Diet trends come and go, but some of them need to stay firmly in the past. Think today’s weight loss trends are extreme? You won’t believe some of the wild things people actually did to slim down back in the old days. From the harmless but ill-advised to downright dangerous, these are some old-fashioned diets experts say should be avoided.
- The Cigarette Diet - A prime example of an old school diet you should never follow, the cigarette diet actually recommended people smoke cigarettes instead of eating when hungry. Registered dietitian Nataly Komova says it was popular in the 1920s as a way to lower daily calorie intake, but we now know that smoking can cause serious health conditions, like cancer.
- The Sleeping Beauty Diet - Another zany idea, this one from the 1960s just encouraged people to sleep more rather than eating. And since that can lead to a sedentary lifestyle, as well as a lack of essential nutrients, no one should give this a try.
- The Tapeworm Diet - Believe it or not, back in the Victorian Era, people dared to try ingesting tapeworms in pill form as a way to lose weight. Komova explains that it was popular in the early 1900s for people to eat anything they wanted, followed by tapeworm pills. The idea was the tapeworms would help them shed pounds, regardless of their calorie intake, but the harmful side effects included a higher risk of dementia, seizures, plus brain, muscle and eye damage.
- The Cabbage Soup Diet - Eating more cabbage is actually healthy because of its fiber and antioxidant content, but registered dietitian nutritionist Sara Chatfield explains that this diet had followers eat cabbage soup three times a day, with very little other food, and that’s where it goes wrong. She says the diet is so low in calories it could lead to weight loss, but most of that will be water and muscle because it’s so low in protein. And it’s not a sustainable way to eat long-term.
- The Low-Fat Diet - Back in the 1990s, this one was pretty popular and had dieters chowing down on fat-free and low-fat highly processed snacks, but Chatfield reminds us that low-fat doesn’t always equal healthy. “In fact, we now know that intake of healthful monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats from nuts, seeds, some oils, and fatty fish has health benefits,” she explains.
Source: Eat This, Not That