According to Marketdata Enterprises, Inc., a leading independent market research publisher, the weight loss industry is worth over $66 billion industry. This number is expected to rise as more and more continue to ‘hunger’ for ways to lose unwanted pounds.
Though there appears to be a growing shift in the understanding of what a good diet consists of i.e. less obsessing over just losing weight and focusing on being healthy, extreme and harmful diets continue to creep out of the woodwork.
Following are four such examples.
The Baby Food Diet
This diet involves substituting one or two meals or snacks a day with baby food. The thinking behind this diet is that since the maximum calories in baby food top of at about 100 calories you will lose weight as you are consuming fewer calories.
Baby food is not designed to meet the nutritional requirements of the adult body therefore, this diet often results in nutritional imbalances. In addition, the nature of adult food and the act of chewing help signal the body to know when it is full. Since that is absent in this diet you feel hungrier and start to consume more calories making any weight loss temporary.
The Apple Cider Vinegar Diet
This diet involves drinking three glasses a day of a cayenne pepper, honey and apple cider vinegar mixture before each meal. This concoction is supposed to help you burn fat and increase weight loss.
This diet irritates the stomach lining due to the concentration of spices and acidity. If you have irritable bowel syndrome or gastroesophageal reflux disease this diet is like adding gas to an already all-consuming blaze.
The HCG Diet
HCG stands for human chorionic gonadotropin. It is a hormone present at high levels in early pregnancy. The diet is designed to boost your metabolism and help you lose large amounts of fat, all without feeling hungry following a three-phase program. It involves following a three-phase program.
The first phase, referred to as the loading phase involves taking the HCG supplement while consuming a high-fat, high-calorie diet for 2 days. The second phase, referred to as the weight loss phase involves taking the supplement while consuming only 500 calories per day for 3 to 6 weeks. The last phase referred to as the maintenance phase involves not taking the HCG supplement and gradually increasing your food with the exclusion of sugar and starch for 3 weeks.
This is an extreme diet that is clearly nutrient deficient. In addition, HCG supplements have not been approved by the FDA for weight loss.
The Tapeworm Diet
This diet involves swallowing a pill that has a tapeworm egg inside. When the egg hatches, the tapeworm is supposed to attach to your intestines and feed on the food you’re eating, so you don’t absorb the calories.
There are many problems with this diet starting with the fact that you have zero control of where the tapeworm attaches itself. It can attach itself to any organ or tissue it pleases which can then result in diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and fever.
Tapeworm diet complications include blockage of bile ducts, appendix, or pancreatic duct. Neurocysticercosis, a complication of the brain and nervous system that can cause dementia and vision issues. This diet can also result in the disruption in the function of various organs in your body including the lungs and liver.
Diets should be pleasurable, practical and sustainable if they are to be successful. They should keep you feeling energized, focused, satisfied and have you eating real foods as food is not the enemy. Diets that focus on restrictions and elimination of foods that you know are healthy are fads and you should try your best to avoid them as they do more harm than good in the short and long term.
If you’re struggling with dieting keep the 80/20 rule in mind. Make 80 percent of your daily food intake a varied combination of high-quality real foods and then let 20 percent be for treats.