Which is the worst culprit?

We consume too much junk food, we’re less active, and as a nation – we’re losing the battle of the bulge. When it comes to dieting, we’re just as unhealthy.

We all know crash diets don’t work long term, but that seldom seems to stop us. But there are some ways to slim and tone that are so terrible, no one in their right mind would try them. The world’s worst fat burners.

Anyone for a tapeworm?

Fancy a 30 foot tapeworm wriggling around inside your body?
Source: Cat Academy

Forget fat burners. In the late 19th and early 20th century, if you were a little on the portly side, you’d have few diet options other than to starve yourself, or take the easy way out by ingesting a tape worm. So called, “sanitised” tapeworms were sold in “easy to take” capsule form and targeted largely at the female market.

The result of taking on board a tape worm? They latch themselves onto your intestine by means of tiny hooks, secrete proteins that make your digestion less efficient, and chow down on all the food that passes through your dietary tract.

Well so what? You might say – as long as I shed a few pounds…

But there are consequences you should be aware of before popping that pill. First, you’ll end up with a 30 foot long creature living inside you. Then there are the stomach cramps and the diarrhea to consider. Oh, and should a segment of worm get stuck in your appendix, gallbladder or bile duct – you might die.

Take a nap

Possibly the worlds dullest way to shed fat
Source: Dario Lo Presti

Did you know a snooze can help you lose weight? There is some scientific evidence that being sleep deprived can have an adverse effect on your waistline – good sleep habits will help keep you trim and healthy.

The more you sleep, the thinner you get. That’s the theory behind the “sleeping beauty” diet. You shed that spare tyre by knocking yourself out. Strong sedatives render you unconscious for 20 hours per day. Repeat over a number of days, and the weight will fall off.

This is a bad idea. There are good reasons why drug induced comas are limited to seriously ill patients in hospital. It’s bad for your brain and bad for your body. You’ll wake up severely dehydrated. You could suffer hallucinations, depression, mood swings, and your natural sleep cycle will be ruined.

Elvis was a sleeping beauty – look what happened to him.

Have a fag

Yes, this was an actual advertisement from the campaign
Source: Standford

“Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet.” Hard to believe now, but during the 1920s, this was the advertising slogan Lucky Strike used to promote its cigarettes.

And boy did it work. The campaign was so successful that by the end of the decade, the company had doubled sales of its cigarette brand.

The diet works not by burning up excess fat, but by suppressing the appetite. The more you smoke, the more nicotine you take on board and because the drug kills your hunger, you won’t eat so much.

Still a strategy used by supermodels and the French, in the long term it’s lethal.

The pits

Gritty teeth are a side effect of this fat loss supplement
Source: HQ Desktop

We’ve mentioned some strange, and frankly dangerous diets. But none perhaps so odd as the dietary regime adopted four decades ago, by a now elderly Indian woman.

At the last count, Ramrati Misra was 80 years old and despite daily doses of her rather strange supplement, is fit as a fiddle.

She takes 300g before breakfast, the same before lunch and dinner, and also uses it as a snack replacement.

Her worried family took the woman to the doctor, but despite carrying out a barrage of medical tests, he could find nothing wrong with her.

And what is this super supplement? Sand.

A better way

Eat right and exercise to stay healthy
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Fad diets should always be approached with a healthy degree of scepticism.  It always pays to check out the claims being made. That way, you’ll protect yourself from serious harm – and avoid diets that don’t work. The best way to shed weight, is to combine a balanced diet – with exercise.

Careful use of protein supplements and fat burners can help – but you won’t lose excess weight, and keep it off unless you eat sensible amounts of healthy food, and hit the gym.