Fad diets

Calories from eating a Twinkie are not the same as calories from more healthful foods such as fruit and nuts, experts say. (Evan Sklar, Getty Images)

Drinking carrot juice, sticking with a low-calorie diet and avoiding egg yolks all seem superhealthy. Not so fast.

Nutritionists are warning people that these seemingly healthy eating fads aren't as good as they sound, and they want people to stop jumping on the all-or-nothing bandwagon diets, stat.

Following are the health fads that the nutritionists wish you didn't do.

Twinkie diet

After a nutrition professor lost 27 pounds eating nothing but convenience store foods — Twinkies, chips and cookies — many people were swayed into believing that a calorie is a calorie, no matter what. "But despite his so-called diet success, not all calories are created equal," said Rania Batayneh, nutritionist and author of "The One One One Diet" ($18, Amazon.com). "Picture this: How will you feel after eating 100 calories worth of jelly beans compared with 100 calories of raspberries and nuts?" Since the jelly beans contain sugar and lack nutrients, they would raise your blood sugar levels and would leave your body weak and un-energized. On the other hand, a handful of raspberries and nuts is packed with fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and protein, so they can boost your health.

Low-fat diet

Studies found that higher-fat diets resulted in better overall health outcomes than lower-fat diets because eating a diet full of processed fats, which are usually more common in low-fat, low-carb diets, can cause excessive weight gain and increase your risk of developing chronic diseases, said Keith Kantor, CEO of Green Box Foods and co-author of "The Green Box League of Nutritious Justice" ($23, Amazon.com). Contrary to popular opinion, Kantor said, there's no fundamental evidence that saturated fat or cholesterol is to blame for the increase in heart disease or obesity rates.

Raw diet

A raw diet does have some great benefits: It can increase your body's natural enzymes and alkalize an acidic system, and it can be detoxifying for the liver. But it's not a perfect diet by any means, said Nicole Glassman, a New York-based holistic nutritionist. A raw diet can be tough on the digestive system, especially for those who have difficulty digesting fats, she said. "It is best to eat a mix of some cooked and uncooked vegetables," Glassman said. "Balance is key." There are some vegetables such as spinach, peppers and asparagus that release nutrients only when heated, so eating a variety is usually the best option.

Dairy-free

If you want strong, healthy bones, you'll need to get calcium in some shape or form, even if you're lactose intolerant. Leafy greens such as kale, chard and collard greens are loaded with calcium and vitamin D, Glassman said. Vitamin K is also key for absorption of calcium, and foods such as celery, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, okra, cabbage, broccoli and spinach are loaded with it. Magnesium also enhances calcium absorption, and foods such as chocolate, leafy greens, beans and avocados are a great source, she said.

Juicing

Juicing — or pumping large amounts of fruits and vegetables into your body without much effort — may sound like a fantastic way to get healthy, but it's not very good for you. "When you juice fruits and vegetables, you're missing out on a key nutrient that makes them so filling: fiber," Batayneh said. "Juices are sugar-packed, and without the fiber to help balance blood sugar levels you're left in a tailspin of waning energy levels." Instead of juicing, add a smoothie to your diet for breakfast or for a post-workout snack, Batayneh suggests. This way, you'll get the fruits and vegetables into your diet, but add Greek yogurt into the mix for protein and chia or flax seeds for healthy fats.

Counting calories

Although it's good to have a base line for the calories you consume every day, this can be misleading because certain foods that are lower in calories may not be nutritionally dense, Glassman said. "For example, a snack of a bag of air-popped popcorn is lower in calories than a small handful of almonds, but the almonds contain healthy fats and protein, so they will satisfy you longer," she said.

Egg white diet

While many people shy away from eating whole eggs because of the cholesterol levels associated with them, Glassman said that foods high in cholesterol don't necessarily raise blood cholesterol. "Cholesterol is affected by trans fats and oftentimes by the overconsumption of sugar and white flour products," Glassman said. One large egg has zero trans fats and only 1.5 grams of saturated fat, and it's a good source of protein, vitamin D and choline. "So eat the egg yolks; they contain a lot of nutritional benefits," she said.

Gluten-free

Those who have celiac disease have to go gluten-free. But it shouldn't be the answer for those looking to lose weight quickly or hoping to improve their overall health, Batayneh said. Instead of cutting out gluten, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies, focus instead on eating whole, intact grains.