40 Atypical Diet Fads and Exercise Ideas Throughout the Decades

22. South Beach Diet Arthur Agatston developed the South Beach Diet in 2003. Like many other fad diets, South Beach promotes sticking to a low glycemic… Trista - September 16, 2019
Credit: Pexels

22. South Beach Diet

Arthur Agatston developed the South Beach Diet in 2003. Like many other fad diets, South Beach promotes sticking to a low glycemic diet and avoiding “bad carbohydrates.” This diet consists of three stages, with the first stage being the most strict.

The first stage of the South Beach Diet involves mostly protein and vegetables. As you move into the second and third stages, you will introduce more carbs and less protein and fat into your diet. While this diet has a few good principles to follow, it can cause harm because of how restrictive the first stage is. 

Credit: Healthline

23. Master Cleanse Diet

Speaking of restrictions, not many diets are as strict as the Master Cleanse. With this diet, you drink a concoction of water mixed with various spices. This cleanse intended to be temporary and flush out all of your toxins.

On the Master Cleanse, you are not permitted to eat any food. You can only drink a concoction of water, lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. Experts have found no evidence that this works to flush harmful toxins out of the human body. Anyone who stays on the Master Cleanse for an extended period may experience adverse side effects because of the lack of fat, protein, and essential nutrients.

Credit: Healthline

24. HCG Diet

The HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, diet was developed by a British endocrinologist in 1954. He hypothesized that a low-calorie diet paired with injections of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin could help people lose weight. A woman’s placenta produces HCG after an embryo has attached to the wall of the uterus.

He maintained that this hormone would tick the brain into burning fat instead of muscle. The idea was to give regular injections to a person looking to lose weight as well as place them on a 500 calorie a day diet. Many researchers did not find that this diet was effective and are against the idea of eating so few calories. 

Credit: Food Navigator

25. No Trans Fats Diet

A diet fad that was famous beginning in the mid-1990s was the elimination of trans fats. The American Heart Association announced that a diet high in trans fats puts people at a higher risk of developing heart disease. There are two types of trans fats: artificial and naturally-occurring. 

Some animal products, like meat and milk, may contain natural trans fats. The most harmful trans fats are artificial, and those are created when hydrogen is added to liquid vegetable oil to make it more solid. If you look at a food label and see “partially hydrogenated oils” that item contains trans fats; avoid trans fats as they can raise bad cholesterol levels and increase your risk of stroke and heart disease.

Credit: Pexels

26. Gluten-Free Diet

A significant diet trend that has become popular over the last few decades is the gluten-free movement. People with celiac disease are sensitive to gluten and cannot eat anything that includes it. That means bread, pasta, cakes, and other items that contain wheat are off the table.

Gluten can cause gastrointestinal issues and dermatological problems. Maintaining a gluten-free diet can not only help you lose weight but improve conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Luckily there are many gluten-free products on the market today so you won’t have to sacrifice eating most of your favorite foods.

Credit: Pexels

27. Low Sugar Diet

Although sugar is delicious, it can cause a myriad of health problems. Refined sugars can lead to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other serious conditions. Adopting a diet low in sugar can benefit everyone!

Being on a low sugar diet essentially means eating foods that are low on the glycemic index. Meat, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are staples of this way of eating. Although fruit has sugar, many types are not too sugary. Stick with apples, pears, berries, and peaches. Stay away from high sugar fruits like watermelon, bananas, and pineapple. Foods like potatoes, white bread, corn, soda, candy, and rice should be avoided on a low sugar diet.

Credit: Pexels

28. Low Sodium Diet

A great diet for heart health is a low sodium way of eating. Too much sodium in your diet can cause heart disease, hypertension, and heart attacks. Eating a lot of salty food leads to fluid buildup, which can directly weaken your heart.

Normally, you should only have 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. Those with heart failure should take in no more than 1,500 milligrams each day. Eating whole foods, avoiding processed junk, and cooking all of your meals can help you stick to a low sodium diet. Be sure to drink plenty of water as well!

Credit: Pexels

29. Carnivore Diet

The carnivore diet is a monotropic way of eating. That means you eat only one type of food for the entirety of the diet. In this case, you are only allowed to eat meat and other animal products like eggs and milk.

If this sounds extreme, that’s because it is. Those who champion this diet claim that it helps you lose weight, regulate blood sugar, and improve your mood. Not much research has been done about this eating regimen, so there isn’t much information on how it can be beneficial. On the carnivore diet, your goal is to eat zero carbs each day.

Credit: Pexels

30. Keto Diet

Probably the most popular diet craze in the world right now is keto. The ketogenic diet involves restricting carb intake and increasing how much fat is in your diet. This helps to put your body into ketosis, so you get hungry less often as your body is burning your fat for energy.

When your body goes into ketosis, ketones are produced by the liver. The body will burn fat instead of carbohydrates to fuel the brain. This diet has been remarkable in helping children and adults with epilepsy reduce the number of seizures they experience. Keto involves doing a lot of math to make sure that you are getting an adequate amount of fat each day to keep your body in ketosis.

Credit: Harvard Health

31. Intermittent Fasting

A concept that tends to go hand in hand with keto is intermittent fasting. This concept involves spending a large portion of your day in a fasting state. For example, you may be fasting for 16 hours a day with an 8-hour window in which you are permitted to eat. 

You can also get stricter with your guideline, like fasting for 20 hours a day and eating for four or fasting for 24 hours at a time. Fans of intermittent fasting believe that eating all of your allotted calories for the day will make you end up eating less than if you were able to graze and snack all day long. Other positives of intermittent fasting include better sleep quality and higher energy throughout the day.

Credit: Pinterest

32. Exercise Gaming

Who doesn’t love video games? There are many different types of video games to choose from, including exercise games. Many people use exercise video games to improve their fitness.

A significant trend in the last few years was the Wii console. This gaming system included handheld controllers that required your whole body to move with them. Interactive games like tennis, bowling, and even fencing could get your heart pumping while you had fun. The Wii also has games for playing sports, doing Pilates, and dancing. The Wii has an additional console, the Wii Fit that was great for checking your weight and working on balance and fitness.

Credit: Wired

33. New Technology

Where would we be without our smartphones? Our phones link us to friends and loved ones all over the world. They can also help us stay active.

The app stores on our phones provide a wealth of resources for getting fit. You can find cardio apps, weightlifting apps, yoga apps, and more. There are also GPS trackers that can measure heart rate, map your location, and keep track of your fitness stats. Watches and wearables like the Fitbit and Apple Watch make counting steps and stairs climbed easier than ever. You can even use these devices to monitor your sleep patterns and calories burned.

Credit: Viva Glam Magazine

34. Dancing

Like we mentioned before with Jazzercise, dancing for physical fitness is hotter than ever! So many people love to have fun while they workout and dancing makes it possible. If you go to your local gym, you will most definitely find a dance class or two on their schedule.

One of the most popular types of fitness dance classes is Zumba. This Latin-infused dance class has been around since the early 2000s and has thousands of loyal followers. It’s a great way to dance to catchy music and learn new dance styles like samba, salsa, and merengue. For a fun cardio workout that will sweat, take an exercise dance class!

Credit: Amazon

35. Exercise Gimmicks

Although there is a lot of great fitness technology out there, there are also a lot of hokey gimmicks. Many of them are not worth the money, but there are a few gems out there. Good exercise gadgets include TRX Suspension Training, kettlebell training, and the BOSU Balance Trainer. 

The bad gimmicks to avoid are ones you may have seen on a late-night infomercial. Things like a band you wear around your waist to stimulate fat burning or a chair that you sit in and move side to side to create abs. There are also wheels that you hold onto and do crunches to help you define your waistline. 

Credit: Pexels

36. Amateur Athletes

A surprising trend you may not have considered is the rising popularity of amateur athletes. In the past decade, the amount of beginners training for a marathon had nearly doubled. Many amateur runners are training hard to qualify for marathons around the world.

So many resources are available for marathon runners these days. There are online marathon training programs that allow you to train without a coach or running club. New marathons start each year, making it easy to find one to race in. Also, training periods have become shorter, so people with full-time jobs have no problem training for a big marathon.

Credit: Daily Bruin

37. Shoe Trends

For those who work out frequently, especially runners, having the proper footwear is essential. Lately, there has been a rising trend in anti-shoes. People are looking for shoes that make you feel like you are barefoot, walking on sand.

These shoes usually have a curved sole and multiple layers. The idea behind this anti-footwear is to activate more muscles as you walk. They also help to provide shock absorption for joints and improve posture. Many brands advertise these shoes as a way to get fit without going to the gym. You can find this style of footwear in the Skechers Shape Ups or Reebok EasyTones.

Credit: Vice

38. Extreme Weight Loss

With the obesity rate climbing each year steadily, more and more people need losing weight. Many people have hundreds of pounds to lose. This has led to the popularity of many extreme dietary measures.

We’ve mentioned several extreme methods before like the Master Cleanse Diet and the Macrobiotic Diet. Another trend that has become more common in the last decade is weight loss surgery. Many people see it as a quick fix, but it’s not an easy solution for weight loss. For several years, the TV show The Biggest Loser showed overweight people dieting and workout for hours each day to drop much weight.

Credit: MapMyRun Blog

39. Core Training

A physical ideal that so many people try to achieve is the six-pack. There is an obsession with abs and strengthening the core. So many workouts focus on working out the collection of muscles located in the torso that is tasked with supporting the spine and helping with stability.

Core training is a major part of the fitness industry. It used to be that crunches were all that were performed to gain abs, but now there are so many practical exercises out there. Fun moves like planking, mountain climbers, woodchops, and knee tucks can all succeed at strengthening your core and abdominal muscles. 

Credit: Pexels

40. Lifestyle Changes

One of the best ways to get fit and be healthy is to make a complete lifestyle change. While it would be great if a fad diet like the South Beach Diet could get us to our goal in no time, that’s not realistic. More often than not, the weight you lose on a fad diet will come back once you stop.

That’s why there has been a recent trend of completely overhauling your lifestyle. Committing to a way of eating for life instead of for a short time can help you become healthy and strong in a safe way. It also helps to take so much pressure off yourself if you don’t see a certain number on the scale or a particular clothing size in your closet.