Society’s fixation on the body and appearance has led dieters to try some crazy strategies to keep the pounds off, from eating baby food to cutting out carbs (a là Atkins diet) to eating certain foods we presume our Paleolithic ancestors ate. But are all diets created equal? The answer is obviously no, because some are some just too dangerous, risky, or controversial to trust. Let’s examine some popular diets below:

  • Detox diets are quite the craze, with the Master Cleanse being the most visible and widely trusted on the market. But are they really a good idea? Celebrities such as Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, and Beyoncé Knowles have reportedly used the Master Cleanse to slim down quickly for film roles and other media-related activities. This particular diet consists of drinking a bizarre mixture of lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper, with the idea that you are cleansing the body of harmful toxins. But guess what else you’re flushing out: essential vitamins, nutrients, and calories that your body needs to properly function. Consuming only 600 calories a day can cause major headaches, electrolyte imbalance, constipation, confusion, and severe mood swings.
  • Surprisingly, many average consumers still use Hollywood “fad diets,” which revolve around the idea of denying yourself most foods. The grapefruit diet is old guard, and it is rumored that even Princess Diana had tried it (!). This weight loss regime severely restricts caloric intake to 800 calories a day, based on the notion that eating half a grapefruit with every meal will break down the food quickly and efficiently due to the high amounts of acid present.
  • Even more ridiculous is the pomegranate diet, where the dieter eats only pomegranate seeds, thus completely flushing out the system (and causing hemorrhoids, rectal bleeding, and infection along the way).
  • Giving the pomegranate diet a run for its money in the unbelievability department  is the “Sleeping Beauty” diet, which works off the notion that a person can ingest massive amounts of sedatives and sleep for several days without eating hardly anything. Er…..what? Please. Give it a rest, Hollywood.
  • But perhaps the most dangerous and desperate fad diets involve some truly desperate and frightening practices. Touted now as (hopefully) an urban legend, some dieters in the 80s were looking to ingest tapeworms through pills, relying on the hope that the tapeworms would digest the food for them, thus causing considerable weight loss. As if that isn’t disgusting enough, other people desperate to shed pounds have taken to consuming soap and cotton balls in order to drop pounds. Apparently, both cause you to go to the bathroom quite a lot, thus reducing how much food is stored in your abdomen, making you look immediately thinner.

The bottom line, readers, is that if you want to lose weight and keep it off, you must do so in a healthy manner. No fad diet can take the place of eating green, leafy vegetables and fruits, cutting down on carbs and fats, and exercising at least three times a week. This is the true “secret” to weight reduction—but it’s not a secret at all, is it? It’s a new lifestyle plan, one that requires time and dedication to developing healthier habits.

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