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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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