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Currently, the Paleo diet and IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) are two of the most trending diets in the fitness world right now. Yeah, they are both kind of weird to those of us who are more simplistic when it comes to dieting.
We try and stick to healthy eating and exercise, but apparently the modern fitness crazes aren’t even half as weird as some diets that have been recommended in the past. Here are a few diets in the past 200 years that have worked up some skepticism:
1. The Tapeworm Diet
Blech! Worms! Well, apparently providing your body as a host for a parasite is not half as bad as obesity. At the start of the 20th century, tapeworms were sold in pill form so users could eat more and gain less. What are the side effects you ask? Oh, nothing too bad: meningitis, dementia, seizures, and cysts on the brain or eyes. This practice was declared illegal eventually.
2. The Cigarette Diet
John Lennon was almost a 100 lbs when he died. His secret? A steady diet of all you can eat coffee and cigarettes! Smoking cigarettes to suppress appetite was first recommended by doctors in the 1920s, and people have been getting lung cancer ever since!
3. The Graham Diet
Sylvester Graham was a Presbyterian minister in the mid 19th century. He believed that having too much sex was a cause of weight gain, so he advocated a diet of vegetables and abstinence. Smooth move, preacher man. Today, we know you can actually burn tons of calories during sex—about 165 during an orgasm.
4. The Gentleman’s Diet
In the 1960s, Robert Cameron sold a pamphlet for $1 each explaining that his diet of low carbohydrate consumption and regular drinking was the key to weight loss. No limits on vodka, gin, or steak at any meal! JACKPOT! He sold two million copies in two years. Unfortunately, Cameron’s diet was condemned as unhealthy by the Harvard School of Public Health. What a bummer, bro. A vodka and steak diet sounds pretty effective.
5. Keto Diet
Becoming more popular in 2015, the Keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet. Originally invented by a doctor in the 1920s who sought to lessen seizures in epileptic patients, the diet is full of meat, cream cheese, and nuts. Because it is high in protein, it makes you fuller longer. Sugar, grains, and bread are blacklisted on this diet, darn.
6. Mono Meal
The mono meal regime limits dieters to only one food per meal. It cancels out any kind of variety to avoid bad food choices and combinations. However, don’t get too excited, the diet is limited to fruits and vegetables only. Kiss your protein goodbye! If you want to feel better about the lack of variety in your diet, just think about how all those mono mealers feel!
7. The Fat Black Diet
Attention! We have found Paula Deen’s coffee recipe: coffee with a lump of butter. This 460 calorie concoction is sworn to make you feel fuller longer and give you increased energy.
8. The Chewing Diet
This diet was created by Horace Fletcher in 1903. Because he was denied health insurance, he created his own way of losing weight: Chewing every piece of food 32 times and spitting it back out again. He lost 30 pounds and was known as “The Great Masticator.” That sounds like a lot of work. This is basically another method of starvation, my friends.
9. The Beverly Hills Diet
Published in 1981 by Beverly Mazel, the Beverly Hills Diet called for excessive fruit consumption. The diet experts at the time were not pleased. The Journal of the American Medical Association called The Beverly Hills Diet “the latest, and perhaps the worst, entry in the diet-fad derby.” A diet of only fruit could lead to diarrhea, dehydration, and a low drop in blood pressure that could lead to death. Unfortunately, Mazel opened a clinic to help celebrity clients lose weight.
10. The Vinegar and Water Diet
In the 1800s, a poet named Lord Byron popularized this diet. It’s a distant and extremely deprived ancestor of today’s juice cleanses. Lord Byron was anorexic and bulimic, and he would drink massive amounts of water and apple cider vinegar to the point of vomiting or getting a bad case of diarrhea. Scientists today know that drinking vinegar does nothing to help you lose weight.
11. The Baby Food Diet
Okay, this one is pretty bad. Trainer Tracy Anderson thought this up. Dieters are to replace two meals a day with a jar of baby food. Some versions of this include eating 14 jars of baby food per day. Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna, and Lady Gaga were reportedly clients of Anderson. The theory is that it is supposed to help portion control, and most people can’t get past the first few spoonfuls. I guess “Here comes the airplane!!” doesn’t work so well for adults.
This combination of binge drinking and purging is a dangerous dieting method. The method involves drinking alcohol to the point of purging or excessively exercising or starving yourself before drinking a large amount of booze to “save up calories.” It’s a steady trend among college students and women in there 20s, 30s, and 40s.
13. Yoncé’s Cayenne Pepper Lemonade Diet
The mega celeb swore by this diet, claiming she used it to slim down for Dreamgirls in 2006. By drinking a mixture of lemons, water, grade B maple syrup, and cayenne pepper, nine times a day, the celebrity slimmed down for the role. How she managed to stomach this crazy master cleanse is unknown.So, when you think your diet is weird and ineffectual, try to find one that fits best for you, not something that may or may not compromise your health and enjoyment of eating.