The Most Popular and Craziest Diet Fads

From time to time, many of us gain extra unwanted pounds we want to shed. This is why a whole lot of diet fads were invented. Reducing carbohydrate and calorie intake and increasing protein consumption are some of the popular ways to pursue weight loss.

Over the centuries, many people have invented and tried bizarre ideas to restrict food intake. Here are some of the widely-spread, strangest diet fads:

Tapeworm diet

1. Tapeworm diet

In this disgusting diet, you swallow a capsule filled with sanitized tapeworm eggs, and let them hatch and grow inside you until they are fully mature. Then, these parasites will attach themselves in the intestinal tract and absorb the food you eat. Once you achieved your ideal weight, you must be treated with anti-parasitic medication to kill the worm. Advocates of the tapeworm diet assure people they can lose one to two pounds a week using this method.

This diet is particularly dangerous because the worms might infect your intestines. Symptoms of infection include nausea, weakness, diarrhea, loss of appetite and malnutrition. If these worms would migrate out of your intestines, they might cause organ and tissue damage. Some can also live inside you for up to 30 years.

Legend has it that opera singer Maria Callas achieved her amazing weight loss in the 1950s by swallowing a tapeworm.

Sleeping beauty diet

2. Sleeping beauty diet

If you are not awake, then you cannot eat, right? That’s the whole principle of the sleeping beauty diet. It was originally formulated in the 1970s and was reportedly popular with Elvis Presley. Advocates of this weight loss method take sleeping pills and sleep for days at a time in order to lose weight. The diet was also backed by the scientifically proven idea that lack of sleep contributes to weight gain and obesity.

Obviously, the diet will work but it is such an unhealthy approach to weight loss. Depriving yourself of nutrition and physical movement for days while inducing potentially addictive sedatives would surely cause dangerous effects on your body.

Cabbage soup diet

3. Cabbage soup diet

A person who loves to eat different foods every day will not be a fan of this radical diet fad. While you are allowed to add different food to the diet, the cabbage soup diet is designed around heavy consumption of the bland vegetable soup every single day.

From the 1950s onwards, dieters embraced this unappetizing dish in their attempts to lose weight. Well, you are really going to lose weight because it’s a low calorie, low fat, and low protein diet. However, doctors say the reduction of weight is caused by water loss, not fat loss. It is also very low on nutrients the body needs. Most people trying this diet lose energy and experience flatulence and light-headedness.

Baby food diet

4. Baby food diet

The baby food diet is an internet phenomenon rumored to be started by celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson. It involves a replacing one or two “grown-up” meals or snacks a day with baby food as a way to cut calories and control food portions. It is claimed that Hollywood personalities like Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Lady Gaga have all dabbled in the diet.

While baby food might be rich in vitamins, it is not appropriate to adults. It will surely cause weight loss because you’re restricting calories, but following this diet would deprive yourself of what adults enjoy about food: the taste, crunch, and fiber. Because baby food is processed, it is lacking fiber, which is very important for a good digestive system. Plus, the act of chewing food also helps you to feel full, but with this kind of diet, you’re missing out.

HCG diet

5. HCG diet

This diet suggested by a British physician in the 1950s limits you to 500 calories a day for eight weeks while getting daily injections of the hormone human choriogonadotropin (hCG), which is produced during early pregnancy. It also works by raking a homeopathic product like sprays, oral drops or pellets. Followers of this craze say that when you go on an ultra-low-calorie diet, the hCG can reset your metabolism so that you won’t gain weight without feeling weak or hungry.

However, taking hCG shots are only legal when administered by a healthcare professional. Plus, the homeopathic products are not approved by the FDA for weight loss, but for treatment of fertility issues. The FDA has already sent warning letters to companies who sell homeopathic Hcg products over the counter.

There is no evidence that the hormone injections would promote weight loss. Also, you will be eating so little while taking this diet, so it can be dangerous. For some people, they experience headaches, depression, and blood clots.

Grapefruit Diet

6. Grapefruit Diet

Designed in the 1930s, the grapefruit diet is a protein-rich meal plan that focuses on consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice at every meal. This is a 12-day plan with a promise of quick weight loss. It even claims you can eat until you are stuffed – you just need to eat or drink grapefruit after. But dieters must have to reduce their daily caloric intake to under 1,000 calories per day.

Grapefruit itself is healthy and rich in vitamin C, but there is no scientific evidence that grapefruit juice can actually burn fat in this manner. It is more likely that the limitations on calorie intake that would cause weight loss.

Plus, there are a lot of caveats in the diet. It recommends nothing prepared in aluminum pans, no intake of extremely hot or extremely cold foods and keeping protein and starch meals at least four hours apart. Honestly, looks exhausting to follow.

Cigarette Diet

7. Cigarette Diet

We all know that cigarettes are dangerous to our health, but before, it was recommended as a tool to suppress appetite. It originated from a 1920s Lucky Strike Cigarette advertising campaign that promoted smoking instead of eating food with the tagline, “Reach for a Lucky instead of a Sweet.” Since then, the diet was resurged by people seeking to lose weight. You might be thinking, “How can they be so naïve?” But it happened long before the dangers of smoking were discovered.

Obviously, it’s one of the most harmful diet fads ever. You would see the loss of weight because cigarettes have no calories. However, it contains nicotine which is a stimulant. Plus, we are all aware that smoking is the cause of many fatal medical conditions like lung cancer and heart disease.


8. Blood type diet

A naturopathic physician named Peter D’Adamo developed the blood type diet based on the notion that your nutritional needs can be determined by your blood type. Dr. D’Adamo claims his theory explains why some people lose weight and others don’t while on the same diet.

According to his theory, Type A’s need an organic and vegetarian diet, while Type O’s are suited to animal protein and intense exercise, and must avoid dairy and grains. Type B’s have a strong digestive system that can seemingly tolerate different types of foods, but they must engage in sports. For Type AB, they must combine recommendations for Type A and Type B people.

Incredibly, a lot of other people believed his theory. Within two weeks, followers of his diet program reportedly experienced an increase in energy, weight loss, better digestive health and reduction in the symptoms associated with headaches, asthma, and heartburn.

However, when researchers discovered that there is no other single study that showed the health benefits of a blood type diet. Plus, this diet can be extremely restrictive.


9. Cotton ball diet

One of the strangest and craziest diet fads, the cotton ball diet suggests you eat cotton balls dipped in orange juice before swallowing them to curb hunger. It was believed to have started in the modeling industry.

Again, weight loss might be achieved because you will not actually eat food, but ingesting non-food substances like cotton is dangerous. Followers of this fad are risking choking or obstructing their intestinal tract. Cotton balls can’t be digested so it will just stay in the intestines and may mix with food or other particles that can form an obstruction called bezoar. Intestinal obstructions are a medical emergency, so it may need to be surgically removed. It can also cause a deprivation of nutrients, causing malnutrition.

Lemonade/Master cleanse diet

10. Lemonade/Master cleanse diet

This diet fad that is said to have been followed by Beyonce, Demi Moore, and Jared Leto, the lemonade or the master cleanse diet is a 10-day plan to remove body toxins and eliminate alcohol and junk food cravings. It was originally designed by Stanley Burroughs, a health practitioner-wannabe in the 1950s.

Tons of variations of this diet has been around for decades, but almost all involve depriving self of solid foods and drink only lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper mixed in water. However, experts say, you’d just be drinking diuretics or laxative when there is no need because you are not consuming solids. An extremely low-calorie diet like this is going to make you lose water weight and muscle. Plus, common side effects of this practice include dehydration, fatigue, nausea, and dizziness.