10 Of The Weirdest Diet Fads We’ve Seen So Far

Weird weight loss plans and diet scams have been around since people started giving advice about food.

Diets are big business today, and Google bans more than 30,000 sites a year for weight loss scams. Weird scam diets usually pray on people looking for a quick fix and advertisers feed into this trend with catchy names and unhealthy, restrictive diets.

Let’s take a look at some of the weirdest diet fads we’ve seen to date.

1. The Blood Type Diet

10 Of The Weirdest Diet Fads We've Seen So Far - Blood TypePeter D’Adamo, a naturopathic physician, created “The Blood Type Diet” fad when he claimed that the foods you eat chemically react to your blood type. Peter D’Adamo recommends a different type of diet for each type of blood group.

Recommendations for each Blood Type Group:

  • O blood Type: He recommends eating lean meat, poultry, fish, and vegetables, but eating less grains, beans, and dairy products.
  • A blood Type: He recommends a meat-free diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains.
  • B blood Type: He recommends avoiding certain foods like wheat, buckwheat, lentils, tomatoes, peanuts, and sesame seeds.
  • AB blood Type: He recommends eating foods such as tofu, seafood, dairy, and green vegetables, and to avoid smoked or cured meats as well as stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol.

The Verdict

There is no scientific proof that your blood type affects weight loss. The science is always stacked behind traditional recommendations for healthy eating for weight loss, and not restrictions based on the type of your blood. This diet is complicated and very high maintenance and difficult to have a normal social life, since the meals are highly restrictive and difficult to maintain.

2. The Master Cleanse/Lemonade Diet

This diet fad has been around since at least the 1950’s and there are many variations on it. This one consists of no food and a very restricted liquid intake primarily of only lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper mixed with water. This diet’s claim to fame is quick weight loss, but it’s probably no surprise that most of the weight loss is water.

The Verdict

This is not a long-term fix to permanent weight loss. The ingredients in the drink consumed are diuretics and the weight lost during this program is mostly water. Once you bring food back into your diet, weight gain is bound to occur.

The lack of calories in the Lemonade Diet will cause muscles to suffer and weight gain inevitable. Common side effects of this diet include fatigue, nausea, dizziness, and dehydration.

3. The Werewolf Diet

Unfortunately, this diet fad makes no guarantees that a glimpse of the full moon will have you leaping from your desk and out the window to live life in the forest as a wolf. This is a shame, really, as it would make for a fun day at the office!

If you wish to plan your diet around a more gothic lifestyle, then perhaps the Werewolf or “Lunar” diet may appeal to you. All you have to do is plan your diet around the 28-day lunar cycle.

There are two versions of this diet, the complicated one and the easy one. The complicated one involves specific diet plans for each phase of the moon. The easy one requires just one day of fasting during each new moon cycle, where the adept dieter only drinks water and juices.

The Verdict

Although fans of the Lunar/werewolf diet claim you can lose up to six pounds in a single day (a somewhat lunatic idea), these claims most likely have nothing to do with the moon.

4. The Cotton Ball Diet

10 Of The Weirdest Diet Fads We've Seen So Far - Cotton Ball DietIf you didn’t think things could get weirder, then let me introduce you to “The Cotton Ball” diet.

This strange diet involves soaking raw cotton balls in juices or smoothies and chomping them down to limit their food intake. Some dieters just fill up on cotton balls exclusively.

The tasteless, natural cotton balls are low in calories, contain a high amount of fibre, and take up a lot of space in your stomach. Cotton Balls are possibly the latest and craziest diet fad to date.

The Verdict

This diet is extremely unhealthy and has been repeatedly condemned as dangerous. Over time the cotton balls can build up and create blockages in the digestive system and may lead to life-threatening issues. Eating cotton balls or any non-food item in an effort to lose weight isn’t a diet, it’s disordered eating and extremely DANGEROUS. This is not a diet we endorse or recommend trying. Eating disorders such as bulimia, anorexia, and bingeing come with serious potential health risks.

5. The Arsenic Diet

Diet, pills, and potions became increasingly big business during the 19th Century. But these so-called “wonder-remedies” often had dangerous ingredients, including arsenic and strychnine.

They were advertised as a way to speed up the metabolism, much like amphetamines do.

Although the amount of arsenic in the pills was small, it was still extremely dangerous. Many poisons were not controlled and were easily obtained for all sorts of household and medical purposes.

Snake oil salesmen set themselves up as experts, promoting their diets and products to sell. Plenty of people bought into these ‘miracle cures’. Sometimes the inclusion of Arsenic was not even advertised as an ingredient, meaning people didn’t know what they were actually taking.

The Verdict

Arsenic is a poison often featured in old crime novels. If consumed in large amounts it is deadly, even small, long-term exposure can lead to death or other illness. Studies have linked prolonged exposure of arsenic to cancer, diabetes, and liver disease.

6. Diet Underwear

Caffeine infused underwear that promises to destroy fat cells might sound unbelievable, but it was sold as a diet solutions. The underwear sold as iPants claims they will “slim and reshape the wearer’s body and reduce cellulite.”

The original manufacturers claimed their clothes contain microcapsules created with a patented caffeine-based formula that will “mobilize fats” and moisturize skin. Their biggest boast was that upon wearing the $55 shorts: “You will feel better.”

The Verdict

Norm Thompson Outfitters and Wacoal America were ordered to pay $1.3 million, after the judgement allegedly made “false and unsubstantiated claims that wearing iPants would: substantially reduce cellulite; cause a substantial reduction in the wearer’s thigh measurements; and destroy fat cells, resulting in substantial slimming.”

As diet fads go, this one didn’t survive for long.

7. The Sleeping Beauty Diet

This diet Fad was a favorite among the king of rock n’ roll, Elvis Presley. Pretty self-explanatory, this diet follows the principle that if you’re asleep, you’re not eating. Simply take a bunch of sedatives and stay asleep for days on end, until the excess weight has simply vanished. Hmm… sounds pretty dangerous, right?!

The Verdict

This is just stupid and dangerous because every time you take sedatives you run the risk of not waking up. This really fits well on the crazy diet list because starvation is never a good way to lose weight and the lack of body movement can cause muscle deterioration. No diet is worth the risk of dying. Stay smart. Don’t take unnecessarily dangerous measures to shed a few extra pounds.

8. The Drunk Diet

10 Of The Weirdest Diet Fads We've Seen So Far - The Drunk DietLady Gaga once claimed that pop stars shouldn’t eat! When interviewed about her more recent diet plans, the pop star admitted to following “The Drunk Diet”. This is a diet that her boyfriend Luc Carl, had used to lose 40 pounds.

Lady Gaga claimed that she drank whiskey while working and made an effort to work out every day, even if she was hung over.

The Verdict

Alcohol is actually calorie-dense; just one gram of alcohol yields seven calories with no nutrients. While it may seem fun to get drunk in the name of losing weight, it simply wont work.

While drinking alcohol in moderation can be fairly harmless, having enough alcohol to have a hangover for weeks at a time is definitely not. Consuming alcohol in excess is alcoholism and can have many disastrous effects on the body, such as causing pancreatitis, alcoholic liver disease, or damage of the central nervous system.

9. The Cigarette Diet

In the 1920s the President of the American Tobacco Company, Percival Hill, saw the potential in selling cigarettes to women as an appetite suppressant, so that they could achieve the decade’s small waistlines.

Tobacco use has had a long association with appetite suppression from the South Americans to old world Europeans. For decades, tobacco companies have linked the connections between slimness and smoking as a major selling point in their advertisements targeting women.

The Verdict

Smoking is known for its countless negative health side effects, but nicotine may actually be an appetite suppressant. Yes, smoking is an unhealthy, harmful habit, but, that information wasn’t widely available in the 1920s. Flappers, bootleggers, and everyone in between smoked at the time, unaware of the dangers it may cause, including heart disease, lung cancer, and death.

10. The Tapeworm Diet

We’ve saved the best for last… drumroll, please…

We present to you, The Tapeworm Diet. In the early 1900’s, a new diet fad emerged that encouraged tapeworms to live in a person’s intestines. The eager dieter would consume a tape worm in the form of a pill that contained beef tapeworm cysts.

The tapeworms absorb the food ingested by the dieter, while growing to maturity in the dieters intestines.

As the tape worms reach maturity and the dieter reached their desired weight, they would take an anti-parasitic pill which, they hoped, would kill off the tapeworms. The dieter would then have to excrete the tapeworm, which could cause abdominal and rectal complications.

Imagine feeding an internal tapeworm with the potential to grow up to 30 feet long. Ewwwwwwwww!

The Verdict

If the thought of all this is not enough to put you off then consider that tapeworms can also cause many illnesses including headaches, eye problems, meningitis, epilepsy, and dementia. Most parasites will harm the host and may eventually kill it, but tapeworms can also contain blood sucking fleas that live protected within the tapeworms.

The Future of Fad diets

10 Of The Weirdest Diet Fads We've Seen So FarFad diets tend to be those that offer fantastic weight loss claims for little or no effort on the part of the dieter. The marketers of these “wonder diets” know this, so it is important to remember that rapid weight loss is not sustainable and isn’t healthy!

Simply put, you cannot stay on a fad diet for the rest of your life, nor should you want to!

The Mayo Clinic offers some advice about your personal needs before you start a new fad or popular diet. Here are some things to consider:

  • Have you ever dieted before?
  • Can you follow a strict diet?
  • Which diet worked for you in the past?
  • How did you feel on the diet – mentally, physically, and emotionally?
  • Do you like to diet alone?
  • Do you need diet support from a group?
  • Do you like to have online support?
  • Do you like to go to diet support group meetings?
  • Does your budget allow for special diet supplements?
  • Do you prefer using weight loss clinics?
  • Can you afford special diet food or beverages?
  • Are you limited by any health conditions?

Harvard professor of nutrition, David Ludwig, said, “The Western Diet as we know it has caused the obesity epidemic… It’s the low-fat, very high carbohydrate diet that we’ve been eating for the last 40 years, which raises levels of the hormone insulin and programs fat cells to go into calorie storage overdrive.”

We need to radically rethink our approach to food, and move away from the idea that we just need a new diet! We need to look at the way we treat our bodies for the long term, and avoid hoping the next “30 day miracle diet” will be the answer. It’s about eating healthy, nutrient dense food and avoiding processed foods. Maintaining a well-balanced diet and having healthy portion sizes should be key to maintaining and achieving an ideal body weight.

Disclaimer: Our reviews and investigations are based on extensive research from the information publicly available to us and consumers at the time of first publishing the post. Information is based on our personal opinion and whilst we endeavour to ensure information is up-to-date, manufacturers do from time to time change their products and future research may disagree with our findings. If you feel any of the information is inaccurate, please contact us and we will review the information provided.

Have Your Say

Add your comment

We'd love to get your opinion. Please keep it clean and stay on topic, no spamming. Comments are moderated before being made live. Your email address will not be published.
We cannot give advice about medical conditions or prescription drugs. Please direct specific medical questions to your doctor.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Get the conversation started by leaving your comments using the form above.