Developed by Stanley Burroughs in 1941, the Master Cleanse is a ten-day detoxification programme. In the period of these ten days, nothing is consumed except for lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. It is believed that through this diet the body will get rid of all harmful toxins, lose weight and also cure a variety of diseases. However, there are definite risks involved. The diet lacks many of the important vitamins and nutrients that are necessary for the body. Short-term side-effects include fatigue, nausea, dizziness, and dehydration, while long term harm includes loss of muscle mass.
Sleeping Beauty Diet
This diet advocates sleeping 24/7 for weight loss. Elvis Presley apparently was a devotee of this diet fad back in the 1970s. The diet advocates sedating yourself for several days, so you can lose weight while sleeping. Unfortunately, our body is a pretty efficient machine. The human body will shut down to a minimal level of energy consumption when asleep or extremely inactive. Even being awake and reading quietly will burn a fair amount more energy, as brain activity consumes a decent amount of calories.
The diet emerged in the 1920s and was based on the false notion that ingesting tapeworms was an appropriate way to shed pounds. The idea behind this diet option is that these parasites secrete protein in our intestinal tracts that make our digestive processes less efficient. Since the tapeworms are already doing the work of digesting for you, you can actually lose pounds by this method because in essence, you can eat whatever you want. The tapeworm is already breaking down the food for you for its own growth. Fortunately, the FDA has banned this diet “option”. It is both dangerous and downright gross.
This diet involves having surgical staples placed in the inner cartilage of the ear. The staples are believed to stimulate pressure points that control your appetite, similar to acupuncture. However, this method can cause infections, nerve damage, extreme pain and as the body gets used to them, they become ineffective as a weight-loss tool.
Now you can eat whatever you want at the same time eating nothing! In the Air Diet, dieters sit down at the table, use a fork and knife, and bring real food up to their mouth, but don’t actually eat it. By mimicking the act of eating, they claim to feel satisfied. Followers of the Air Diet are only allowed to eat water “soup”. Thankfully, it’s easy to make (the only ingredients are water and salt).
Baby Food Diet
This Hollywood diet fad works by substituting baby food for two, possibly three, adult meals a day. Though the argument can be made that eating from small, nutrient-packed pots is healthier than snacking on junk food, it’s not appropriate in terms of adult nutrition. Once you start eating like an adult again, the pounds will return.
Cotton Ball Diet
For this diet, you eat cotton balls before meals. According to some, it was believed that eating cotton balls could suppress your appetite, since apparently they are low in calories, but high in fibre. Sadly as exciting as this sounds, cotton balls have no nutritional value and could damage your digestive tract.
The tongue patch is a postage stamp-sized bit of metal mesh that is surgically attached to the centre of your tongue, making eating a extremely painful endeavour. Patients are then reduced to a liquid only diet.
If it doesn’t look appealing, will you leave it on your plate? The vision diet involves wearing blue-tinted glasses so that everything you plan to eat looks disgusting. The most likely outcome: You’ll still eat whatever you want and you could hurt your eyes from wearing the tinted specs for too long.
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, April 8th, 2012.