No woman is ever happy with her body, and weight loss is a constant battle for all of us. With prescribed standards of beauty for women propagated by waif-like models and actresses, and six pack abs for men, the pressure to look good couldn’t get any higher. Any nutritionist or fitness expert will tell you to lose your weight and stay healthy by regular exercise and holding out on the junk and sugar, but with terrible work hours, and general lifestyle or just laziness, new, innovative or absolutely stupid diets have been coming up to cause apparent wonder fat reduction! Anorexia and bulimia have gained popularity in recent times and the attempt is on to spread awareness among teenagers about eating disorders; yet there are several diets that defy plain common sense, which show that people can go to huge lengths to lose weight! The top ten most bizarre diets of the world are:
10. Chew and spit
A secret diet fad, this not so famous diet is a close cousin of the ‘eat and puke; diet or which is commonly known as bulimia now, and has been classified as an eating disorder. Also called Fletcherism, it owes its origin to an American named Horace Fletcher, as a way to lose weight. This diet propagates the belief that food must be chewed numerous times until all the nutrients enter your body, and the rest of the fibrous material should be spit out. The side effects of this diet included having to use the loo only twice a week to excrete which was generally odorless! It was quite popular with Henry James and Franz Kafka as the followers. This kind of a diet is detrimental since excess chewing can lead to dental problems such as gum disease and cavities, and also lack of solid food can cause the stomach lining to get damaged due to acidity.
9. The Shangri-la diet
Absurd is the only word that comes to mind when you think about this diet. Written by Seth Roberts, this weight loss diet book which became a bestseller in 2006, however strange, has had documented cases wherein it has been shown to work. The technique states that you must consume 100-400 calories of sugar water or edible oil (extra light olive oil) daily; preferably an hour after and/ or before your meals. The scientific reason as stated in the book is that; weight is regulated by a system with a set point; i.e. if your weight is below your set point, your appetite will be more. Having flavourless food such as sugar water or oil, which still have calories makes you feel full hence lowering your set point, eventually lowering your weight. Every dieter’s dream, It Sounds too good to be true since it offers no restriction on anything you want to eat and no exercise! It has been criticized for being an experimental diet with no scientific research to validate it.
8. Master cleanse
The master cleanse or the Laxatives, then lemon-cayenne pepper and maple syrup diet became a widely followed diet after being adopted by Beyonce Knowles to lose weight for her role in ‘Dreamgirls’. The general idea behind this weird diet is to detoxify the body and take a break from solid food. It is a short term diet, and since it is a cleanse it helps detoxify the body . The cleanse concoction is made by mixing 2 table spoons of lemon and a table spoon of maple syrup(preferably organic) with water and a small amount of cayenne pepper. This mixture is supposed to be taken about ten to twelve times in a day which starts and ends by taking laxatives to clear your system. A ten day diet, it drastically reduces the metabolic rate and lacks essential nutrients and proteins and can make you sick if your immunity is weak. Returning to a normal diet after this cleanse can make you gain weight much faster.
7. Baby food diet
A diet trend that took Hollywood by storm, it promoted eating pureed carrots, mashed bananas and other baby food as replacement for regular meals to control calorie intake. Created by Tracy Anderson, a celebrity trainer, the calorie limitation per day is at 600 calories. It works on the theory that eating mushy; semi solid baby food in controlled amounts will prevent overeating and keep you full with smaller portions. There is no evidence that it actually works or that it is healthy for that matter, since baby food, though rich in nutrients is made for requirements of babies; not adults. The low calorie intake will cause exhaustion and leave you unable to do any exercise, which may result in flabby skin due to the weight loss. According to experts, people will not be able to follow this diet for more than a week, since not only is baby food not so good on your taste buds but also due of its severe restrictions it cannot be continued for long term weight loss.
6. Sleeping beauty diet
Made popular by Elvis Presley, this strange diet requires you to get sedated for several days! It follows the premise that the body does not consume any calories when you are sleeping, so the several days you are out, you will not require food and burn your calorie reserves, thus apparently leading to weight loss. Though at most it can help you catch up your sleep, there has been no concrete proof that this diet actually works. Some of the glaring and obvious concerns about this diet are how are you going to do it in the first place; apart from finding the time to remain sedated and do absolutely nothing, it is also a challenge to obtain access to drugs for the sedation, no medical practitioner will hand out to you for a so called diet. Even if you do manage to perform this diet the concept of starving yourself by way of sleep is not only damaging but simply outrageous.
5. Breatharian diet
Quite a popular trend, this diet has a strong set of followers who believe that this diet is the answer to all food related problems in the world. This diet or Breatharian movement, as it has now become, was started by Ellen Greve who called herself Jasmuheen. Breatharians believe that just like plants, humans can too live off of just air and sun. A spiritual movement, it says that the human body receives its nutrition from the sun, water, air and ‘prana’ meaning life force in Sanskrit. Fasting, and taking energy only from the sun makes the body pure. However spiritual the intentions, it is ridiculous to assume that humans can live as plants. The lack of food can cause dangerous chemical imbalance, but more importantly dehydration due to the lack of water causes kidney failure, seizures, permanent brain damage and organ failure, leading to death! Though there are several people who swear they have lived off on the sun for years with the occasional fast-break, there have been reports of many more who have died.
4. Cotton ball diet
A highly disconcerting fad, this diet became very popular among models striving to achieve the harshly criticized zero figure. This trend was revealed by aspiring model Bria Murphy, actor Eddie Murphy’s daughter, amidst shock and disgust. This diet includes eating cotton balls dipped in orange juice to curb hunger and feel full. Apart from the glaring fact that this diet has absolutely no nutritional value leading to long term malnutrition and low metabolism, it is dangerous and ridiculous to say in the least. Firstly, eating a cotton ball could not only trigger gagging, it could cause liquids to enter into the lungs when you try to cough the fibres out. Secondly cotton balls are not easy to digest; they can cause bowel obstruction, twisting of intestines as well as necrosis of the bowel which could require surgery.
3. Prolinn diet
This diet stars in almost all lists of the worst, never to be followed diets of all time. Developed by Dr Roger Linn in the 1970s, it was also called the last chance diet, since it was considered an extreme, last chance resort after all other diets had failed. It had become so popular that the book sold over two million copies. The idea behind the diet was to put your body in starvation mode by not eating food at all. Instead a drink called as Prolinn was advocated, which was a pure protein drink made of raw leather, horns, entails, tendons and ligaments since it was easily digestible and just enough to sustain you. These drinks were available in containers in stores, and of course artificial sweeteners and colours were added to make it more flavourable. During that time there were about 26 deaths caused due to cardiac problems because of the Prolinn diet. Not only was the amount of protein in the drink not enough for sustenance, but also the chemicals used as preservatives may have elevated heart disease risks.
2. HCG diet
HCG is a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin produced during pregnancy. This diet which has become quite popular, promises quick weight loss by taking HCG injections in combination with a food plan for consuming just 500-800 calories per day! HCG is used to increase the metabolic rate of women during pregnancy and this diet believes that it would do the same in non pregnancy as well thus leading to weight loss. With lacking scientific proof and ineffectiveness of HCG to lose weight in clinical trials, this irrational diet can pose health threats due to gallstone formation, irregular heartbeat and electrolyte imbalance due to severe calorie restriction. The use of HCG containing weight loss products have been banned by the FDA, but some crazy dieters still continue to take injections.
1. Tapeworm diet
This is by far one of the craziest diets that has been followed.Tapeworms are ribbon shaped parasites; they live inside the intestines of the hosts and obtain nutrients by absorbing carbohydrates and sugars from the digestive system. Capable of producing millions of eggs these worms can grow up to a length of 20 feet or more! The diet involves intentionally ingesting tapeworm usually in the cyst stage in the form of pills or raw meat and then taking medication to kill it on day 85. Basically the diet tells you to eat whatever you want because the tapeworm is going to absorb it anyway, helping you lose weight. Sounds very enticing, but although a parasite might help people lose weight due to diarrhea, loss of appetite and low calorie absorption, tapeworms also steal essential vitamins causing sickness. Another condition that your body may be exposed to is Ascites, wherein the body’s immune response to a parasitic infection can cause fluid retention in the abdomen causing it to swell. If that isn’t enough, these parasites can actually enter your brain through the bloodstream in a condition called Cysticercosis, causing blindness and even death!