Weird weight loss plans and diet scams have been around since people started giving advice about food. There were written dietary advice in Ancient Greece and Rome and some of the more bizarre ideas are still in vogue.
Its big business today, and Google still bans more than 30,000 sites a year for weight loss scams. Weird scam diets usually rely on the skill of advertisers knowing that everyone is really looking for an easy quick fix to the unhealthy body image we often have of ourselves.
So the advertisers give us what we want, because what could be easier than an abstinence of certain foods that perhaps we don’t care for anyway, or to be able to eat foods that are the cause of the weight problem by taking a drink or pill that can help us lose weight without even having to change our behaviours.
We take a look at some of the weirdest diet fads we have seen so far, all of which have been used by dieters to find that magic quick fix diet.
Peter D’Adamo a naturopathic physician created this fad when he claimed that the foods you eat react chemically with your blood type. This is known as the Blood Type Diet, and Peter D’Adamo recommends a different type of diet for each type of blood group.
For type O blood group: He recommends lean meat, poultry, fish, and vegetables, but light on grains, beans, and dairy produce.
For type A blood group: He recommends a meat-free diet based on fruits and vegetables, beans, and whole grains.
For type B blood group: He recommends avoiding certain foods like, wheat, buckwheat, lentils, tomatoes, peanuts, and sesame seeds.
For Type AB blood: He recommends Foods like tofu, seafood, dairy, and green vegetables, and to avoid smoked or cured meats and stimulants like caffeine and alcohol.
If you like complicated details in your diet fads then this one is really high maintenance. Meals will be a complete minefield, as you will have to make all your meals from your blood group approved ingredients. So, if you are a meat and two veg type of eater, then you are unlikely to be happy if you have type A blood which mostly suggests you eat a vegetarian only diet. Meals out at restaurants will also probably make you pretty unhappy when most of the menu will include foods you can’t eat.
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 fad has been around since at least the 1950’s and there are many variations on it. This one involves not eating and subsisting on a very limited number of liquids and hot pepper spice, mainly liquids that make you pee a lot.
By drinking only lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper mixed in water, the diet fad claims fantastic fast weight loss promises. It is probably not that surprising that the ingredients will make you pee a lot
This may cause very temporary weight loss, but by only drinking these types of ingredients known as diuretics, the weight loss you gain will be mainly through shedding water, and as soon as you eat again the weight will come straight back.
The Lemonade Diet is a fad that has an extremely low calorie count, which will cause the muscles to suffer and this is the weight you need to retain on a diet. This can be compounded by the common side effects that include fatigue, nausea, dizziness, and dehydration.
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 the 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 be more your type of diet fad though. 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, and it’s strict and probably ceremonial. The easy one requires just one day of fasting at each new moon, where the adept dieter only drinks water and juices.
Although fans of the Lunar/werewolf diet claim you can lose as much as six pounds in a single day (a somewhat lunatic idea anyway), it has absolutely nothing to do with the moon. You are really just changing your diet and fasting, and just like the full moon the weight will come back soon.
Right up to date with the Cotton Ball diet fad. Who hasn’t at some point thought “you know what I really fancy right now is some raw cotton balls.” No we haven’t thought that either, but a search on YouTube and chat rooms is full of this crazy fad diet.
The idea is to feel full without gaining weight, and involves soaking raw cotton balls in lemonade or a juice 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 of today. You know what dieting by eating non food items is just self imposed starvation.
Over time the cotton balls can build up and create blockages, or even a full obstruction in the stomach, throat, and intestines, and these conditions could be life threatening. Eating cotton balls or any non food item in an effort to lose weight isn’t a diet, its disordered eating. Eating disorders such as bulimia, anorexia, and bingeing come with serious potential health risks.
Diet drugs, pills, and potions became increasingly big business in the 19th Century. But these so-called “wonder-remedies” often had dangerous ingredients, including arsenic and strychnine.
They were advertised as speeding 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.
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 a much slower death or other illness. Studies have linked prolonged exposure to cancer, diabetes, and liver disease.
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 claimed they would “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.”
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 has came and went.
This diet Fad allows you to sleep yourself thin, and was allegedly favoured by the king himself Elvis Presley. Not complicated to understand it follows the simple principle that if you are 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. Oh wait a minute though, wouldn’t that be incredibly dangerous?
This is just stupid dangerous, because every time you take the sedatives you run the risk that one day you just won’t wake up. This really does fit well on the crazy list because sleeping the days away will not only starve your body, but will quickly cause serious muscle deterioration from the lack of movement. You might even loose a few pounds using this method, but that is nothing to what you would loose if you are dead and buried.
Celebrities are constantly on the craziest diets. One week, they’re gorging on baby food to get slim then the next week; they’re eating cookies or fasting to strip away the weight.
Lady 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. We can probably assume from this tale that if she had a hangover she had probably been drunk. No one can quite work out if being drunk is supposed to make you forget to eat. It is hard to understand how drunk you have to avoid the temptation of a late night Kebab or take away!
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.
In the 1920s the President of the American Tobacco Company, Percival Hill, noted the ladies fashion for bobbed hair cuts, short skirts, and slender figures. Mr. 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, and for decades tobacco companies have employed these connections between slimness and smoking in their advertisements, mainly in advertisements targeting women.
Smoking is known for its countless negative health consequences but nicotine may actually be an appetite suppressant. Yes, smoking is an unhealthy, harmful habit, but, that information wasn’t widely known in the 1920s. Flappers, bootleggers, and everyone in between smoked at the time, unaware of the dangers (including heart disease, lung cancer, and death).
Saving the best until last, and not for the squeamish. We present the tapeworm diet. In the early 1900s a new diet fad began to be advertised, one that had just one rule and that was you have to encourage tapeworms to live in their intestines. The eager dieter would consume the tape worms in the form of a pill that would contain beef tapeworm cysts.
The idea was that the tapeworms would absorb the food ingested by the dieter, while growing to maturity in the unfortunate dieters intestines.
As the tape worms reach maturity and the dieter reached their desired weight, they then took 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!
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.
Fad 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 just not sustainable.
Even if you lose a few pounds, they are nearly always unhealthy and are most likely to cause a rebound in weight gain as soon as you begin eating normally again. Diets that claim you don’t have to exercise are not the best for your overall health.
Simply put, you cannot stay on a fad diet for the rest of your life.
The Mayo Clinic offers some advice about your personal needs before you start a new fad diet or popular diet. Here are some things to consider:
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 much more seriously in the long term, and not wait until it’s too late instead of hoping for a 30 day miracle cure of the latest diet fad.
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.