May 6 is No Diet Day. Need we say more? Oh, you do want more? Okay, well today we’re thanking Mary Evans Young, Director of the British anti-diet campaign Diet Breakers and recovered anorexic, for creating International No Diet Day in 1992. Her goal was to increase awareness of disordered eating, extreme diets, and the no-good diet industry. We happen to believe that your body is worth loving no matter what its size or shape so we embrace No Diet Day with open arms. To celebrate, we’re taking a walk down memory lane to look at eight extreme diets that should have never been.
My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people. —Orson Welles
Read Related: Weight Loss Secrets of the Tragic Heroine
1. The Tapeworm Diet
For over a century, tapeworms have been advertised as a tool for weight loss. They do actually cause weight loss when a person is infected with the parasite (usually occurs when ingesting infected raw meat), but they come with a whole host (get it?) of other unpleasant problems including digestive upset, intestinal blockage and even larvae traveling around in the body! In case you were wondering, it’s against the law to sell them as a weight loss aid in the United States… thank goodness!
2. The Baby Food Diet
Rumor has it this diet was started by Tracy Anderson, celebrity trainer to Gwyneth Paltrow and other svelte ladies of Hollywood. This method of weight reduction requires participants to replace two meals per day with a jar of baby food. Now, we know what you’re thinking, the banana pudding ones aren’t so bad but nutritionally speaking, no jar of baby food is the equivalent of a meal for any adult, no matter size or activity level.
3. The Sleeping Beauty Diet
Reportedly, Elvis used this diet to lose weight in his later years. The Sleeping Beauty Diet is essentially just being sedated for several days so that you cannot eat. Obviously, if you’re asleep for more than one day, you can experience dehydration and several other problems, not accounting for the fact that you’d be taking drugs in order to fall asleep and stay that way. Not the wisest choice for even the King.
4. The Chewing Diet
In 1985, a man known as ‘The Great Masticator’ introduced this diet. Horace Fletcher thought it was a good idea to chew your food without swallowing, spitting it out once it’s become liquified in your mouth. Gross.
5. The Paleo Diet
Now hold on there, cowgirl. We’re not talking about the Paleo inspired, low-grain consumption fad that’s out there making some people very happy right now. We’re talking about the original Paleo Diet recommendations which says you are to eat only foods available during the Stone Age. Since this time was before meat could be properly prepared for safety and since fruits, vegetables and grains have evolved incredibly since those years, we’re calling this one completely impossible to follow as originally written.
7. The Cotton Ball Diet
We can’t even believe this is a thing that we have to include on this list!! This diet involves eating five cotton balls that have been dipped in orange juice before each meal. You will, of course, feel full with cotton balls in your stomach but we cannot begin to imagine the probability of intestinal blockage and other serious health issues that can come from this! Just don’t.
8. The Cabbage Soup Diet
The Cabbage Soup Diet has been around forever and while many people lose weight quickly on it, it’s often regained the day normal eating habits are resumed. Besides, life is too short to eat cabbage soup every day. Yuck.