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Bad Diets Throughout History…

posted on January 24, 2018


As a fitness professionals, we often see people slaving away and working hard at the gym only to sabotage their progress with poor eating habits. We preach that diet, nutrition, rest and recovery are equally as important as the time you spend here at the gym. So what are the best and worst diets out there?  The following, in no definitive order, are what we believe to be possibly the worst diets in history.


The Baby Food Diet:

Designed to promote weight loss, this plan entails eating 16 jars of baby food per day instead of regular meals and snacks with only one “regular” meal per day. Although one of the “safer” diets on this list, it’s still not recommended. While it may help you shed some pounds, it is most likely a short term success and definitely on the “fad” list.


The Tapeworm Diet:

As crazy as the name suggests, at the turn of the century these little parasites were sold in pill form to help you lose weight. Besides lacking any evidence or research that this is even slightly effective, it can be downright dangerous.


The Cotton Ball Diet:

Yep, you guessed it— eating straight up cotton balls. The idea is that you fill up on these calorie-less puffy beauties and you aren’t hungry for much else. Considering that there are essentially no vitamins, minerals or other macronutrients in cotton balls, you can add this to the dangerous diets list.


The Vinegar Diet:

Made popular by Lord Byron in the 1800’s, this diet included drinking massive amounts of vinegar and water daily.  This, in turn, caused spells of vomiting and diarrhea.  It’s really no surprise this famous poet started shedding pounds.


The Fletcher Diet:

Originating in San Francisco by art dealer Horace Fletcher, this diet involved chewing each bite of food 32 times and then spitting it out.  “The Great Masticator” declared his body would absorb the nutrients without packing on the pounds.  False information like this diet is not bound by science or logic and is inherently dangerous. Yet another add to the “Do Not Attempt” list.


The Cigarette Diet:

Before Surgeon General warnings, this diet was made popular by, you guessed it, cigarette companies. Ad campaigns swirled around touting the many benefits of smoking, including suppressing the appetite and weight loss.  One company said “Light a Lucky and you’ll never miss sweets that make you fat.” This should go without saying, but avoid this diet at all costs. Bottom line is it is dangerous and deadly.



So after a mind blowing and crazy list of bad diets, what are some good and healthy diets to try?  Our answer here at Union Fitness will always be: Ask the professionals! See a nutritionist or registered dietician.  Unlike all of the crazy diets above, this is a surefire way to promote a healthy lifestyle through diet changes while remaining safe. Each and every body is unique and has its own obstacles to overcome when it comes to safe and effective weight loss. A nutrition professional will help you navigate those issues without tapeworms, baby food, cigarettes or any other unhealthy or dangerous means!


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