

Keep up the good job on this site ^_^ Love the recipes and food advice. A little extra help to what I'm already doing is always welcome.

Yes! Thank you. I agree with you - I cringe when a coworker quotes these tips. I'm 50 and have spent too many years "dieting" - now I am finally eating healthy and feel so much better!

I think the worst advice that I was ever given was that when you reach your goal, you can stop with the healthy lifestyle. I had a friend who said that to me after I reached lifetime. She said you are at goal, why are you still doing it? Because I want to remain healthy. :)

Thanks Snack Girl. I needed to read this today. I have someone trying to convince me to go on a diet where you take supplements, eat very small meals and go to visit someone every week for as long as we both shall live. I want normal food!! I know I just need to eat less of it. You won me over! Thank you again.

Oh, I've heard them all. "If you just do (insert crackball craze here) you'll lose all the weight you want!" To which I say, yeah right. If you really want to lose weight then skip the fast food and dehydrated meals sold in a cardboard box. Get out your pots and pans, plan a trip to your local farmer's market, and actually take the time to cook a real meal using real food for either yourself or your family. It doesn't have to take a lot of time but the measures we've used to SAVE ourselves cooking time are what is making the food we eat no good for us. Back in the 1950's no one went to the gym. There were no spin classes, no hot yoga, no nothing like that but there was no obesity problem in the country. That's because there was also no fast food, no microwaves, and most food was locally sourced from farms in the community. Sure, it's nice to be able to eat mango in December...but do you really need to? Fresh, local, and seasonal is always a good measure for healthy eating.

It's nice to finally see realistic tips that actually work! The suggestions mentioned are actually easier to follow than the fads.

Every time someone I know does a juice fast or cleanse I cringe. Thanks for posting these bad tips!

The one that I hear all of the time is - 'I am not eating breakfast (or lunch or dinner) - I am trying to lose weight.'

Good one snack girl!

I do cleanses just to reset (NOT TO LOSE WEIGHT). Especially through the holidays when I like to indulge a little. I don't eat a whole pie, but my dad makes killer banana pudding and sweet potato pie, so I will have some while I'm there like every day one or the other not both. So after the holidays to reset my digestion, and to get me back on track. I don't do gluten free because I don't have issues with gluten. I eat meat! I love it! Until a doctor tells me to stop cause I will die, then I'll consider it. I think if it says diet at the end of it then you may not want to do it because you aren't going to stick to it. If you want to lose weight then adopt a lifestyle change. My cousin went Vegan as her Lifestyle change and she has been that way for 7 years now and she is in great shape and happy, so good for her.

I have to say the worst diet that I have heard of and a friend of mine actually tried it (WHY?!) I don't remember the name of it, but it was started by a female doctor who is also a fitness competitor, but you eat like a "caveman" meaning, you fast for like 2 days and then on the third day you have a period of time to consume all your calories and then you fast for 2 more days or something like that. I was like, "What in the world is that?! Why would anyone do that?!" I don't know about y'all, but if I don't eat when I'm hungry I get HANGRY and there is no living with me. Doesn't doing that mess up your metabolism? I mean if you want to fast then most people do it for spiritual reasons, I think fasting to lose weight is just not wise. But I think that if people are doing these diets for a quick weight loss before a party then fine more power to you, your an adult you make your own choices in life. The best so called "diet that I have done is a 3 day fast frack meal plan by Autumn Calabrese. You eat (I DO MEAN EAT) 6 small meals a day for those 3 days and you do 1 30 minute workout and you do drop weight fast. That is only used if you have someplace to go like reunion, a wedding, etc. You have you carbs in the morning the rest is lean meat and veggies and a lot of water.

Excellent List of Worst Weight-Loss Diet Tips! Fad Diets are a huge industry because our population is grossly overweight and I have to agree with April S. above.


Your comment ("That's because there was also no fast food, no microwaves, and most food was locally sourced from farms in the community") is brilliant! Great summation.

I have gone gluten free not to lose weight but to help control my arthritis. What I have learned about wheat is that it now metabolizes so fast because it has been genetically modified to produce a higher, disease free yield. This causes inflammation in the joints. Within 2 weeks of going gluten free I could close my hands without pain and my knees stopped hurting. One year later .... I walked 510 miles last year. I feel great. I am 65 and looking forward to 40 more active years.

Cheresse, it sounds like you went gluten free for a medical reason and it has helped your quality of life. That's different than telling people that everyone should go gluten free to lose weight. It's also a permanent change you made. The way to lose weight and keep it off is to make changes and continue to do them. You are what you eat, not you are what you tried to eat for two meals last week.

love this because my Weight Watchers leader has mentioned each and every one of these (she agrees with YOU) . Thanks for this post!

Great Advice Snack Girl.

So the worst diet advice I ever got actually came from a doctor. (Although, I'm pretty sure he graduated dead last, and this was the LAST appointment I had with him.)

I started gaining weight at the onset of puberty, despite being a competitive swimmer with a slight obsession with healthy food (back before protein powder tasted good, blech). No one knew why. It turns out I had this really not awesome thing called metabolic syndrome, complicated by gastroparesis and severe GERD (stomach doesn't close at the top...not fun).

By the time I got to this "doctor," I'd been insulin resistant nearly all of my adult life and no diet had ever worked.

I was frustrated, especially because every time I went to the doctor I got the lecture about my weight. When I asked for help, his suggestion was to cut my calorie intake back to...wait for it...

600 calories a DAY

Picture that, for just a minute. I was in my early 30's at the time, working two jobs, had two teenage boys and a husband at home, was swimming laps three times a week (real ones, not lazy stroll ones), and lifting weights on alternate days.

I pointed all of that out. His response? "Well you'll definitely lose weight!" I pointed out that passing out was probably also going to be an option. He told me, "You'd be surprised how many people only eat 300-600 calories in a day."

Run away. Run away now!

Brilliant! Great common sense advise to remember with all the weight loss nonsense that's out there! Thank you!

@NC Narrator: I'm in suspense! Does your story have a happy ending after a proper diagnosis? Its unbelievable that a Dr. would recommend a starvation diet.

@BarbL: I went back to our family doctor (she changed practices to one that accepted my insurance). We discovered PCOS - also known as "diabetic ovaries," and that explained some of what was happening. She sent me to a gastroenterologist who diagnosed the gastroparesis and GERD issue. Those make most low-carb diets pure torture for me: I LOVE raw fruit and veggies, but I can't digest them. Eat too much, and I'm in agony for days. At the same time, eat too many carbs (which I CAN digest), and I watch my blood sugar see-saw and I gain wait. It's a balancing act.

I'm technically just over the line into Type II diabetes, but it's very well controlled with diet and medication so I probably won't ever need insulin. We do a little happy dance when I lose one or two pounds in a month. It's the little victories! Luckily, my insurance believes in preventative care, so I can see my dietitian whenever I want, as often as I want, with no co-pay, deductible, or limits.

@NC Narrator: Wow, what a story and a lesson to never give up. Yes, your diet is surely a balancing act. It is very exciting to lose a pound or two esp with raw fruit & veggie restrictions. You are doing so well staying in control of Type 2 diabetes too. I admire all the extra hard work you have to do for your health as you work toward losing weight. I wish you much continued success! :)

I lost 20 pounds a few years ago (the same 20 pounds I'd lost a bunch of times, of course) but for the first time, I've succeeded in keeping it off. I use Lose to keep a food diary and weigh in. I eat very little meat, a lot of fruit and veggies, and I do eat dessert, but most days, I try to keep it to something small (low cal ice cream bar, juice bar...something that feels like a treat but is under 200 calories.) I exercise a lot... just walking, mostly. I could never keep it off (or have taken it off!) without the exercise.

I find being accountable (logging food and exercise daily, weighing in regularly) and staying "in community" with a lot of friends I've made on the Lose It site makes all the difference for me.

Weight Watchers seems to allow (and encourage) an awful lot of fake foods -- sugar free this and fat-free that. Sugar is my downfall, and at 70 pounds over a good (not ideal, but good) weight I am at high risk of diabetes. So I decided that yes, I would cut out the extraneous sugar. The amazing thing is that I have not missed it. I am lucky enough that it is summer and bing cherries are plentiful and delicious this year so that is handling my "something sweet after dinner" issue...and I also chew a stick of peppermint gum. Both of these help a lot. I am more alert and awake without the sugar, I feel better, I have much less acid reflux and heartburn, and my skin itches far less. I am doing WW online AND CalorieCount, because this thing WW does where they clobber you as much for a piece of salmon or a half-cup of unsweetened muesli as they do for a piece of cake, just to get you to eat more "free" vegetables, is nuts. By me it's designed to enlighten people whose idea of vegetables is potatoes and corn.

Great article. Thanks for the advice.

Add a comment:


(required, never published)

© 2024