Most nutrition experts caution that the Italian fare served at many Italian restaurants in the U.S. -- which is heavy in cheese, meat and fat -- should not be confused with a Mediterranean diet.
Ayoob: "This diet is famous for olive oil. Olive oil is great and it's heart-healthy, but it has as many calories as any other oil, even the less healthy ones. As such, the more olive oil you eat, the smaller your other portions are going to be. It's true that fat helps you feel satisfied, and this diet also focuses on lots of fruits and veggies, but it can be a little low in calcium, as dairy is not a huge part of the Mediterranean diet. I'd modify it to include low-fat milk."
Ikeda: "In looking at the [figures] below, one has to conclude that eating the way the French and Italians do might be quite beneficial."
Percentage of people classified as obese:
USA: Female = 34 percent; Male = 27.7 percent
Italy: Female = 9.9 percent; Male = 9.5 percent
France: Female = 7.0 percent; Male = 8.0 percent
What It Is: While there is no single Detox diet, all are built around the idea that, by eating or avoiding certain foods, you can cleanse -- or "detoxify" -- your body. The toxins that are purportedly eliminated from the body through these diets are most often identified as chemical pollutants from the environment, along with supposedly harmful byproducts of human metabolism that linger in the body's tissues. Most Detox diets are intended to be temporary, lasting a few days or a couple of weeks.
Detox diets also provide a constant source of fodder for celebrity magazines, as stars including Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Beyonce Knowles have reportedly tried them in the past.
Katz: "All Detox diets are rather silly. The body detoxes itself just fine. No real 'there' there."
Ikeda: "Doesn't anyone remember the lessons in human anatomy and how the body functions that were taught in elementary, middle school, and high school? Well, if one did remember, then one would realize that the body is self-cleansing -- like a self-cleansing oven. We get rid of 'toxins' daily in urine, feces, and sweat. If we didn't, we would be dead in a matter of days."
Ayoob: "This one is temporary; it's meant to be temporary, and that's not going to be of much help to most people. Even temporarily -- several days to a week -- it's a bad idea. It's mostly about fruits, steamed veggies, and not much protein at all. Bad idea. Stick to this diet strictly and you'll be losing muscle mass -- and that's your calorie engine... 'Detox' diets may have been around for years, but so has fasting, and I wouldn't recommend that as a means of weight loss either. Period."
What It Is: The Zone Diet, developed by Dr. Barry Sears, purports to balance the body's hormone levels within a specific range by controlling the foods that are consumed. According to the official website for the diet, "The Zone Diet can best be described as a moderate-carbohydrate, moderate-protein, moderate fat diet that has approximately one gram of fat for every two grams of protein and three grams of carbohydrates."