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 Web site 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."
The Zone Diet places special emphasis on the moderate intake of low-fat protein, low glycemic-load carbs (such as those found in fruits and vegetables), and monounsaturated fats, as well as all needed nutrients.
Ayoob: "This one is fairly moderate, focusing on a good amount of lean protein, moderate fat and moderate carbs. Skip the vegetarian version if it's not your thing."
Katz: "I think this is too high in protein. It works by providing a strict dietary discipline, but suffers the same problem with sustainability as the others."
Ikeda: "Another oldie that had no impact whatsoever on the obesity epidemic in this country."
What It Is: Despite the names of these popular diets, both the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic deny having any association whatsoever with them. This, however, does not seem to have impacted the popularity of either of these regimens, both of which are subjects of a high volume of Internet searches by those hoping to lose weight.