Why the "All Mango Diet" Just Won't Work

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

You've tried the grapefruit diet, the potato diet, the drinking man's (or woman's) diet - even the mung bean diet your sister tried. Nothing worked because fad diets never work. But we keep trying them anyway.

Your pants just split up the seam. You know your overweight. Your belly button keeps peaking out and you’re pretty sure you’re not wearing a midriff top. You really need to lose those five or ten pesky pounds you're carrying, but how? “Eureka!” you cry. The magazine section at your favorite store – there’s sure to be plenty of diet tips there. It’s like the diet of the week club. Well, think about it: if those fad diets worked, people wouldn’t need a new one every week, would they? Fad diets fail<.

THE ALL _______ (fill in the blank) DIET. Anyone can lose weight if all she eats is broccoli (a pound a day). Or chicken soup. Or even, and this has been tried, cookies. Yep, someone lost weight eating only cookies. Because how many cookies can you eat? Eventually you feel too sick or too bored by your food of choice. Your body can't maintain health and restore itself on only one food – even if it’s a really healthy food. Thinner? Yes. But malnutrition? Not a good diet plan for anyone.

THE FOLLOW A TODDLER ALL DAY DIET. The premise behind this one is that if you eat exactly what a two-year-old is eating (same food, same portion size) and follow in his footsteps, doing literally everything he does (jumping off the couch, spinning in circles) that you'll lose weight quickly. Well, chances are if you’re reading this you’re not a toddler and your nutritional needs are not the same as those of a two-year-old. Not a good nutrition plan! This one is cute, but again it's not the right approach. (Although, throwing a really big, mega-tantrum in the supermarket does burn some calories!)

THE _____ DAY DIET – DO NOT DEVIATE FROM DIET IN ANY WAY. Be real. Do not deviate in any way? Who can do that? Who wants to do that? Being forced to follow a rigid (and usually unbalanced) diet is like a punishment and if you feel pressure, you’re less likely to follow the plan. Who needs pressure? Don’t you have enough stress already? Like packing a healthy diet for work.

As tempting as regimens like the All Mango, Taco, Tangerine and Tanqueray or Soup for A Week diets may sound, they're not the path to take when your goal is permanent and safe weight loss. So, what’s a girl to do?

All Foods In Moderation. Eat foods from all of the food groups, vary your menus, don't deprive yourself of the occasional treat (in the end, skipping that little treat will become so important, that you’ll cheat big time meaning mega calories and mega guilt), choose lower fat options, bulk up on fruits and veggies, prepare your own foods rather than going the take-out route. Make healthy choices you and your family's health.

Get Physical. Start an exercise program. Incorporate physical activity into your day. Take the stairs, walk to the corner store, pull your exercise bike out of storage and ride while you watch your favorite television show. Get sweaty!

You didn’t put all of that weight on in just a few days. Be fair to yourself. Be safe, eat healthy, delicious foods, get your workouts in, and those pounds will come off safely, over time. And unlike your friend who just finished the All Mango Diet, if you keep making healthy menu choices, the weight will stay off.