The Five Worst Fad Diets

Some diets offer a structured, balanced and healthy way for individuals to achieve long-term weight loss. However, desperation to lose weight fast has led to the creation of some strange, impractical and downright dangerous ways to shed excess pounds. No matter how eager you are to lose weight, the following ill-advised diets should not be attempted by anyone, ever.

The HCG Diet

This HCG program limits dieters to 500 calories per day, yet promises that they won’t feel starved.  This unlikely feat is achieved with the help of Human Chronic Gonadotropin – the same hormone that causes morning sickness in pregnant women. It’s through this self-induced nausea that the HCG diet produces weight loss. But while the sickness may be unpleasant, the true danger of the HGC diet is its very low calorie allowance. At 500 calories, dieters are allowed only half of the minimum recommended daily caloric intake for women. This virtually unsustainable diet means that, although HGC dieters may experience dramatic weight loss initially, it’s highly likely that they will gain it all back once their normal diet resumes.

Sleeping Beauty Diet

The Sleeping Beauty Diet gained notoriety during the 1960s and 1970s, when it was purportedly championed by such high-profile dieters as Elvis Presley. The diet takes the idea that individuals don’t need to eat while they sleep to a dangerous extreme by encouraging them to enter a drug-induced state of sedation. The diet posits that over a number of days dieters can “sleep off the pounds” by sticking to a strict regimen of sleeping pills. Unfortunately, these pills were highly addictive and dangerous, and there’s no evidence to suggest that the diet produces any sustainable weight-loss.

Master Cleanse/The Lemon Detox

In a 2011 survey by the Dieticians Association of Australia, the Lemon Detox diet was voted the world’s worst fad diet, with over 80% of the 50-plus participating nutritionists denouncing it. A brief glance at the diet’s meal plan reveals why. The lemon detox diet encourages individuals to drink a concoction of lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper six times a day over a ten-day period. Not only will this regimen wreak havoc on your constitution and your temperament, but it can also prove detrimental to your health.

The Eat All You Want Diet

It may sound ridiculous, but some believe that you can lose weight by simply eating whatever you want whenever you want. The idea behind this outlandish diet is that once you’re allowed to eat anything and everything, you’ll quickly become bored with food and ultimately lose weight in the process. Unfortunately, this seems more like wishful thinking than a viable weight-loss plan, since consuming copious amounts of high-calorie foods will likely stretch your stomach and result in increased appetite and weight gain.

The Tapeworm Diet

Perhaps the most disturbing diet on this list, the Tapeworm Diet emerged in the 1920s as a supposedly effective way to shed excess pounds quickly. While most of us have nightmares about catching a parasite, this diet suggests that individuals ingest a tapeworm, which will live in their stomach and consume their food after it’s eaten. The danger, of course, is that tapeworms can cause serious infections, leading to abdominal pain, muscle damages and, if left untreated, even death.