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The 10 Worst Diets of 2018, According to U.S. News and World Report

author image Cathleen Krueger
Cathleen Krueger is a freelance writer who specializes in health, wellness, celebrity, entertainment, tech and gaming.

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The 10 Worst Diets of 2018, According to U.S. News and World Report
To put our latest diet crazes to the test, U.S. News & World Report evaluated 40 diets with the help of a panel of health experts. Photo Credit: Twenty20/@katelouisewhyte

If you recently decided to try out a new diet, you’re in good company. Every year, 45 million Americans go on a diet. That’s good news, because more than 70 percent of people in the U.S. are overweight or obese. Unfortunately, some experts say that as little as 5 percent of dieters keep the weight off over the long haul. Why is that? Well, you might be surprised to learn that some of the most popular diets are so difficult to follow that they end up being unsustainable over time. Nothing is more demotivating than constant slip-ups and setbacks, all because your diet is too demanding.

To put the latest diet crazes to the test, U.S. News & World Report evaluated 40 diets with the help of a panel of health experts. The highest-ranked diets had to be easy to follow, nutritious, safe, effective for weight loss and protective against diabetes and heart disease. Not surprisingly, the government-approved DASH (dietary approaches to stop hypertension) diet and the Mediterranean diet tied for first place. But which diets ended up at the bottom? Read on for a list of the ones you need to avoid at all costs.

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10. Acid Alkaline Diet
The goal of the Acid Alkaline diet is to control your body’s pH balance to protect it from disease and improve overall health. Photo Credit: Twenty20/@silviuz

10 Acid Alkaline Diet

The goal of the Acid Alkaline, otherwise known as the alkaline diet, is to control your body’s pH balance by eating more alkalizing foods, such as vegetables, almonds and soy products, and less acid-forming foods, such as red meat, wheat and whole dairy products. One U.S. News & World Report expert called this diet “ridiculously poorly researched” and “not based on science.” It ranked 35th in the Best Diabetes Diet category, 24th in the Easiest Diets to Follow category, 32nd in the Best Heart-Healthy Diets category and 40th in the Short-Term Weight Loss category. It’s difficult to believe that this diet is only 10th on the list.

9. Paleo Diet (Tie With 8 and 7)
The basis of the Paleo diet is that if cavemen didn’t eat it, you shouldn’t either. Photo Credit: Twenty20/@kristankremer

9 Paleo Diet (Tie With 8 and 7)

You've probably heard of the Paleo diet — it's hard not to given that it's one of the most popular diets right now. It’s based on the simple premise that if cavemen didn’t eat it, you shouldn’t either. Refined sugars, grains, dairy and legumes are off the table, while meat, fish, fruits and vegetables are fair game.

Though trendy, U.S. News & World Report’s experts ranked it low in most categories: 29th in the Best Diabetes Diets and Easiest Diets to Follow categories, 35th in the Best Heart-Healthy Diets category and 30th in the Short-Term Weight Loss category. One panelist summed it up nicely, saying, “This diet should go back where it came from.”

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8. Raw Food Diet (Tie With 9 and 7)
According to proponents of this diet, raw food contains beneficial enzymes and nutrients that promote optimal health. Photo Credit: Twenty20/@jehnner

8 Raw Food Diet (Tie With 9 and 7)

A number of celebrities have embraced raw veganism, including Megan Fox, Gwyneth Paltrow and Scarlett Johansson. According to proponents of this diet, it contains beneficial enzymes and nutrients that promote optimal health.

Though the panelists found this diet to be very effective for weight control, they also noted that it’s incredible difficult to follow and gave it low scores for nutritional completeness and safety. It ranked 20th in the Best Diabetes Diet category, 23rd in the Best Heart-Healthy Diets Category, 10th in the Short-Term Weight Loss category and dead last in the Easiest Diets to Follow category.

7. Supercharged Hormone Diet (Tie With 8 and 9)
The theory behind this diet is that hormone imbalances can make it difficult to lose weight. Photo Credit: supercat67/Adobe Stock

7 Supercharged Hormone Diet (Tie With 8 and 9)

Created by naturopathic doctor Natasha Turner, the Supercharged Hormone Diet aims to promote long-term weight loss by correcting hormone imbalances, which, she theorizes, can affect metabolism. The diet starts with a two-week hormone detox during which you remove allergenic and inflammatory foods, including alcohol, sugar, caffeine, gluten, dairy and peanuts. After that, you follow a low-carb version of the Mediterranean diet.

Like with the Acid Alkaline diet, U.S. News & World Report’s experts found the science behind this diet to be totally bogus. What’s more, they believe it could promote unhealthy eating practices, preventing dieters from learning how to consume a sustainable, healthy diet. The diet ranked 35th in the Best Diabetes Diet category, 28th in the Easiest Diets to Follow category, 33rd in the Best Heart-Healthy Diets category and 30th in the Short-Term Weight Loss category.

Read more: Celebrities' Fave Foods While Dieting

6. The Fast Diet
The Fast Diet requires you to eat regularly for five days, then cut your calories down to 20 percent of your normal intake for two days. Photo Credit: Twenty20/@shannonfieldsphoto

6 The Fast Diet

What if we told you that there’s a weight-loss diet out there that lets you eat whatever you want? The Fast Diet allows you to do just that — as long as you significantly cut calories two days a week. Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer, authors of “The FastDiet,” as the book is titled in the U.S., argue that intermittent fasting shocks your body, causing it to burn fat to create energy.

If this diet sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is, according to the panelists. The lack of guidelines could result in poor food choices and overeating. Plus, the eating plan “undermines the physiological importance of a regular eating schedule,” U.S. News & World Report explains. The Fast Diet ranked 37th in the Best Diabetes Diet category, 24th in the Easiest Diets to Follow category, 33rd in the Best Heart-Healthy Diets category and 25th in the Short-Term Weight Loss category.

5. Atkins Diet
The Atkins diet promises that you’ll lose 15 pounds in two weeks by limiting your carb intake to 40 grams a day. Photo Credit: AGfoto/Adobe Stock

5 Atkins Diet

The Atkins diet is the grandfather of low-carb dieting. It promises that you’ll lose 15 pounds in two weeks by limiting your carb intake to 40 grams a day — which is about an apple and a slice of whole wheat bread according to the MyPlate Calorie Tracker. Instead, you’ll eat protein- and fat-rich foods like meat, eggs and fish. By depriving your body of its main energy source, this diet claims, you force it to turn to an alternative fuel source: stored fat.

Although U.S. News & World Report’s experts admitted that this diet does promote quick weight loss, they gave it low ratings for nutritional soundness, safety, heart health and how easy it is to follow. It came in 32nd place in the Best Diabetes Diet category, 29th in the Easiest Diets to Follow category, 37th in the Best Heart-Healthy Diets category and seventh in the Short-Term Weight Loss category.

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4. Body Reset Diet (Tie With 3)
To follow the Body Reset Diet, you must get most of your calories from smoothies for 15 days. Photo Credit: Twenty20/@estherhelen

4 Body Reset Diet (Tie With 3)

In order to make your weight loss sustainable, this diet contends, you need to “reset” your body to jump-start your metabolism by getting most of your calories from smoothies for 15 days. But if you’ve already started this diet, you might want to hit the reset button. According to U.S. News and World Report experts, celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak's Body Reset Diet is difficult to follow, won't help with weight loss longterm and won’t have a positive effect on conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

“It doesn’t teach any life skills and isn’t sustainable for most people,” one expert said. It ranked last in the Best Diabetes Diets, next to last in the Best Heart-Healthy Diets category, 33rd in the Easiest Diets to Follow category and 36th in the Short-Term Weight Loss category.

3. Whole30 Diet (Tie With 4)
The founders of the Whole30 diet believe that many mental and physical health issues are caused by our diets. Photo Credit: Twenty20/@sussialfredsson

3 Whole30 Diet (Tie With 4)

The founders of Whole30 believe that it can help with "eliminating cravings, improving energy and sleep, relieving medical symptoms, and losing weight healthfully and sustainably." To find out which foods are to blame for what ails you, they suggest cutting all traces of sugar, alcohol, dairy, grains and legumes from your diet for 30 days.

Although the Whole30 diet isn’t particularly unsafe, the experts called this diet “extremely restrictive” and were concerned by the elimination of dairy, legumes and grains. “This is the antithesis of a long-term healthy dietary pattern,” one expert said. The Whole30 diet ranked 39th in the Best Diabetes Diet category, 38th in the Easiest Diets to Follow category, 37th in the Best Heart-Healthy Diets category and 30th in the Short-Term Weight Loss category.

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2. Dukan Diet (Tie With 1)
This diet promises that you’ll lose up to 10 pounds in the first week. Photo Credit: Brent Hofacker/Adobe Stock

2 Dukan Diet (Tie With 1)

Named for creator Pierre Dukan, this diet allows you to eat as much as you want (of the right foods), promising that you’ll lose up to 10 pounds within the first week. It focuses on protein intake, rather than counting calories. Like with Atkins, this diet is based on the idea that cutting carbs forces your body to burn fat instead.

While the Dukan diet might lead to short-term weight loss, the experts “were sharply critical of its nutritional completeness, how easy it is to follow, its ability to prevent or control diabetes and heart disease, and even its safety,” the report’s authors write. It’s extremely restrictive, and there’s no evidence that it works, leading one panelist to call it downright “idiotic.”

1. Keto Diet (Tie With 2)
“Eat fat to burn fat” seems to be the mantra of this popular diet. Photo Credit: Twenty20/@markdhel

1 Keto Diet (Tie With 2)

“Eat fat to burn fat” seems to be the mantra of this popular diet. The Keto diet promises to help you lose weight and boost your mood, energy and mental performance. Like with the Atkins and Dukan diets, Keto asks you to slash carbs, consuming just 20 grams of carbs a day. In a state of ketosis, your body will burn stored fat instead of glucose from carbs.

If this were a popularity contest, you’d find Keto somewhere at the top of the list. Unfortunately, its emphasis on fat-rich foods puts it “at odds with everything we know about long-term health,” one expert said. The panelists went so far as to say that this diet isn’t safe for people with diabetes, ranking it 33rd in the Best Diabetes Diets category, 38th in the Easiest Diet to Follow category, 35th in the Best Heart-Healthy Diets category and 13th in the Short-Term Weight Loss category.

Read more: The 13 Worst Diet Wreckers

What Do YOU Think?
What do you think? Photo Credit: Twenty20/@KaiMitt

What Do YOU Think?

Have you ever tried any of these diets? Are you interested in adopting a specific diet? How much research do you do before going on a diet? What methods do you use to stay motivated? Were you surprised by any of the diets on this list? Share in the comments below!

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