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The Hard Truth About Why Diets Fail

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  • Post last modified:June 25, 2024
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All kinds of diets can fail. At the same time, any of these diets can succeed in making you lose meaningful amount of weight and keep it off. The truth is, there is a lot more nuance than just eating plant-based food, or just eating a low carb diet, or just following the Mediterranean diet. The lack of understanding of these nuances is what makes most people fail in their diets of choice. What’s more is that injecting exercise into the weight loss equation can be frustrating especially when you’re not getting the results that you desire.

Many individuals continue to struggle shedding excess fat, and even for those who do manage to lose weight, keeping it off proves to be an even greater challenge. Despite the numerous diets out there, each with its passionate supporters, and the articles and influencers promising fat loss, it begs the question: Are we getting the wrong advice, or do people just don’t have the discipline to stick with a proper diet?

To Diet or To Exercise?

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Before we start discussing diets, let’s address a common misconception first: relying on exercise alone to lose fat is an impossible task. We’ve highlighted in a previous article that a proper human diet is much more important than exercise if your primary goal is to lose fat. Changing your dietary habits and finding a sustainable eating plan tailored to your needs can make exercise unnecessary. Exercise is essential for building muscle, improving heart health, increasing longevity, and providing a host of other health benefits, but don’t rely on it for weight loss.

Now, let’s shift focus to the core of the matter: what to eat and, perhaps more crucially, what to avoid in order to lose weight and keep it off.

The Modern Human Diet

The modern diet, as many would agree, is generally unhealthy:

  1. Consuming soda, fruit juices, or sweet concoctions at cafe’s is quite common. Many people enjoy these high sugar beverages multiple times a day.
  2. Breakfast options like cereals are highly processed and often also high in sugar. Just look at the ingredient list. A long list of ingredients where you don’t recognize half of what’s on the list is a major red flag.
  3. Snacking on donuts, muffins, cookies, and various chips means consuming highly processed junk loaded with refined carbs, unhealthy oils, and sugars cleverly disguised as fructose, dextrose, and more.
  4. Typical meals are laden with refined carbs, including rice, bread, pasta, and noodles. The list goes on.
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The typical diet is so unhealthy that virtually any alternative diet—be it vegan, keto, Paleo, Atkins, Mediterranean, or carnivore—is a significant upgrade. Transitioning to any of these diets can yield substantial benefits.

The next question that arises is which diet is most effective for weight loss.

The Most Popular Diets

Vegan diets can be effective if you monitor your carbohydrate intake. After all, sugar, wheat, and grains are all vegan. Avoiding added sugar, not consuming carbs in excess, and consuming lots vegetables is key. Unnatural plant-based options like soy-based or lab-grown meat are highly questionable. However, it’s important to note that there are essential nutrients absent in a vegan diet, such as B12 and omega-3 fatty acids, necessitating supplementation. For those with food sensitivities like peanut allergies or adverse reactions to certain plant-based foods, this diet can be challenging.

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The Mediterranean diet comprises fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and olive oil. In my opinion, it’s crucial to be cautious about excessive carb consumption in this diet. The benefit lies in the use of healthy olive oil instead of toxic seed oils and the inclusion of fresh seafood, offering a well-balanced nutritional approach.

We’ll put Keto and Atkins diets in the same category, the low-carb category. There are many success stories of people who have achieved significant weight loss on these diets due to their extremely low sugar and carb content. They are high in protein and fats, providing both energy and a feeling of fullness. While some may struggle to maintain these diets long-term due to perceived restrictions, those who experience significant health improvements, such as reversing hypertension and type 2 diabetes, find the motivation to stick with them. Low-carb eaters often find that counting calories or portion control is unnecessary. It’s difficult to overeat when consuming a diet rich in meat, fats, and high-fiber vegetables.

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The Carnivore diet takes things a step further by eliminating all carbs. It consists primarily of meat, fat, and some dairy like butter or raw milk. It offers the benefits of low-carb diets but is even more effective due to the near-zero carb intake. Increasingly, evidence suggests that meat and saturated fats are not harmful and can even be highly beneficial for health, potentially reversing chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes.

For those following carnivore and very low-carb diets, particularly those who combine them with intermittent fasting, supplementation with electrolytes may be necessary due to the potential loss of electrolytes during fasting.

The Paleo diet emphasizes meat, vegetables, and fruits while excluding processed foods. It’s essentially a combination of the Keto diet and fruits. By avoiding processed foods and deriving carbohydrates from fruits, this diet can be very effective. It’s important, however, not to overindulge in the sweetest fruits; those with the lowest sugar content, such as berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries), are preferable.

I firmly believe that all these diets can be effective for weight loss if executed correctly. For instance, highly processed foods should be avoided with any of these diets. Take dairy-free chocolate chip cookies, for example; they are vegan, but their added sugar and artificial ingredients raise red flags. Similarly, for those on the keto diet, it’s essential to exercise caution with packaged keto snacks that may contain excessive seed oils or artificial sweeteners.

In addition to avoiding processed foods, those on diets that permit carbs should consider reducing their carbohydrate intake if weight loss remains challenging. This might involve abstaining from sodas and juices or cutting wheat and grain-based products by half, for instance.

While exploring different diets for effective fat loss, remember that the real adversaries are added sugar, refined carbs, and highly processed junk food. To achieve improved health and lasting success, it’s a must to minimize or eliminate these dietary foes from our lives. If you’re too busy to plan healthy meals and looking for a practical way to achieve this and maintain a balanced, health-conscious diet, consider meal kit services like HelloFresh and others. These services offer chef-curated recipes and fresh, portioned ingredients delivered to your doorstep, making it easier to prepare wholesome meals without the hassle of grocery shopping. It’s a convenient solution to help you stay on track with your dietary goals.


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Intermittent fasting, as mentioned earlier, has proven highly effective for many seeking fat loss. A common approach is a 16-hour fast followed by an 8-hour eating window. I personally follow this regimen and typically have my last meal at around 7 p.m., skip breakfast the next day, and eat my first meal at noon.

Some people prefer 24-hour fasts or even longer periodic fasts, such as abstaining from food for 3-5 days each month. Various fasting methods exist, each offering unique benefits.

Fasting, especially intermittent fasting, can lead to a process called autophagy. This is the body’s way of cleansing and rejuvenating itself by breaking down and recycling damaged or dysfunctional cells. Autophagy has been linked to various health benefits, including reduced inflammation, improved cellular function, and even potential longevity.

Embarking on a drastic change in your diet for rapid fat loss can be challenging. I’ve personally found it effective to introduce dietary changes gradually, one at a time. After allowing my body to adapt to a change for several months, or even up to a year, I would consider additional adjustments. This incremental approach has worked well for me.


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As you may have noticed, I’ve embraced a low-carb lifestyle. I no longer refer to it as a “diet” because it’s become a normal part of my life. I no longer feel deprived, and I no longer engage in portion control. Having lost nearly 20 kg and returned to a normal BMI, I’ve also successfully reversed my hypertension. At 49 years old, I feel as alert and energetic as a 25-year-old.

It’s important to acknowledge that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to eating. Each of our bodies is unique, and individual food sensitivities can dictate which dietary path suits us best. Personal preferences and taste play a pivotal role in determining which diet can be sustained for the long term.


However, one thing remains certain, and it’s a universal truth for those serious about fat loss: the real adversaries are added sugar, refined carbs, and highly processed junk food. To achieve improved health and lasting success, it’s crucial to minimize or eliminate these dietary foes from our lives.

Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian before making significant changes to your diet, exercise routine, or health practices.

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