Written by Max Effect
One of the major fall-outs of today’s hectic lifestyle and erratic eating habits is the growing waistlines. Add to that the emphasis on looking a certain way, as dictated by the media and popular celebrity culture, to be considered physically appealing.
This is an age where people are highly pressed for time, and are looking for easy alternatives that help them achieve their goal of losing weight quickly and effortlessly. Enter, crazy fad diets, taking the Internet by storm, thanks to social media channels like Instagram and Pinterest.
While at first these diet plans may seem like the magic potion you have been waiting for, many of them are hazardous to your health. Most quick-fix diets that promise to do the impossible in terms of weight loss are not backed by scientific research or approved by the medical community, cause severe nutritional deficiencies, and set the person up for dangerous long-term health implications.
Chances are many of you would have come across such diets promising a miracle cure for your growing waistline, commanding a large number of followers including celebrities. And, if you are wondering how effective these diets are, here is a round-up of the twelve most popular and dangerous fad diets, which you need to stay away from.
This diet was started by a group called the Breatharians, who claimed to have the cure for world hunger and other food related diseases: stop eating food. The basis of this diet comes from the concept that a person can give up food and water altogether and live purely on air. So, what happens to the human body without food? Without food the body must find another way to maintain glucose levels. So, it first breaks down glycogen, then, turns to proteins and fats. The liver turns fatty acids into by-products called ketone bodies. Finally, the body goes into a life-threatening chemical imbalance called ketosis, which is a build-up of toxins in the blood. And, eventually the organs begin to fail. You can lose weight through this diet, but will gain it back once you stop it. Madonna and the “Human Barbie” Valeria Lukyanova, were rumored practitioners of this diet.
Experts are warning about the worrying rise of this diet, a kind of diet in which body-conscious people starve themselves so that they can save the calories for binge drinking. Those who follow this diet, skip meals before binge drinking and consider the calories in their alcoholic beverages as their daily allowance. Many models are known to follow this diet. Skipping meals and drinking alcohol is definitely not a good combination. Without food in the stomach, alcohol hits the bloodstream faster, and has a heightened effect. Doctors warn of the long-term health effects for people who do not eat a balanced diet. While they may be able to hold it together for a few years, they start to develop serious health issues in later stages. Celebrity pop star Lady Gaga was rumored to have tried this diet.
Baby Food Diet
This diet, an Internet phenomenon, is rumored to have been started by celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson, who later distanced herself from the craze. The diet gained popularity when many noted celebrities were rumored to be fans. This is a gimmick for cutting calories and portion control, which involves replacing your typical breakfast and lunch foods with about 14 jars of baby food which range in calories from about 20 to 100. However, this diet doesn’t get to the root of the problem. There’s a reason babies and grown-ups eat differently; they both have different nutritional requirements. The National Fiber Council warns that if adults don’t get enough fiber, they may experience problems with irregular digestion. The lack of fiber, fat, and protein causes the food to be digested quickly, leaving the person hungry in an hour or so, and susceptible to binge eating, which in essence destroys the whole purpose of following the baby food diet.
Cabbage Soup Diet
Just like the name suggests, the bulk of this diet is fat-free cabbage soup, and is used to drop pounds quickly without any long-term commitments. Followers of this diet eat the the fat-free cabbage soup two to three times a day along with other low-calorie foods like unsweetened fruit juices, leafy greens, and skim milk. It will work in the short term as you are eating a low-calorie diet, full of fiber and water. Even the famous Sarah Michelle Gellar was a rumored fan of the diet. However, it is just a quick-fix diet. Apart from the bloating and gas you get from all the cabbage, it lacks protein which is needed to preserve lean body mass. It is extremely unhealthy to cut out entire food groups as it causes severe vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Created by Dr. Alwin Lewis, this diet encourages counting bites rather than calories. This quick-fix weight loss plan involves skipping breakfast, and eating five bites of whatever food you’d like to eat at lunch and dinner. As long as the drinks are calorie-free, there is no restriction on beverages. The Dr. Oz Blog warns that this diet doesn’t come close to providing you with the key vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your body needs. This diet is not sustainable in the long run as it will throw your vitamin and minerals out of balance while temporarily messing up your metabolism, eventually leading to weight gain.
Blood Type Diet
This diet was popularized by Dr. Peter D’Adamo, a naturopathic physician, after the publication of his book Eat Right For Your Type, which was a New York Times bestseller. According to him, each blood type represents genetic traits of our ancestors, including the kind of diet they thrived on. The theory behind this diet is that people with different blood types process food differently, and adhering to a diet specific to one’s blood type improves health and decreases the risk of chronic illness. Some famous celebiriteis like Miranda Kerr, Jason Lee, Demi Moore are know to have supported this diet once. However, Canadian researchers found the science behind this popular diet fails to add up. The way an individual responds to any diet has absolutely nothing to do with their blood type and everything with their ability to stick to a sensible diet.
Master Cleanse Diet
Created by Stanley Burroughs in 1940s, it was intended to flush purported toxins and waste from the body, and shed excess fat. Popularized by celebrities likeJared Leto, Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow etc. this diet still has many followers. The typical diet regime here consists of consuming six to twelve glasses of lemonade throughout the day, a concoction made of fresh lime juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and water. However, several variations of the diet exist, depending on the follower which one they want to follow, as long as they are not straying from the 650-calorie per day. Due to the potential side effects it promotes many unwanted symptoms. Sustaining the body on these types of ingredients is unhealthy as the body does not receive the adequate nutrition needed to repair itself. There is also no proof that detoxifying leads to long-term weight loss. Also, the liver takes care of the job of detoxifying. Followers of this diet may experience fatigue, diarrhea, bloating, blood sugar issues, and loss of energy. No studies are provided to prove that it is an effective and safe way to lose weight.
Popularized by the founder Laura Power, this diet works by separating people into six different biotypes. It relates to six different hormone types and fat accumulation in different parts of the body, and involves reducing body fat through controlling hormone balance. People who follow this diet eat only certain foods in an attempt to manage their hormones and reduce fat in certain areas. According to The British Dietetic Association, this diet relies heavily on supplements and pseudo-science, and is not a healthy way to lose weight. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says there exists no evidence to validate the purported health benefits of this diet.
Sleeping Beauty Diet
This is a fad diet that emphasizes being sedated via the use of pills or forcing sleep whenever you feel hungry in order to lose weight, and is claimed to have been used by the likes of Elvis Presley. However, little information exists about its history or origin. Similar to other fad diets, there’s actually no scientific evidence to prove that this diet is safe and effective. According to Christopher Ochner, director of R&D and administration at Mount Sinai, every time you go under, you may wake up two pounds lighter, but you also run the risk of not waking up at all. Sleeping when hungry leads to starving your body, which puts your health in grave danger. Also, the potentially addictive nature of the pills leads to addiction and can be potentially fatal to the internal organs.
The tapeworm diet involves ingesting the parasitic worms or its eggs which grow in the intestines and absorb the nutrients from the digestive system. While people do resort to extreme measures in a desperate attempt to lose weight, this kind of diet is not only a radical fad but also extremely dangerous. The idea behind this diet is that the tapeworm interferes with the digestion and absorption of nutrients, which means the person can lose weight in spite of consuming more calories. However, the parasite competes for vitamins and other important nutrients, which results in nutritional deficiency. Apart from malnutrition, it can also result in intestinal blockages and the formation of cysts in the liver, eyes, brain, and spinal cord with potentially lethal consequences.
Cotton Ball Diet
Many who are desperate for smaller waistlines follow this dangerous diet trend, which calls for eating cotton balls soaked in juices to curb their appetite and dramatically cut their daily calorie intake. This diet trend is said to have emerged in the modeling industry where women are pressured to stay dangerously thin. But, eating cotton balls is not just unappetizing but also potentially deadly. Cotton balls are bleached, polyester fibers containing a lot of harmful chemicals. According to Dr. Ovidio Bermudez, chief medical officer at the Eating Recovery Center in Denver, downing cotton balls is akin to eating cloth dipped in fruit juice, or even eating buttons and coins. AS the body can’t digest it, it will remain in the stomach mixing with mucus and other food particles. It creates several blockages or full obstruction, either of which could be life threatening.
Red Bull Diet
his diet calls for nothing more than drinking 10 to 14 cans of Red Bull a day to keep you energized. This diet came into limelight when the founder of the diet, New Zealand mom Brooke Robertson claimed to have lost 98 pounds in just eight months, but also experienced severe cramping and crippling anxiety and suffered a minor heart attack. Red Bull contains a lot of caffeine which is diuretic and can effortlessly dehydrate your body. The water loss in your body translates into weight loss. Anxiety, muscle twitching, insomnia, ulcers, and gastroesophageal reflux are just some of the complications associated with excessive caffeine intake. Caffeine is attributed to causing more health problems than gains.
With the widespread access to Internet, it becomes easy to advertise these diet plans to the masses, with many popular celebrities rumored to be following some of those diets. However, none of these fad diets are backed by proper scientific research or proven to have long-term benefits. Rather, they are quick-fix methods aimed at people desperate to get an ideal body dictated by the fashion world. And, not to mention, the potential life-threatening hazards these fad diets cause to the human body.
Categorised in: Resources