Every day it seems new fad diets are ready to make weight loss faster and easier than ever before. Or at least they say they are. Most fad diets go something like this: Take a few foods, give them ‘magic’ power, and set a plan to convince people that eating this way and only this way will promote weight loss. These diets might spur short-term weight loss, but many are difficult to follow, have arbitrary rules, and a few could put your health in danger, as you risk malnutrition.
For example, take tapeworm diet – one of the most dangerous fad diets. You don’t need a doctor to tell you that ingesting a tapeworm is a bad idea. But apparently, some people do. Here’s how it goes: Ingest tapeworm eggs, let the tapeworm eat the food you consume once it gets to your intestines, and then when you lose enough weight, get a doctor to prescribe you an anti-worm medication – at this point the tapeworm could be between 20-30 feet long! Some tapeworm eggs can migrate to various parts of your body or cause other potentially life-threatening problems. Freaked out yet? Good.
Cotton Ball Diet
After Eddie Murphy’s daughter, Bria Murphy, admitted to seeing models eat cotton balls dipped in juice to stay skinny, the fad diet quickly caught on with young women. The cotton ball diet is a diet that involves eating cotton balls dipped in liquids such as fruit juice. The cotton is intended to make a person’s stomach feel full without them gaining weight. The diet has been repeatedly condemned as dangerous and can be life-threatening. This is another example of where fad diets are dangerous!
Ashton Kutcher started the Fruitarian diet as a means of getting into character for the 2013 Steve Jobs biopic, Jobs. Steve Jobs swore by a Fruitarian diet, which advocates that at least 75% of an individual’s daily dietary intake should come from raw fruit, stated U.S. News and World Report. In Kutcher’s case, it took only a month before this fruit-based diet sent him to A&E with an inflamed pancreas!
Baby Food Diet
A-listers Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston, and Reese Witherspoon have been linked allegedly to this so-crazy-it-just-might-work diet plan, in which dieters ‘enjoy’ puréed peas, carrots, and other baby-friendly fares. Sources like The Daily Beast observe that although these miniature dishes do offer certain health benefits, they wouldn’t provide sufficient nutritional value for a full-grown adult.
The ‘Master Cleanse’ Diet
Celebrities including Beyoncé have used this diet. But it’s far from the principles of healthy eating, and the results aren’t likely to last. The Lemonade Diet, also called the Master Cleanse, is a liquid-only diet consisting of three things: a lemonade-like beverage, salt-water drink, and herbal laxative tea.The claim is simple: Give it 10 days (or more) and you’ll drop pounds, “detox” your digestive system, and feel energetic, vital, happy, and healthy. You’ll also kerb cravings for unhealthy food. It all started with Stanley Burroughs’s book, The Master Cleanser.
The Bottom Line on Fad Diets
Yo-yo dieting or weight cycling, as experts call it is practically a national pastime, as some research suggests 1 in 4 people in the UK is dieting. The weight loss industry is making millions of pound but our efforts don’t stick. Most of us will regain almost all of what we lost, according to research, which is why the typical dieter tries a new plan four times a year. We have this mentality that a diet is something to go on and then get off as quickly as possible. But lasting weight loss requires making lifestyle changes that will work long-term.
Those looking to lose weight or start a healthier lifestyle should be warned against quick fixes with bad consequences, such as starvation, skipping meals, taking diet pills, cutting out all snacks, believing all food labelled low- or reduced-fat is a healthy choice, cutting out carbohydrates etc.
Starvation and meal-skipping is highly unlikely to result in long-term weight loss and is hard to maintain. No one wants to diet forever; it’s hard work. That’s why nutrition news should always pass what you may call The Reasonableness Test. In other words, if a story or report or study sounds ridiculous, it probably is.
Become a qualified Nutritionist
If you’re interested in learning more about nutrition, or you’re passionate about healthy eating and would like to start a career as a Nutritionist, have a look at our online professional Nutrition Consultant (RQF) Course which awards you with an industry-recognised Qualification on completion. You can learn and study in your own time, at your own pace, with a personal tutor to help you achieve your goal.
Nutritionists in the UK can earn between £20,000 to £50,000 a year.