Cosmic micro-food, anyone? 10 diets you don't want to try

By Marilynn McLachlan

Beyonce used The Master Cleanse/The Lemon Detox diet for her role in Dreamgirls, but she said it made her "evil".
Beyonce used The Master Cleanse/The Lemon Detox diet for her role in Dreamgirls, but she said it made her "evil".

The desire to shed a few kilos is not a new one. In the last 100 years there have been many diets that various people and companies have advocated - some are bizarre, some are gross and some are deadly.

Here are 10 diets that you don't want to try.

1. The Cabbage Soup Diet

Popular in the 1990s, the Cabbage Soup Diet is designed for those who want to lose weight quickly. This seven-day crash diet involves consuming an abundance of cabbage soup. It is supplemented with other assigned foods, such as fruit on the first day and beef and tomatoes on the fifth. With a lack of calories and nutrients, any weight loss will be temporary it can make existing conditions worse.

2. Breatharianism

Far more than a diet, followers of Breatharianism believe that food is surplus to life as one can exist on cosmic micro-food. Likened to a cult, Breatharianists believe that when humans are in pure harmony with the world they no longer require food and water. Most recently, "human Barbie", model Valeria Lukyanova has claimed she follows this lifestyle.

3. Fletcherizing

In the early 1900s, Horace Fletcher became known as "The Great Masticator" after he attributed his weight loss to chewing food 100 times per minute and then only swallowing the liquids. Anything solid was then spit out. He also advocated eating only when hungry and never while angry or sad. His motto was "Nature will castigate those who don't masticate."

4. Apple Cider Vinegar Diet

This diet involves drinking three teaspoons of apple cider vinegar before each meal to prevent overeating and to cut fat. Lord Byron - who was both anorexic and bulimic - popularised this diet in the 1820s but Sarah Ferguson, Megan Fox and Heidi Klum are also linked to it.

5. The Cigarette Diet

Before it was known how unhealthy cigarettes are, the Lucky Strike Cigarette Company launched an advertising campaign with the slogan "Reach for a Lucky Instead of a Sweet". Another advert read: "Light a Lucky and you'll never miss sweets that make you fat." The idea behind the diet is that you can smoke as much as you want and this will curb the appetite, resulting in weight loss.

6. The Tapeworm Diet

In the 1920s dieters could purchase pills with tapeworms in them. The concept of the diet is that these parasitic worms travels through the body, eating as it goes and consuming a large portion of food in the stomach, where it resides for a time. When enough weight has been lost, the dieter takes antibiotics to kill the worm. The side effects are both severe and dangerous.

7. The Sleeping Beauty Diet

This diet is based on the idea that the dieter doesn't eat while sleeping and so advocates taking sleeping pills for several days and therefore "sleeping off" weight. Elvis was said to be a proponent of this diet. Not only is not consuming calories for a sustained period of time not good for the body, but the pills can be addictive and dangerous.

8. The Master Cleanse/The Lemon Detox

Essentially a juice fast, the Master Cleanse or Lemon Detox claims to detoxify the body and remove excess fat. It was developed in the 1940s but saw a resurgence in the 1970s and is still popular today. Beyonce dropped weight for her role in Dreamgirls using the diet but, as she told stated on Ellen, it made her "evil".

Dieters are not allowed to eat food and drink a concoction of water, lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper six times a day over a ten-day period. While some weight loss will occur, it is likely to be temporary and can be dangerous.

9. The Slimming Soap Diet

In the first few decades of the 1900s, slimming soaps became available on the market. In one print advert for La-Mar Reducing Soaps, it claimed that it could "reduce any part of the body desired without affecting other parts. No dieting or exercise." Other soaps such as "Fatoff" and "Fat-O-NO" were available. Despite their claims, there was no fat-busting magical ingredient in the soaps.

10. The Last Chance Diet

This diet, invented by Dr Roger Linn in the 1970s was literally the last chance diet for the dozens of people who died from it. A book, published under the same name, called the diet the "biggest breakthrough against obesity since starvation". However, the problem was that it essentially was starvation - dieters were only to consume Dr Linn's miracle liquid called Prolinn. Low carb and high protein, it contained ground animal horns, hooves, tendons and other bits from the slaughterhouse byproducts. Containing 400 calories and zero nutrients, the diet was correlated with heart attacks and other health problems.

Read more:
Health expert reveals the diets to avoid

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