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Dieting Dangers: The health risks surrounding fad diets

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) - Trendy diets like Keto, Paleo and juicing are very popular right now.

With promises of rapid weight loss and a healthy lifestyle, many people turn towards the fad diets, but as KRDO found, the diets can cause serious health issues.

Juicing Gone Wrong

Back in 2016, Jason Moyes wanted to improve his health, so he bought a juicer and started juicing fruits and vegetables. Most days, Moyes would drink a liter of juice.

The acidity from the juice ended up damaging Jason's stomach.

"Sometimes I felt like I needed to go to the emergency room. That's how bad the symptoms were," Moyes said.

Moyes also experienced a dramatic weight loss.

"I literally lost 50 pounds. I went from about 190 to about 145. That was a big shock," Moyes said.

Doctors say healthy weight loss is about 1-2 pounds per week. Any more than that and you could be putting yourself at risk.

Colorado Springs Dietitian Marissa Campbell explains that initial weight loss can be a bad sign of what's to come.

"There can be some initial weight loss and then weight regain and so that continual weight loss and regain is called 'weight cycling,' and that can increase your risk for a lot of other medical conditions," Campbell said.

Moyes is not alone, many people have tried these fad diets. Campbell has seen the harmful effects, firsthand.

"I've seen clients with hair loss and with super, super dry skin. And lots of G.I. issues. When they get their labs taken at the doctor, you can see some liver inflammation and kidneys not working well," Campell said.

The Ketogenic "Keto" Diet includes foods that are high in fat, and low in carbohydrates. A big focus is on avocados, nuts, eggs and meat.

According to Harvard Medical, the risks associated with Keto include nutrient deficiency, liver problems, kidney problems, constipation, fuzzy thinking and mood swings.

The Paleolithic "Paleo" Diet includes foods that are low in carbohydrates, and high in protein and healthy fat. It's called the "Caveman" diet because it mimics foods that were only available during the Paleolithic Era, eliminating processed foods.

The Mayo Clinic reports that there are potential risks associated with the Paleo diet and there are no long-term clinical studies about the benefits.

Campbell explains that these fad diets can also be harmful to the participant's mental health.

"If you notice an obsession or fixation on counting calories or following these specific rules and it's starting to impact other areas of your life, with relationships or people in your family, that could be a big red flag," Campbell said.

No one diet is right for everyone

It's important to note that many people have seen success with the Keto and Paleo diets and have lost weight safely.

According to Colorado Springs Dietitian Claire Mademann, diets are not "one size fits all."

"Whatever is most sustainable for each individual and person and the most nourishing, essentially, is what I like to guide people towards," Mademann said.

What diet should you be following?

Mademann suggests an anti-inflammatory nutrition plan, similar to the Mediterranean diet. Food under the plan would include:

  • Non-starchy vegetables (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, green beans, kale and collard greens)
  • Fruit
  • Whole grains
  • Healthy fats
  • Lean proteins

Mademann said these three things can help you stay on track and stick to your diet:

  • Focus on wholesome, natural, raw foods as much as possible
  • Limit processed foods - a long ingredients list can be an indicator that the food has extra additives and preservatives
  • Come up with a monthly measurable goal

When asked about three superfoods and three foods you should avoid, Mademann said:


  • Blueberries
  • Kale
  • Asparagus

Foods to avoid

  • High fruticose corn syrup
  • Partially or fully hydrogenated oils (trans fat)
  • Enriched flours or enriched wheat products

If you're thinking about dieting, health professionals say the number one rule: speak with a dietician or doctor.

If you or someone you know struggles with an eating disorder, click here for resources.

If you live in El Paso County and struggle with an eating disorder, click here for a local resource.

Colorado Springs

Hanna Knutson

Hanna is the traffic reporter for Good Morning Colorado. Learn more about Hanna here.



  1. ColoMexiFornia Springs has a lot of very obese people who eat mostly fast food, high calorie junk food, sugary beverages and get little exercise:have they been right all along?…..When it comes to nutrition these so called health professionals are idiots.

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