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Crash Diets

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What is a Crash Diet?

A crash diet is a method to lose weight really fast in a short period of time, by reducing the daily calorie intake to as low as 700 calories a day. This obviously is uncomfortable, but it offers the opportunity to lose 5 to 20 pounds within a few days.

The typical person trying a crash diet is someone who has to lose weight for something in a short period of time. It could be an upcoming party, date, wedding, or something similar.

Do Crash Diets Work?

It depends what your goal is. If you goal is to lose a specific amount of weight by a certain target date, crash diets can be very effective. They are not easy to implement, as most of them are very monotone and severely restrict the calorie intake. Also depriving your body of so many calories and valuable nutrition puts a lot of stress on your body.

If your goal is long term weight loss, crash diets are less effective. It is the dreaded yo-yo effect. Since you restrict the calorie intake so much your body will go into survival mode, and reduce the calories it burns during normal daily activity. When eventually you start eating normally, it is very easy to now add the pounds back on, since your body is now (at least for a time) burning less calories than it used to, prior to the crash diet.

But, people are successful, short term and long term with crash diets. Just keep in mind that crash diets put stress on your body, are not comfortable to implement (you can’t eat much), and you need to be careful  to not gain it all back once you start eating normal.

Most Insane Crash Diet

Some people take crash diets to a whole new level of insanity, by purposefully infecting themselves with a tapeworm. Take a look, have a laugh, but don’t do it. Staying healthy and alive is the most important thing. What is the point of being thin, if it costs you your health and you die early? But just for laughs, here is a 4 minute video from Tyra Bank’s show.

List of Crash Diets – The 15 Crash Diets That Work

Here is an overview of 15 different crash diets that work, and work fast. Most of these crash diets are not intended for long-term, and may not even be effective in the long-run, but if you have a special event coming up and need to lose weight quickly, some of them may be worth a try. Make sure you are healthy, pop a daily multi-vitamin and stop immediately if you feel sick or dizzy.

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1. Juice Fast Crash Diet – Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

This crash diet is a form of juicing diet, made famous from the movie “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”.  It is a 2010 documentary film available on Netflix that follows a 60 day juice fast diet by an Australian Joe Cross, as he travels across the US. During his trip, he meets and inspires Phil Staples, a morbidly obese truck driver from Iowa, to join him on his diet. Joe Cross lost over 80 pounds, and was able to discontinue all medications.

Here is a 3 minute movie trailer for the movie “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”, highlighting the incredible results on this juice diet.

The 2 characters in the film consume nothing but vegetable and fruit juice for at least 60 days, and lose tons of weight and seem to get a lot healthier, either eliminating all prescription drugs or reducing them drastically. There is no mention of them having any negative side effects in the film. (Note that they were both supervised by physicians.)

You do not have to do the juice fast for 60 days, and can start from 1-2 days.

The Fat Sick and Nearly Dead diet’s recommended calorie intake is 1200-1800 calories per day. Read more about the Fat Sick and Nearly Dead diet.

Click on any of the links below for details on other crash diets. Make sure to also read the risks of crash diets and tips below!

2. Cabbage Soup Diet

The Cabbage Diet or Cabbage Soup Diet promises a 10-pound weight loss in a week. If you like cabbage, an unlimited amount of cabbage!, then this is the diet for you. On this diet you are allowed to eat all the cabbage soup you want, and a few select other foods.
Cabbage is high in fiber, which helps to clean out the systems in your body.

Actress Jaime Pressly from the TV comedy “My Name is Earl” lost 32 pounds that she gained during her pregnancy with the cabbage soup diet. Former “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” star Sarah Michelle Gellar is also reported to be a fan of the Cabbage Soup diet.
crash diets Pressly and Gellar

3. 3-Day Diet

The 3-day diet is an interesting diet. It has been floating around the internet, without a source or author, but it is extremely popular and people report success (up to 10 pounds weight loss) on this diet.  For 3 days you can eat, and only eat, what is prescribed. No deviation. No substitution. No change. As for weight loss, there is no magic here, as the 3-day diet restricts calories. But it may be the perfect diet for you if you want to lose weight for that special occasion, and it is easy to implement.

4.  The Master Cleanse

The Master Cleanse has been done by Gwyneth Paltrow, Janet Jackson, Robin Quivers, and Beyonce Knowles. Beyonce said she lost 20 pounds with the Master Cleanse diet. The diet was originally developed in the 1940s, and recently made popular by Peter Glickman.

This CBS video is 3 minutes long, discusses the diet and the celebrities who used the Master Cleanse Diet with great success.

5. Xtreme Fat Loss Diet

The Xtreme Fat Loss Diet claims you can lose up to 25 pounds in 25 days. It uses 5-day cycles that you are supposed to repeat 5 times. The idea is, that by strategically combining certain meals and exercises, you can lose a lot of fat. One of the focal points of this diet program is building and maintaining your muscle and metabolism, while burning the fat.

6. Grapefruit Diet

The Grapefruit Diet has been around since the 1930s. Kylie Minogue and Brooke Shields reportedly lost weight following the Grapefruit Diet. The theory behind this diet is that grapefruits have fat-burning enzymes, and coupled with a low calorie diet (800 to 1000 calories a day), you will be able lose weight fast.
crash diets Minogue and Shields

7. Hollywood Diet

The Hollywood Diet promises a weight loss of 10 pounds in 48 hours. For 2 days you only drink a special juice that you have to purchase. The juice, according the manufacturer, is a special blend of natural juices and botanical extracts.

Reviews are available here.

8. 7 Day All You Can Eat Diet

You won’t be hungry on this all you can eat diet, but you may find it monotonous and bland. In a nutshell, for 7 days you can eat what you want as long as the food is on an approved list. That is it, no exception. It reduces the allowed list of foods to meats, vegetables, fruit and milk, and depending on the day it restricts it ever further.

But from whatever you are allowed to eat, you can eat an unlimited amount. For example on day 5 (Friday), you can eat 4 steaks and unlimited vegetables. You won’t be hungry, but you may be dissatisfied. But that is how this diet can also work. By being monotonous and bland, you will naturally eat only so much as not to be hungry and stop there. You probably won’t be faced with the feeling of “I am full, but it tastes so good, I will have another bite”.

9. Clean Program

The Clean Program is a popular diet and detox program among celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow,  Mariska Hargitay, and Demi Moore, and a convenient diet for busy people.

crash diets PALTROW Hargitay and Moore

It was developed by Dr. Alejandro Junger who cured his illness with this diet and detox program. In a nutshell, breakfast and dinner are replaced with a liquid meal while lunch remains solid, aided by certain supplements.

The following 3-minute video describes the background and content of the Clean Program diet.

10. 4-Day Diet

In spite of the name, the 4-day diet actually lasts 28 days. It was developed by Dr. Ian Smith, and is divided into 4-day segments with different modules. The basic theory behind this diet is that by changing the modules, eating different things during each 4-day segment, you keep your body off balance, and lose weight faster. He also addresses the mental aspect of losing weight. By changing what you can eat during the 28 days, it does not get boring.

Dr. Ian Smith talks about his diet on his 8-minute interview on CBN.


11. Chicken Soup Diet

The Chicken Soup Diet is a 7 day diet, and on it you are allowed to eat breakfast and as much chicken soup as you like. Every day for breakfast, you can choose your favorite  breakfast from 5 different breakfast menus. For the rest of the day, you can eat as much chicken soup as you like, but you can eat nothing else.

Like the 3-day diet, the Chicken Soup Diet does not have an underlying theory, or a clear author, but it is a popular diet floating around on the internet.

12. Fat Loss 4 Idiots (Idiot Proof Diet)

Fat Loss 4 Idiots claims that you can lose 9 pounds in 11 days, every 11 days. The theory behind this diet is calorie shifting. For example, one day you may eat mostly protein, the next day mostly fruit and so on for 11 days. On the 12th day, a 3 day resting period starts, where you can eat what you want. On the 15th day the whole process starts again.

13. Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s 7-Day Crash Diet (Approved by Dr. Oz)

Dr. Oz recently introduced his approved crash diet on his show (7-day crash diet devised by Dr. Joel Fuhrman). People can supposedly lose up to 10 pounds per week using this diet method (including fluid loss).

Under this crash diet, you can eat the following foods as much as you want:

  • Dark leafy vegetables
  • Fresh fruits
  • Starchy vegetables

And must limit the following to less than 10% of your meals:

  • Meat
  • Dairy

You pretty much have to cut out sweets and other treats.

When asked the question whether it’s safe to lose so much weight in 1 week, Dr. Joel Fuhrman replied that basically in this diet you would be getting all of your nutrient needs met.

Learn more about the diet on Dr. Oz’s website.

14. The 3 Week Diet

The 3 Week Diet is a relatively new diet program created by Brian Flatt, that claims you can lose 12 to 23 pounds in 21 days.

One of the goals of the diet is for you to form a new habit of eating correctly, by following the diet for 21 days, since according to research, it takes just about 21 days to develop any new habit.

Another goal of the diet is for you to see fast results. According to the program, for a diet to be ultra successful, it must produce results fast, otherwise people won’t stick to it. In the 3 Week Diet, supposedly you will have significant weight loss of up to 10 pounds during your first week on the diet.

15. Kellogg’s Special K Diet

This is a diet created by the Kellogg Company, which claims you can lose up to 6 pounds in 2 weeks. Each day, you replace 2 of your regular meals each with a Kellogg Special K product and you are also allowed to have 2 additional Kellogg Special K snacks. The third meal should be healthy and you are also allowed some fruits and vegetables as snacks.

Potential Risks of Crash Diets

According to experts, crash diets may have the following risks:

  • Slowing down of the metabolism
  • Loss of muscle, leading to further decline of metabolism
  • Weight gain after the crash diet, sometimes gaining more weight than was lost due to slower metabolism
  • Weakening of the bones potentially leading to osteoporosis
  • Deprivation of essential nutrients
  • Weakening of your immune system
  • Cardiac stress
  • Heart palpitations

Tips When Going on a Crash Diet

Whatever crash diet you decide to go on, following are recommended:

Make sure you are healthy.

Make sure to take a multivitamin every day.

If you feel dizzy or sick, stop immediately.

Consume enough nutrient-rich foods, and do not consume unhealthy foods for an extended period of time.
In most crash diets, your calorie intake is low, so you want to make sure you are not getting all of your calories from bad foods (such as processed foods, junk foods, and sweets). This is especially true if you do crash diets for extended periods of time or frequently.

Drink plenty of water.

Avoid overeating after the crash diet.
One of the biggest risks of crash diets is binge eating afterwards. Slowly increase your calorie intake and/or incorporate other foods to the point where you can maintain your new weight. If you want to have volume, eat lots of low-calorie vegetables. If you feel hungry, eat protein and fiber as they will give you a sustained feeling of fullness.

Do weights.
As one of the potential risks of crash diets is weakening of your bones, especially if you plan to go on a crash diet for an extended period of time, or you do crash diets frequently, incorporate weight-bearing exercise routines to keep your bones strong.

After The Crash Diet

You should have a plan in place for maintaining your weight after the crash diet. If you go back to your old ways, you may gain the weight back. For some people, the crash diet may be a “kick-start” diet after which they plan to go on a more sustainable long-term diet.

Some of the popular long-term diets are low-carb diets, the Paleo diet (a form of low-carb diet), calorie-controlled diets, and even diets using the aid of hypnosis programs.