Though most of us have learnt the hard way, there’s one lesson we all know – there is no such thing as a quick fix when it comes to losing weight. An all-round healthy lifestyle is the only way to ensure you reach (and maintain) your ideal shape.
However, if you’re up for trying so-called “quick fixes,” the internet has no shortage. From Hollywood stars’ endorsed eating plans to local eating habits, fad diets are everywhere.
Here, five of them you’d better avoid!
The cotton ball diet
When Eddie Murphy’s model daughter, Bria, revealed on Good Morning America that models are eating cotton balls to stay thin, the world was outraged. Dipped in orange juice, the balls are swallowed before each meal as they create the feeling of being “full,” thereby preventing overeating and curbing food cravings.
Why should you avoid it? It can cause bowel obstruction, gagging, vomiting and lead to twisted intestines. Plus, it prevents you from ingesting essential nutrients and causes digestive problems.
The air diet
The concept is simple – The diet requires you to cook and serve a plate of food, but instead of eating it, you hold your fork close to your face and smell the food without consuming it. Supposedly, you’re fooling your body into thinking you’ve eaten, as you still experience a few of the sensory aspects.
The idea was popularised when a Dolce & Gabbana ad supposedly featured Madonna partaking in this process.
Why should you avoid it? It’s basically a form of starvation. If you don’t eat, your body doesn’t get any nutrients it needs and it could lead to anorexia. Plus, it’s a waste of food. Just don’t do it.
The five-bite diet
Created and endorsed by Dr Alwyn Lewis, this “crash diet” focuses on portion control. It works as follows: skip breakfast, drink loads of water, and for lunch and dinner, only have five bites of your food. This controversial diet has rubbed many nutritionists up the wrong way, and is meant to fool your body into thinking you’ve had a whole meal.
Why should you avoid it? Not only will you be eating too little and essentially starve, but eating like this will ultimately slow your metabolism down. Plus, skipping breakfast is extremely bad for you and leaves you tired and hungry later in the day!
The baby food diet
Replacing your three meals a day with 14 servings of baby food? Now don’t get us wrong – baby food is nutritional, but it doesn’t offer all the nutrients that adults need from their diet. Plus, it is very low in calories, so even if you eat a lot of it, you might not reach your daily calorie requirements.
Why should you avoid it? By all means, have some baby food as a snack if you enjoy it, but relying on only this could lead to iron, zinc and calcium deficiencies.
The grapefruit diet
Huge in the 1980s, the grapefruit diet is based on the idea that grapefruit helps you burn fat, so the more of it you consume, the better. Though this claim was initially dismissed, new studies suggest that there is some truth to it. Whether it’s true or not, the original diet is not safe. Followers are allowed as much black coffee and grapefruit as they want, with dry toast and lean protein once or twice a day.
Why should you avoid it? It starves the body of essential nutrients including fibres, minerals, vitamins and calcium. Plus it does not allow enough calories to be consumed (which is why you lose weight from it).