- By all means, lose some weight if you need to. But don’t do it like this.
So, you’ve binged on junk food and would like to lose a few pounds. But working out is just so much effort. Surely there has to be a better way.
Good news, there is — at least if you believe the people making money out of fad diets. And sure, once in a blue moon, they come up with something that kind-of, sort-of works.
Those other times, though… You’d be surprised what people are willing to do to lose weight without having to exercise.
Here are some of the weirdest diets from the recent and not-so-recent history.
1) The Baby Food Diet
Let’s start with something that you could kind of see working. The baby food diet is simple — instead of regular meals, eat a couple of jars of baby food. Less strict adherents allow themselves a regular grown-up dinner.
On the surface, this doesn’t seem so bad. After all, babies survive on baby food, so why couldn’t you.
Well, there’s a reason why we don’t keep feeding kids baby food forever. Since baby food is mostly mashed fruits and vegetables, this diet could leave you suffering from nutrient and protein deficiencies.
It’s also easy to overdose on salt since baby food is formulated for the amounts that a baby would eat. In other words, this diet is not one that’s meant for adults.
2) The Cabbage Soup Diet
Cabbage soup is delicious (your mileage may vary) and the leafy vegetable is very low in calories. So why not eat only cabbage soup to lose weight?
We’ll tell you why — it doesn’t work. Not only that you’re poised to give yourself a fantastic cocktail of health issues.
To begin with, we all know cabbage can make you gassy. Imagine the gut discomfort you’ll get from subsisting on nothing but cabbage.
The lack of significant calories can cause also heart problems. Not only that, this diet can actually lead to weight gain. Once you get sick of eating nothing but cabbage, your body will quickly pile on the pounds to make up since your metabolism has slowed to a crawl.
To drive home the point of this diet’s pointlessness, even the creators themselves admit that the cabbage soup diet simply doesn’t work. So don’t bother.
3) The Sleeping Beauty Diet
The Sleeping Beauty diet relies on some dubious interpretation of science. Granted, it is true that lack of sleep can cause weight gain.
But this diet takes the whole thing to the other extreme. The basic idea is simple — if you’re sleeping, you’re not eating, so you should sleep at least 10 hours a day.
But what if you can’t fall asleep because of your grumbling stomach? Don’t worry, just pop enough sleeping pills to knock yourself out.
Do we even need to tell you why this diet is not a good idea? Sure, you’ll lose weight but that’s because you’re literally starving yourself.
You should absolutely sleep the recommended eight hours a night. But sleeping so you don’t eat or realize your body is slowly wasting away is in no way healthy.
4) The Cigarette Diet
The 1920s were a wild time when it comes to advertising products that are bad for your health. At the time, tobacco companies came up with a wonderful marketing scheme — the cigarette diet.
If you feel hungry, just light one up. Sure enough, nicotine does decrease your appetite, so you’ll probably soon be less hungry.
And people bought it — at least for a while. But they soon noticed that smoking constantly to keep yourself from eating is a pretty terrible idea.
Not only will you probably give yourself lung cancer, but smoking is also closely linked to weight gain. Thankfully for lungs everywhere, the cigarette diet died out fairly quickly.
5) Clamping Your Mouth Shut
We’re not exactly sure if this bizarre and horrendous experiment can really count as a fad diet. But we’re including it here anyway because… Just why?
In 2021, UK researchers, together with the University of Otago from New Zealand, developed a new weight loss device. Called DentalSlim Diet Control, this thing is essentially a pair of strong magnets that clamps your mouth shut.
The device allows you to open your jaws only by a smidgen. You can talk and ingest liquid foods, but nothing thicker than a straw won’t fit in through your teeth.
The DentalSlim sounds like some kind of torture device, but according to its creators it has “no adverse consequences.” And that’s how you know someone’s lying.
As a testament to how horrible of an idea this thing is, the Academy of Eating Disorders (AED)felt they had to speak out against it.
“We call upon the entire health care community to question the use of not only this device, but of all weight loss methods that perpetuate weight stigma and may lead to patient harm,” AED said.
6) The Breatharian Diet
But what if you tried the ultimate dieting method and stopped eating altogether? That’s exactly what breatharianism — a bizarre mix of dieting, environmentalism, and new age religion — espouses.
According to breatharians, human beings can live only on water and sunshine. Let us be clear (and we can’t believe this needs to be said), our bodies don’t work like that. You’re not a plant!
But don’t take our word for it. “Living on air and sunshine will provide no caloric or fluid intake. Anyone who claims to be maintaining a steady body weight on such a diet is unlikely to be telling the truth,” Dr. David Oliver told Vice.
Yet people have actually starved themselves to death while practicing a breatharian diet, and celebrities like Michelle Pfeiffer have subscribed to it. That’s despite the fact that Wiley Brooks, the founder of the Breatharian Institute of America, got busted several times gorging himself on McDonald’s, hot dogs, and Twinkies.