We all know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but that eye is constantly being influenced by society’s ever-changing standards. The current trend is being “thick” and going under the knife to gain that desired shape. But at some point, being skinny was all the rage, and the skinnier, the better. This drew the attention of obvious grifters who preyed on desperate people, mostly women, selling them false dreams. Below are a few of the worst diet fads that we, as a society, have taken part in thus far.
What would possess someone to willingly ingest a parasite? Well, many people were sold the idea that swallowing a tapeworm would result in losing weight as the organism fed on their food from their intestines. While it’s true that this would indeed lead to weight loss, the tapeworm doesn’t discriminate and will eat everything resulting in malnutrition, anemia and diarrhea. There’s also the chance that the tapeworm or its offspring could exit the gut and infect other parts of the body. Those health scares were enough to push many dieters away from this practice.
2. The Cotton Ball Diet
The thought of gaining even just a little bit of weight was so scary for some people that they went as far as eliminating calories all together. Cue the cotton ball diet, where extreme dieters resorted to eating non-edible items because it supposedly created a feeling of fullness while shedding those unwanted pounds. Turns out the human body isn’t designed to consume objects with no caloric value and the end result was just a sickly and malnourished body with little to no energy to do anything.
3. The Breatharian Diet
Here’s another diet where people acted like calories are the creation of the devil himself. Instead of healthy eating and regular exercising, the breatharian movement implied that our body can survive on air alone because, you know, oxygen. And followers of said movement pointed to so-called breatharians as proof of its efficiency. Little did they know that the frauds were doing more than just breathing. They were–wait for it–eating food! Unfortunately, the body has some not so pleasant ways of letting us know that breathing alone isn’t enough, like constantly passing out, for one.
4. The Clay Diet
It’s not just regular folks who get sucked into these kooky ideas and beliefs. Celebrities, such as actresses Zoe Kravitz and Shailene Woodley, have played a huge role in the popularity of the clay diet trend. The logic is that since bentonite clay is highly absorbent, it will bind to unwanted toxins and you’ll pass them out when you go number two. The problem is that bentonite clay will absorb everything around it, including much-needed nutrients. This can have some scary side effects including swelling due to the binding, followed by distention and even perforation of your bowels.
5. The Baby Food Diet
This one, like all the others, is pretty much self-explanatory. That’s where you replace ⅔ of your regular, adult meals with baby food. You know, since baby food contains like 75 – 100 calories. Sure, they’ll shed some pounds like they wanted to but they will lose a lot more than just fat. Weaker muscles and bones are some of the unforeseen side effects and even death, if people keep starving themselves. Where did this fad come from? Celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson was the brains behind the operation with celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow jumping on the bandwagon.
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