We admit that in times of desperation, we too have gone looking for a quick-fix diet, but these six ill-advised tips are certifiably crazy. Avoid at all costs!
1. Eat only fruit before noon
“This one of the worst dieting tips I’ve ever heard, because it actually sounds like a healthy thing to do,” says registered dietitian and NutritionBabes cofounder Lauren Harris-Pincus. This gem originated from Fit for Life, a popular ’80s diet book that claimed taking in only fruit or fruit juice in the morning would positively affect calorie burn. Not so, explains Harris-Pincus. “Balancing meals and snacks with protein, carbohydrates, fat, and fiber will help delay a rise in blood sugar and prevent spikes and crashes while giving you a sustained source of energy. Eating only fruit, however, causes quick digestion and absorption of sugars, meaning hunger will return very quickly. The whole idea of not combining nutrients is ridiculous based on what science tells us about the human body.”
2. Master the cleanse
We know that the sometimes-extreme Gwyneth Paltrow is a fan of cleanses and fasts to drop weight quick, but even she’s changed her mind about the infamous Master Cleanse, during which starvers drink only a lemon water, maple syrup and cayenne concoction for days or weeks. “Do not get me started on the Master Cleanse—it’s hands down one of the stupidest, most potentially harmful diets around,” says nutritional consultant and author of Eat Like a Fatass, Look Like a Goddess Erika Herman. “The amount of high-fructose sugar combined with the total lack of any fat to mitigate the blood sugar and insulin-spiking effects of that sugar leads to inflammation, which is at the root of many diseases and even contributes to weight issues.” Any lost pounds will quickly come back the moment solid food passes your lips—plus some.
3. Give yourself a parasite
New York City acupuncturist Rae Ritke is used to clients bouncing weight-loss ideas off of her, but her chin dropped to the floor when she heard this one: “A woman was considering ordering hookworms online and swallowing them, and wanted to know if I had heard of this before,” says Ritke. “She explained that a friend of hers once got a parasite on a trip to Mexico and lost 10 pounds. I told her that we have spent the last 100 years trying to get rid of parasites and that this is no time to start ingesting them!”
4. Eat cotton balls
In her travels, Valerie Orsoni, an international weight-loss coach and founder of the online weight-loss community LeBootCamp, has come across women so determined to lose weight that they eat cotton balls. “They swell in your stomach as soon as they come into contact with liquids and curb appetite,” she explains. “It draws off of the concept of soluble fiber decreasing appetite, and was popularized by Brazilian models in their attempts to stay desperately thin and runway-ready.” But the body can’t digest the cotton fibers, so the colon becomes massively irritated. The result: “A deficiency of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients, not to mention that some cotton balls are also treated with chemicals which are not to be ingested. The health dangers of this are endless.”
5. Get pregnant—sort of
The Kardashian sisters claim that their rockin’ bodies came out of a box of QuickTrim diet pills, while Jersey Shore star JWOWW credits the pregnancy hormone HCG (human chorionic gonadatropin) for hers. You’ve probably seen the online ads for various “HCG diet” companies, but you shouldn’t click, says Dave David, M.D., founder and CEO of Medical Face & Body Aesthetic. “HCG is touted to decrease appetite and burn fat more efficiently, but there are no studies that support either idea, hence the FDA cracking down on such claims. Most HCG diet clinics put patients on a 500-calorie-a-day diet too, which is the real reason they temporarily lose weight. That kind of starvation diet isn’t safe.”
6. Munch on nothing but celery
Yes, eating water-rich foods can, thanks to volumetrics, help you feel more full and thus eat less, but this is taking things a bit far. “We know that drinking plenty of water is a good thing and that digesting celery burns more calories than it actually contains, but that’s about all that’s good of that ‘diet,’” says Josh Andersen, owner of Always Active Athletics. “Not only are you getting a tiny amount of the nutrients and vitamins your body needs to function, but some studies have shown that while you may shed a few stubborn pounds starving yourself into submission, in the long term you will almost always regain that weight.”
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