Top 5 worst fad diets

This diet, currently hot in Hollywood, restricts you to only 500 calories a day but assures that you won't be left feeling starved. Impossible? Yes, most definitely. Not according to Triu Naturals, the nutritional supplements company that backs the diet. All you have to do is take Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, the same hormone a woman's body produces when she is pregnant, three times a day in the form of drops or injections. The theory is that the hormone, which is often the culprit of morning sickness in pregnancy, reduces your appetite by basically making you experience fairly constant low-grade nausea. Neat!

You know how when you're asleep you are generally not inclined to eat? Because you're not fully conscious? That revolutionary idea was the basis for the Sleeping Beauty Diet, which Elvis was reportedly a big fan of, and we all know how Elvis was famous for maintaining a steady weight and a healthy lifestyle. The "diet" involved a simple regimen of placing yourself under heavy sedation for several days at a time, promising that you would then "sleep off the pounds." The pills that were prescribed as a part of the Sleeping Beauty Diet were extremely dangerous and addictive, and there was no evidence of any lasting weight loss as a result of being on the regimen. Pro: catch up on sleep. Con: the possibility of never waking up.

Originally created in the late 1920s as an alternative therapy in the treatment of cancer, migraine headaches, and tuberculosis, Dr. Max Gerson observed that weight loss was sometimes a side effect of the change in lifestyle he recommended to his patients. The therapy was very similar to the toxin flushes and juice cleanses that are popular today, and it pushed for a vegetarian diet and hourly glasses of organic juices. Where it became more extreme was in its application of castor oil and coffee enemas and consumption of raw calf liver extract, practices that were eventually deemed potentially harmful and even fatal. 

This spartan diet gained popularity in the 1970s and was marketed as the favorite weight loss method for new military recruits. One of the first "monotony diets" (Cabbage Soup Diet, Morning Banana Diet, and many others followed), the Israeli Army Diet instructed participants to eat a single type of food and that food only, each for a two-day period, over the course of eight days. So the first two days you eat only apples, the next two days only cheese (which really doesn't sound so bad), the next two you eat chicken, and the last two you eat salad. You can also have as much tea or black coffee as you like. The idea was that you would just get so bored of eating, like, 14 apples, that you would stop eating altogether. Another sound option.   

This can only be called a diet in the loosest sense, but the Blue Diet, popularized in Japan, is based on the idea that if food looks bad, you won't eat it. Already there is a gaping hole in this plan, because I have eaten many things that looked unappetizing and tasted delicious, i.e.  palak paneer, oysters, etc. But apparently for some people slapping on a pair of blue-tinted sunglasses is enough to make them push their plates away. Since there are so few foods found in nature that are actually blue, from an anthropological standpoint this theory carries some weight. But we have lived in the industrialized world of fruit roll-ups, slurpees, and tropical Skittles for some time now, and it would be a little too easy to just take the glasses off.  

Honorable mention: Gwyenth Paltrow's The GOOP Cleanse, which sounds like an oxymoron.

Read more about diets of yore like Chew Yourself Thin and the Parasite Diet at Mental Floss.

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