fad dietsI’m sure some of you remember the old Johnny Carson skit of Carnac the Magnificent.  Ed McMahon threw out three random words and Carnac would hold up an envelope, touch his head with the envelope and come up with a unifying question that tied all three together with some obvious humor to it. I can remember some of them being quite funny and some of them being pretty risque’. 

So what do Tabasco, yogurt, and ice-cold water have to do with losing weight? Well here is the hilarious part…

All three have been pitched to those unfortunate souls that will do almost anything to lose weight (cue laugh track)!

Fad diets are absurd

It’s true! There are so many fad diets out there that I can see why people are so completely confused when it comes to weight loss and diet. The sad part is that there are a lot of people making money off this confusion.

A client of mine last week was telling me about an article she read that claims that people who eat 18 ounces of yogurt a day typically don’t have belly fat.

Yes, 18 ounces. Why so precise? Because it is a fad diet.

Now I don’t know about you, but after eating one of those 6-8 ounce containers, I’ve usually had enough yogurt for the day. I like to vary my nutrition choices, and having more yogurt than this could potentially be nauseating. This article was suggesting that you eat 1.2 pounds of yogurt every day in order to not have belly fat.



Now let’s take a look at Tabasco. There was a prevailing theory not long ago about eating spicy foods and increasing your metabolism. The logic here just astounds me. The idea was since spicy foods contain capsaicin, which is the active (read mouth-burning) component of most chili peppers, there is a thermogenic effect on your body. This leads to an increase in metabolism. When you increase your metabolism, you burn more calories, right?


And burning more calories leads to weight loss! Yay!

There was even a study done in Quebec that showed that thermogenesis increases by 23% when you eat foods with capsaicin. Why didn’t I think of that and make millions of dollars selling this idea to a gullible public?

Oh, that’s right, I have morals.

Here is the problem with this idea. How many calories do you really think you are going to burn by eating a single jalapeno? The prevailing theory is you must create a caloric deficit of 500 calories per day to lose one pound of weight.

How many jalapenos do you think that you would need to eat to actually burn 500 calories to start losing weight?

Fad diets have been around for a very long time, and none of them offer any long-term benefits to help you lose weight.I’m guessing it’s more than you think. Would you be able to stand eating more than 10 jalapenos? Is your gut able to stand that? What about your mouth? Or how many bottles of Tabasco would you need to drink? Yummy!

Fad diets and weight loss

Finally, there is the idea of drinking (or eating) ice-cold drinks or foods to lose weight. The theory behind this debacle is that when you ingest cold substances, your body needs to regulate the temperature of the food to your body’s temperature. By doing this, your body must burn calories to increase the temperature of the food. So what happens?

You lose weight!

Hallelujah, pass the ice cubes! But wait a minute. Once again how much do you need to ingest to burn 500 calories to lose one pound of weight? The benefits of this are so infinitesimal that it’s not worth the effort. There is only so much iced tea one can drink.

Or what about people who say to themselves, “Hmmm….I could eat ice cream and lose weight because my body will need to increase the temperature of the food! I’m sure my body will burn more calories than what is actually in the ice cream!”

Don’t laugh. I’m sure somebody somewhere probably thought that at one time.

Once again, here is the bottom line. If you see something in the press or online about losing weight, 9 times out of 10 it just doesn’t meet with reality. It’s common sense. If it sounds too good to be true, it’s usually is.

I’m sure each and every one of you knows what you need to do to lose weight.

I’m sure each and every one of you knows what to do when it comes to eating healthy.

That’s right….just eat healthily! Just eat reasonable portions! Calories in, calories out.  And by God…..EXERCISE!

I can see what’s coming next…..the ‘Tabasco, Yogurt and Ice Cold Water Smoothie Diet!’ Increase those odds of burning more calories and losing weight! Buy my book for details!