The INSIDER Summary:
- People swear by these miraculous one-food junk food diets.
- Some say they’ve lost weight eating only pizza, ice cream, or cookies.
- However, one nutritionist says that these people are actually losing weight from eating fewer calories, and that the diets themselves are not nutritionally sound.
What if you could eat all of the junk food your heart desires and still lose weight? It sounds like a scam, but over the years, so-called junk food fad diets have popped up over and over with people claiming real results.
From the guy who lost nearly 100 pounds by only eating pizza to the famous cookie diet that’s been kicking around for years, there is no shortage of people claiming miraculous weight loss from eating foods that are high in sugar and fat content. How is this even possible?
“What happens with these same-food diets is that people tend to consume fewer calories overall,” said Dr. Joan Blake, a nutritionist and clinical associate professor at Boston University.
“You get tired quickly of eating the same foods over and over,” she continued. “The issue with these diets is that you may be losing weight from eating less, but they’re not nutritionally sound over the long term. Once you go back to your old eating habits, all of that weight will come back.”
Here are 8 unhealthy diets people swear by:
The cookie diet
Dr. Siegal’s cookie diet has been around since the early aughts and pairs hunger-suppressing cookies (sorry, no Oreos!) with one meal a day.
Then there’s Sol Owell, a man who lost 50 pounds in a year by sticking to the #cookielife diet. He ate every single homemade cookie that friends and family from around the world sent him. For Owell, it was a simple “calories in, calories out” mentality, in which he supplemented his cookie monster lifestyle with tons of exercise.
Our nutritionist says: “He has a reasonable approach to adding a little treat, in this case a cookie or two, in his diet daily along with a healthy diet, and activity level. A daily treat can be factored into a healthy diet as long as you stay active and factor the calories in that “treat” into your daily caloric intake.”
The “Gilmore Girls” diet
Where you lead, I will follow … with copious amounts of junk food in hand. The fictional Lorelai and Rory Gilmore are well-known for staying skinny while sticking to a high-salt, carb, and fat diet. When Netflix revived the series last fall, there were numerous claims of women trying a “Gilmore Girls “diet of pizza, popcorn, candy, and other junk food and actually losing weight.
Our nutritonist says: “This is not a healthy eating plan for weight loss.”
The ice cream diet
One of the most recent junk food diet success stories follows Anthony Howard-Crow, the miracle man who lost 32 pounds and improved his blood pressure by eating 2,000 calories of ice cream and some protein supplements every day earlier this year.
Sounds like a dream come true, right? He later admitted that it was the “most miserable dieting adventure” he had ever embarked upon because it made him irritable and lackluster.
Our nutritionist says: “This is a classic example of chronically eating a diet that is lower in calories than you need so you will lose weight. Unfortunately, it isn’t a balanced, satisfying diet so he lost weight but also muscle mass.”
The junk food diet
Sometimes you can’t decide which junk food to “cleanse” with so you decide to eat anything you want for a month and end up losing 11 pounds.
That’s exactly what Jeff Wilser did. He limited his caloric intake to under 2,000 calories daily and ate only suggested serving sizes of junk food. He stuffed his face with Oreos, M&M’s, doughnuts and more every day. 30 days later, he lost 11 pounds and his bad cholesterol went down.
Our nutritionist says: “He ate less calories daily for 30 days and lost weight. Unfortunately, his diet wasn’t 2,000 calories of healthy foods. If he continued eating only these foods daily, he will likely end up deficient in many nutrients.”
The McDonald’s diet
John Cisna made national headlines in 2014 after he lost 56 pounds in six months eating only McDonald’s. He even published a book called “My McDonald’s Diet” about his incredible weight loss journey.
But nutritionists called his diet “unrealistic” for the long haul, and claimed that while his weight may be down, most likely his sodium intake was high, and his body was lacking in essential vitamins.
The pizza diet
New York City pizza maker Pasquale Cozzolino swears by his pizza-centric diet that helped him lose 94 pounds. His secret? Stay away from the pepperoni and stick to thin-crust margherita pizzas made with simple ingredients. The pizzas helped him curb cravings so he could shed the extra pounds.
Our nutritionist says: “It appears that he enjoyed his pizza (which has only a little bit of cheese) at lunch but factor in those calories as part of his entire day. His made sure that his overall calorie intake remained less than he needed daily to maintain his weight.”
The taco cleanse
This “detox” replaces kale smoothies with tortillas. The recipes for the taco cleanse, created by “taco scientists,” promise a whole host of health benefits like virility and beard-growing abilities (though that may be a joke). The only catch is, all of the recipes are vegan, so put down that package of carnitas.
Our nutritionist says: “There isn’t any science to back these claims up.”
The Twinkie diet
Most of the foods on this list have at least some nutritional value, but Twinkies do not. But ever since Kansas State University nutrition professor Mark Haub lost 27 pounds in 2010 by replacing all meals with Twinkies for 10 weeks, the Twinkie diet has popped up periodically, usually with disastrous results: Eating nothing but Twinkies for several days straight tends to result in massive stomach and headaches.
Our nutritionist says: “All this proves is what we already know: If you chronically eat less calories than you need daily, you will lose weight. However, in the long term, a diet like this will not be satisfying, healthy, or sustainable.”
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