We recently reviewed some of the popular low-carb diets, just to get a feel for the basics, but there’s another huge group of diets that have nothing to do with carbohydrates. Low-fat diets are based around the philosophy that fat contains cholesterol, cholesterol can clog your arteries, and clogged arteries can lead to heart disease, stroke, and other chronic illnesses. Here are a few of the common and the radical trends for a low-fat diet.

Low Fat

Low fat diets primarily consist of various forms of veganism and vegetarianism. Animal fat is the easiest fat source to eliminate from your diet, though there are plenty of low-fat “diets” that simply advocate lean meats such as chicken and fish, instead of fatty red meats like hamburgers and marbled steaks.

Vegan

To be a vegan, you must eliminate all animal products from your diet, and most claim you must eliminate them from all aspects of your life as well. That means if your shampoo uses fish oil, or is tested on rats, or is somehow linked to the BP oil spill, you shouldn’t use it. Because the majority of fats, and especially saturated fats come from animal products, this diet is naturally very low in fat. However, if you choose to eat only nuts for protein, or you cook all of your vegetables in coconut oil, your vegan diet is no longer low fat.

Eating a vegan diet is hard because you must eliminate the majority of processed foods, as many animal products are used as thickening agents and for coloring. You can’t have any dairy, so no milk, butter, eggs, or cheese, and you’re expected to know that items such as Jell-O use gelatin, which is generally created from pig scraps. It’s a lot of work, but many animal rights activists and health nuts claim it’s their salvation because it forces us to actually look at our food sources and return to the basics of unprocessed whole foods.

Vegetarian

The vegetarian diet is one of the more approachable diets of the low-fat bunch, and is the only one with strong roots in history. There are societies in the world that have functioned on a fully or primarily vegetarian diet for their entire history. They focus on whole foods and a reduction of meats. Many vegetarians are actually “pescetarians” meaning they consume fish, or “lacto-ovo-vegetarians” which just means that they don’t eat animal flesh, but do consume dairy products.

The largest problem with the vegetarian diet is the common reliance on carbs and processed foods. Unfortunately, most people who begin vegetarian diets forget the vegetables! In their effort to eliminate animal meat, they turn to pasta, processed meals, and other “vegetarian-friendly” options, rather than simply eating more vegetables.

Fad Diets

From the Master Cleanse to the Four-Hour Body, there are so many additional cleanses, and juicing diets out there that change your method of food intake completely. The Lemonade Diet is essentially the result of the Master Cleanse, which combines freshly squeezed lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup to create a pretty offensive flavor that you must consume for 10 days or more. You can also find Cabbage Soup diets, mushroom diets, and even potato diets, all of which claim that you can lose weight and look great by eating or drinking only one food product for a specified period of time.

Unfortunately, humans are cursed with what’s known as the Omnivore’s Dilemma, stating that we require a varied diet, even though we’re naturally afraid to try new things. Whatever your diet choice, make sure it’s a safe and healthy one that won’t send you to the hospital or to the cookie jar.