The 5 Worst Fad Diets Of All Time


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In today’s society it seems that people are always trying to find the quick and easy way to do everything, including lose weight. This is sometimes a good thing but very often the easy way is also unhealthy and sometimes unsafe. The following list will examine some of the most notorious fad diets and the dangers of falling prey to the allure of gimmicky programs that promise big results in no time.

Tapeworm Diet

The tapeworm diet became popular in the 1920s and involves purposely infecting oneself with a parasite in order to lose weight quickly. The idea behind the diet is to ingest a tapeworm that will then live in the stomach and take half of the food eaten by the host. Although in recent times tapeworms can be purchased in capsules for easy ingestion, a person can also acquire a tapeworm by eating raw meat or handling infected feces. The diet can offer results in weight loss, though not significantly more than a healthy diet and exercise, but comes with very high risks. Tapeworms can cause abdominal pain and muscle damage. Another concern is that tapeworms could possibly leave the stomach and travel to other parts of the body via the host’s bloodstream, sometimes leading to death.

Sleeping Beauty Diet

The Sleeping Beauty diet was popular in the 1960s and 1970s and was endorsed by Elvis Presley. This diet worked on the idea that when a person sleeps they do not eat; therefore, if a person were to sleep for a period of time during the day, this would lead to weight loss. The diet requires practitioners to take sedatives in order to sleep during the day. No real weight loss results have been recorded, and the diet has lead to people becoming addicted to high powered sedatives. In general, diets which require the consumer to take a drug are a bad idea and should be considered unsafe.

Eat-Whatever-You-Want Diet

This diet worked on the idea that dieters should gorge themselves on whatever food they desired, as much as they could eat. The idea was that at some point people would get tired of eating and then weight loss would occur. There were never any recorded results of weight loss, in fact most people who tried this diet ended up gaining several pounds. Since losing weight is about portion control and moderation, eating whatever you want without limit is not a good choice.

Lemon Detox Diet

The lemon detox diet encourages those seeking to shed pounds quickly to consume only lemon juice, water, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup for up to two weeks. Dietitians warn that the lemon detox is nothing more than a starvation diet that neglects all of the body’s nutritional needs by ignoring all the core food groups. Diets that require you to consume fewer than 500 calories a day can be very dangerous and should not be attempted without consulting a physician.

Eight Hour Diet

The latest fad to hit the scene is the eight hour diet. Similar to the eat-whatever-you-want diet, the eight hour diet allows dieters to eat anything they want for eight hours a day and fast for the other sixteen. The diet is laid out in the book The Eight Hour Diet by David Zinczenko, editor-in-chief of Men’s Health. There are many problems with this diet. The first is the assumption that what a person eats is less important than when it is eaten. The book claims that dieters can eat anything they want, but this is false. In order to lose weight, what a person eats, and how much of it they eat, is very important. Also fasting for a period of sixteen hours can cause the body to go into a stress state which will cause it to horde any calories available, leading to no real fat loss and unnecessary stress on the body.

If you’d like to lose weight, talk to your doctor about safe ways to go about it. The tried and true methods still work: eat more vegetables, drink more water, and exercise for at least half an hour every day. It may not be as novel as eating only honey or a single grapefruit half, but it will work with time and your body will be healthier for your efforts.

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Lana Ziegler is a health and employment blogger. With help from a portion scale, Lana can adhere to her rigorous dieting standards and create amazing dishes all at once.

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