Monday, June 10, 2013

7 Craziest Fad Diets - Guest Post by Virginia Cunningham

This week I have the privilege of hosting another guest writer.  Health advocate and freelance writer, Virginia Cunningham, comes to us with warnings about seven crazy, and potentially harmful, weight loss schemes.  Where was she when I started SENSA?  Ah well.

Virginia Cunningham is a freelance writer from the Los Angeles area whose writing specializes in healthy cooking, vegan/vegetarianism and holistic medicine. Whenever she starts a diet, she always makes sure that her body gets the essential vitamins and nutrients.

7 Craziest Fad Diets

Fad diets come and go every year and most people who hear about them write them off immediately, assuming they’re pretty much as crazy as they sound; however, some fad diets seem to stick around.

Why these fads seem to be popular or talked about year after year is really a mystery, though when it comes to losing weight, a lot of people are willing to try anything-- even something as crazy as one of these seven diet diets.

1. The Baby Food Diet

The baby food diet seems to be pretty popular with celebrities, especially ones with kids. The idea is to replace one meal per day with baby food, which is very low in calories.

The problem is that many people only eat baby food on the diet, and it’s pretty difficult to get the proper nutrition adults need from baby food – at least without eating 100 jars of it.

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Image Courtesy of Flickr
2. The Sleeping Diet

The sleeping diet is pretty much what it sounds like – a diet that suggests you spend time sleeping, instead of eating. While there’s some science behind getting enough sleep, and many healthcare professionals believe a lack of sleep is part of the obesity epidemic, sleeping more than your body needs just to avoid eating really doesn’t make any sense at all.

It’s also likely that you’ll overeat at a certain point as well.

3. The Tapeworm Diet

The tapeworm diet is perhaps the worst diet fad in history. It’s simple: swallow a tapeworm. The tapeworm itself won’t allow your body to absorb calories and process the food you eat properly.

Of course, there are some serious side effects – death being the most severe one. At the very least, you’ll end up with some severe nutritional deficiencies.

4. The Cookie Diet

Sure, the cookie diet sounds pretty great. After all, who doesn’t love cookies? The idea behind the cookie diet is that you can eat about six per day, along with a very small meal.

The problem with the diet is that it’s basically a starvation diet (since most people eat less than 1,000 calories on the cookie diet). It might work, but you can’t keep it up long-term, and you’ll be cutting a lot of necessary things from your diet, such as protein, amino acids and a whole host of vitamins and minerals.

Although cookies might be tasty, you may have a better chance of losing weight by including weight management bars that are specifically targeted to reduce cravings.

5. The Martini Diet

Similar to the cookie diet, the martini diet really doesn’t have anything to do with the cocktail. What the “martini” is referring to is how much food you can eat – only as much as can fit in a martini glass (about three ounces).

The martini diet lets you eat whatever you want, but portions are so small, it’s pretty difficult to stick to. You’ll also likely end up hungrier and breaking your diet by eating high-fat and high-sugar foods.

6. The Cotton Ball Diet

If you were to follow the cotton ball diet, you’d be eating cotton balls as an appetizer. That’s because the cotton ball diet suggests filling your stomach with cotton balls before you eat a real meal so you’ll feel full faster.

Sure, it makes sense to fill your stomach with something lightweight and low in fat like vegetables or a salad, but cotton balls? Keep the cotton balls in the bathroom – they can damage your digestive tract, and it’s not highly recommended to put them in your mouth in the first place.

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Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
7. The Cabbage Soup Diet

The cabbage soup diet is a low-calorie diet that allows you to eat two bowls of low-fat cabbage soup and a very short list of fruits, vegetables, skim milk and lean meat. The cabbage soup diet is somewhat effective as it fills you up with foods that are fiber rich and high in water, making you feel full before you can eat a lot of calories.

While the diet is relatively effective and usually not deemed to be unsafe because it’s only meant to be done in one week intervals, problems arise when people try to maintain the diet for more than one week because of nutritional deficiencies.

You’ll also gain the weight back as soon as you start eating normally. The cabbage soup diet might work if you need to lose three pounds for that wedding dress, but it won’t work for long-term weight loss.

How many times have you heard that a healthy diet and sensible exercise plan are the only true paths to weight loss? As little fun as those things are – it’s true – that’s why you keep hearing it.

If you need to lose weight, fad diets aren’t the answer. A healthy diet and exercise plan that allows you to lose between one and two pounds per week is all you need-- unless you’re being monitored by a doctor.

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