Can you “Sniff Your Way Skinny?” Can you “Sleep Off The Pounds?” Is baby food the answer to losing your belly?
What’s the craziest diet you’ve ever tried?
Here are a couple we can’t believe.
The Twinkie Diet
A bakery manager invented Twinkies in the 1930s, but the diet fad’s origins are unknown. Twinkies have 150 calories each. Eat nothing but Twinkies and you could lose weight. It works, March says, because even if you eat 10, that’s only 1,500 calories a day. “You’ll also get mighty tired of it fast. It’s similar to the nothing-but-chocolate diet. You can lose weight because after the first day or two you’re not that interested in eating chocolate.” And you’re depriving your body of essential nutrients.
The Tapeworm Diet
“The tapeworm diet is a draconian way of losing weight,” March says. A tapeworm is a parasite. You can get tapeworms unintentionally from undercooked, contaminated meat, especially pork. Untreated, a tapeworm infestation can be lethal. In the 1900s, hucksters sold pills that supposedly contained tapeworms that would eat the food in your stomach. “It’s absolutely inadvisable to infect yourself with something that could be dangerous to you,” says March. Importing or selling tapeworms is illegal in the United States.
The Baby Food Diet
This Hollywood diet fad works by substituting baby food for two, possibly three, adult meals a day. “You will lose weight because you’re restricting calories,” March says. “But you’ll lose a lot of what adults enjoy about food — fiber, taste, and crunch.” Baby food may be pure and high in vitamins, but it’s not appropriate in terms of adult nutrition, says March. Once you start eating like an adult again, the pounds will return.
The Sleeping Beauty Diet
This diet advocates sleeping 24/7 for weight loss. You might be tired because you’re starved, but if you sedate yourself to be able to sleep that much, you’re putting yourself in real danger. Elvis Presley apparently was a devotee of this diet fad. “There is some scientific research to support the idea that lack of sleep can contribute to excess weight and obesity,” March says. “So there is something to be said for getting adequate sleep — adequate, not total.”
The Cotton Ball Diet
For this diet, you eat cotton balls before meals. The idea is that they fill your stomach so you’re not hungry and don’t eat too much. “But it’s like eating paper,” March says, dismissing this weight-loss plan with one word: nonsensical. Cotton balls have no nutritional value and could damage your digestive tract, March adds. “Have some sugar-free gelatin or drink a big glass of water before eating instead.” Both are better ways of reminding yourself you could feel fuller with less food.