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Crazy Mom Diets ... That Actually Work?

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Momlogic's nutritional counselor gives you the skinny.

Haylie Pomroy: In my 15 years of practice as a nutritional counselor, I have seen diet trends come in and out of favor. There are a few that are actually pretty sound in their approach. Then there are some that are wacky in their philosophy as well as their outcome. Some get the weight off fast, only to leave it and double the pounds lurking as soon as you eat again. And then there are some that are downright dangerous.

woman eating

Let's see if we can merge urban myth with clinical experience and explore some "crazy" diets that can actually work.

HCG Diet
It is a clean, healthy food-based diet coupled with a trace of the pregnancy hormone HCG. It is extremely low in calories, but the theory is the HCG stimulates rapid fat metabolism, providing the fuel for the body. I have seen clients lose 25 pounds in a month, reverse diabetes, lower cholesterol, and avoid gastric bypass surgeries with this one. Some extreme dieters follow this diet and try to save their money by not purchasing the HCG -- a monthly supply runs $500-$1,700. This is where this diet can go very wrong. On the diet without the HCG, I have seen many young women come in with elevated cholesterol and in a very poor state of health.

Optimal Cleanse
This has been billed as the "Lose 10 pounds in 10 days" diet on national television and is endorsed by many A-list celebrities. The craziest thing about this diet is how much it changes people's lives. It is like boot camp for those that want to become a health nut and make lifelong weight changes. There are shakes involved, but grocery lists, recipes, and meal plans make this program easy to integrate into a new lifestyle. Clinically I have seen this diet significantly reduce cholesterol, lower blood sugar, and go after the fat in those hard-to-get-to places.

The Cabbage Soup Diet
I actually kind of like this diet and I have seen many individuals have pretty good success. Basically you make a cabbage soup, eat as much of it as you can every day, and each new day you add specific foods and only those foods. For example, you have a day with bananas and skimmed milk, and the soup of course. This diet seems to fade in and out of popularity over the years; I have even seen it handed out in cardiovascular clinics across the country. Clients get some weight off and then can migrate to a healthy, well-balanced diet and keep it off.

Master Cleanse
A crazy diet article would not be complete without mention of the master cleanse. Many people also refer to it as the maple syrup or lemon juice diet. It is not at all food-based. You drink approximately 160 ounces daily of lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, salt water, and herbal stool softening teas. This is not typically a diet I endorse, but there is a time and place for most things. A male client had a torn meniscus in his knee and was in significant pain. His insurance company would not approve his knee surgery until he lost 20 lbs. Pain, medical necessity of the surgery, and very limited financial resources motivated us to dust this "crazy" diet off and successfully take it for a spin.

Although this diet has been around for over 50 years, Beyonce brought it into fashion again when she used it to lose a quick 20 lbs while preparing for her roll in the movie "Dream Girls."

I really try to keep up on fad or "crazy" new diets. Many are merely recycled ideas with a new name and new promises of glory. There is the Chocolate Diet, Apple Cider Vinegar Diet, Russian Air Force Diet (I see this one making a comeback soon), and, believe it or not, there is even a diet where you drink your first morning urine, yuck!

Many of my clients walk through the door having tried one or many crazy diets. I have to tell you that I am truly a purist at heart and I advocate high-quality, nutrient-dense foods that enhance the metabolism and nourish the body. I will also tell you that under the right clinical setting, I have used many crazy diet concepts to jiggle loose a few pounds fast for clients in need!

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116 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous April 30, 2009, 2:00 PM

You are not seriously endorsing the Master Cleanse… It has less than 800 calories a day making it DANGEROUS and likely to screw up metabolism.

Pamala April 30, 2009, 5:57 PM

I don’t know why anyone would even remotely recommend the master cleanse. It’s dangerous and shouldn’t be done. I had a friend almost die doing it. Bad idea.

D May 4, 2009, 7:47 PM

Interesting article…thanks!

Eliza May 13, 2009, 12:51 AM

Nothing wrong with the Master Cleanse if used as a short detox diet to prepare the body for a healthy lifestyle change. I don’t think anyone would reccomend a ~800 calorie diet long term. Enjoyed the post.

Brenda June 8, 2009, 11:46 PM

I have used the cabbage soup diet a few times and it definately works. The only problem is after losing the weight I have always had a hard time sticking to a proper eating guide and slowly and surely gain the weight back.


Kkjgeoos June 25, 2009, 11:47 AM

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Abby July 18, 2010, 9:55 AM

You should also regard dieting and exercise as a hand and glove type of relationship. They fit together.
Dieting and Exercise to Lose Weight
Great read, Thanks.

information on obesity August 25, 2010, 7:57 AM

the best weight loss exercise is cardio. you can do bike, jogging. or some other exercise. Weight lifting will not work very well for weight loss. And do not forget diet. Diet is the key to weight loss.

Susan September 1, 2010, 9:24 AM

To say the truth diets are the crucial part that can make one look ugly or smart. So one must be very particular what he or she is eating. A low calorie and high protein diet is the best. It must also contain the right amounts of vitamins and minerals. But for those who cannot control there food habits, they must take Proactol. Proactol is a 100% natural weightloss pill that is free from any side effects. It binds upto 28% of the fat present in our diets and thus prevents it from getting absorbed. It also suppress food cravings by prolonging the digestion process and keeping us filled up for longer. You can know more about Proactol at

Pearl Talbot September 7, 2010, 11:29 PM

This postis not opening up for me, I tried to web mail you. Could you get back to me about this.

Binu September 13, 2010, 11:20 AM

You have quiet rightly emphasized the need for the right diet but the right amount of exercise is also essential for over-all well being.

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Jerry Jesse October 19, 2010, 4:38 PM

This is a good approach to what, for some, may be a controversial topic. Very well though out post. - Man - a figment of God’s imagination. - Mark Twain 1835 - 1910

Jack Jiang October 19, 2010, 5:17 PM

I agree with a lot of what you’re saying here but it could do with more detail. - The absent are never without fault. Nor the present without excuse. - Benjamin Franklin 1706 - 1790

Jason Joyner October 19, 2010, 5:17 PM

Doing some browsing and noticed your website appears a bit messed up in my K-meleon internet browser. But fortunately hardly anyone uses it any longer but you may want to look into it. - A hospital is no place to be sick. - Samuel Goldwyn 1882 - 1974

Joseph Juett October 19, 2010, 6:34 PM

Hey, found your site by accident doing a search on Google but I’ll definitely be coming back. - Principles have no real force except when one is well-fed. - Mark Twain 1835 - 1910

Jesse Jacek October 19, 2010, 6:34 PM

Then again, the opposite could be true. - I’m willing to admit that I may not always be right, but I am never wrong. - Samuel Goldwyn 1882 - 1974

Jerry Jesse October 19, 2010, 7:14 PM

Interesting point of view.Thanks for the post. - July 4. Statistics show that we lose more fools on this day than in all the other days of the year put together. This proves, by the number left in stock, that one fourth of July per year is now inadequate, the country has grown so. - Mark Twain 1835 - 1910

Jose Jezek October 19, 2010, 7:14 PM

Just proves the old adage. It’s an ill wind that blows no good. - Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window. Attributed to Steve Wozniak

Joe Jolliff October 19, 2010, 7:51 PM

It only goes to show where there’s will there’s a way. Keep on trying. - If I look confused it’s because I’m thinking. - Samuel Goldwyn 1882 - 1974

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