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Weirdest diets in the world

Zubin D’souza

Have you ever noticed how fragile and vulnerable we are? We go through the slightest discomfort, the smallest hint of trouble and we start calling upon deities in the heavens to intervene and save us. We start making promises that we never intend on keeping till the next time we find ourselves in a perilous situation. We promise to give up habits that we intend on restarting at some point in time in the future just so that we have something to give up the next time we need to placate some higher beings.

It is no wonder then that several of us look out for a quick fix or easy remedy to reduce the burgeoning burden on our waists. Sometimes the comparatively saner amongst us may look at these diets and wonder how someone could possibly go through with them. But they exist; people use them, sometimes even swear by them and in the future swear at them for all the ill health they’ve brought.

Part of this article is inspired or rather is a sequel to the previous one that I did on breatharianism which is the rather impossible premise of some people who believe that they need nothing more than exposure to sunlight to survive.

Today, we are not going to those extremes, but there are some diets out there that apart from never working on one may also cause serious damage to one’s body.

Would you willingly let a parasite invade and live in your body? The followers of the tapeworm diet do just that when they swallow capsules that contain tapeworm eggs and allow the parasite to grow in their bodies. The worms eat nutrients and calories of the food consumed before it can reach the individual. Although this fad diet has been around since the 18th century, it has rarely been successful because sometimes the de-worming medicine that needs to be taken once one has reached an ideal body weight may not work. This is sometimes due to the fact that the worm can grow to a massive length of 30 feet.

The baby food diet works on the premise that if a cute and cuddly baby can eat that food and look healthy so can an adult. The problem is that there is a large amount of activity and body mass that separates a cherubic baby from a rather confused adult. This is apart from the fact that eating meals of mashed carrots and peas is depressing.

The werewolf diet follows a lunar cycle where the adherent only consumes water or juice during a full or new moon and specific eating plans for each phase of the moon. There is no mention if one is expected to stand out on a cold, dark night and start howling

The cabbage soup diet is probably the one that kick started all diet fads. It has been around for a really long time and involves people imbibing only cabbage soup for every meal with a couple of helpings of bananas and skim milk thrown in every couple of days to break the ennui. I don’t know if it works but faced with the prospect of eating cabbage soup for the rest of my life, I would rather slash my wrists.

Elvis Presley may have endorsed the sleeping beauty diet but he sure didn’t know what he was talking about. The basic premise is that people don’t eat when they are asleep and this diet encourages people to pop sleeping pills so that they sleep longer and eat less. Besides the very grave risk that you may never wake up from your slumber, it causes starvation and muscle deterioration.

If there was ever a fad that should never have seen sunlight then that is bound to be the cotton ball diet. This absolute oddity has seen proponents consume fluffy cotton balls soaked in orange juice. To dreamers who think that there is nothing wrong with a couple of days of detox with all-natural ingredients, you have got it wrong. Cotton balls are made from bleached synthetic fibres that clog the intestines.

Then there is the cigarette diet where you reach for a smoke in a bid to suppress your hunger. You may win the fight against belly fat but you are definitely losing the one to cancer.

The Nazi diet is ineffective and insensitive, and guides users into eating the exact same rations that the Russian troops consumed as they slowly starved to death while the Germans laid waste and besieged their city of Leningrad over a two and half year period in the Second World War. You get about 400 grams of bread and 100 millilitres of vodka each day.

The ultimate diet idea should go to Horace Fletcher who in the early 1800s claimed that if you chewed each mouthful of your food for over a 100 times a day, you would never put on weight. The art of continuous mastication was dubbed ‘Fletcherizing’ but the fad did not catch on because it only promised looser pants. People tried it out because Fletcher promised that in addition to a lower body weight, people would also get poop that wouldn’t be stinky.

Well, it was stinky and the fad ended!

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