The weirdest diets where people lost weight are those strange fad diets, often popularized by celebrities, who through the most bizarre processes, actually work. So if you’re fed up with the traditional diets, read on to learn about some of the strangest ways people lost weight through weird diets. Which is truly the weirdest? Vote on your picks below.
Losing weight is quite often a matter of consuming fewer calories than you burn. How you get this to happen is a whole lot more complicated, as these diets prove. Take the Twinkie, Starbuck,s or Taco Bell Drive Thru diet, for example. All three promote eating foods that wouldn’t necessarily be considered healthy but at a caloric deficit which inspires weight loss. If calories in are fewer than calories out, regardless of where those calories come from, you’ll likely lose weight.
Other fad diets are straight up dangerous, though effective. Those which rely on fasting, like the cotton ball diet (yes, people eat cotton balls on this one), the Breatharian diet (where cult members… followers, consume only sunlight) and the lemon detox diet (because who says mixing cayenne pepper, lemon juice and maple syrup isn’t delicious) all work, since followers are not eating real food, causing a huge (and pretty unhealthy when done in excess) caloric deficit.
Like all things you read on the Internet, all strange dieting advice, especially for weird fad diets, should be reviewed by a medical professional before taking them as the gospel. While many of these weird diets actually work, some are straight up dangerous as well. Stay healthy, folks.
Negative Calorie Diet
The theory of the negative calorie diet is simple, stick to foods that (allegedly) contain fewer calories than the body uses to digest those foods and you’ll lose weight. According to the inventors of the diet, foods like celery, lettuce, cucumber, apples, oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, lemons, oranges and beets, among others, all are negative calorie foods and perfectly acceptable to eat on this diet. Since all of those foods contain fewer calories than the body takes to digest them, you will essentially lose weight in the eating process.
If the idea of negative calories sounds hokey, it kind of is. Few studies can confirm the negative calorie theory and those who tout the diet have some questionable connections to various industry groups. Withstanding all of the doubt though, eating only nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables in moderation is a great way to lose weight without all of the miracle claims.
While more of a philosophy than a diet, this weight loss has been around since 1895 when dietician Horace Fletcher developed the principles. According to Fletcherism, one can eat anything they desire, but only eat when truly hungry and never when anxious, depressed or otherwise busy. Additionally, each bit must be chewed roughly 30 times or until it liquifies, after which it can be swallowed and followed by a sip of water. Other versions, the really weird ones, include only chewing, no swallowing and thus not consuming anything more than the lucky liquid that falls down the throat in the process. Yum.
Aside from the crazy chewing mandate, the principles of Fletcherism are not that different from healthy eating habits. Removing emotional eating plus eating slowly and drinking a lot of water are all great tips to eating less, which in turn inspires weight loss.
Beer and Sausage Diet
Many diets will restrict calories from alcohol and fatty processed meats but not this one! The beer and sausage diet is just like it sounds. Those following the diet consume high quality sausage, sometimes with a bun or toppings like peppers, onions or mustard, and craft beer. The protein-heavy sausages are filling while the beer can help speed up the metabolism.
But like everything, moderation is key. In this success story, an Arizona man lost nearly 20 pounds in 30 days on the beer and sausage diet, though he enjoyed both in moderation. The man consumed only an average of 1,500 calories per day, which was enough to cause a calorie deficit which inspired weight loss. While this is a weird diet, any diet that includes beer and sausage at every meal might just be brilliant too.
Eggs and Dessert Diet
While the egg and dessert diet isn’t that weird, it does fall on this for the fact that it encourages indulging in sweets like cakes, cookies and brownies… for breakfast. While the actual science behind the weight loss might be more psychological than anything substantial, according to a 2012 study, those who ate one sugary treat with breakfast lost more weight over a 32 week period than those who didn’t.
The diet maintains that those who indulge during their first meal of the day are less likely to indulge later plus the serotonin rush at breakfast leads to a happier rest of the day with fewer cravings. Like any diet though, one cannot simply eat eggs and cake for breakfast then whatever they want the rest of the day. A caloric deficit and exercise are required.
Lemon Detox Diet
Once used by Beyonce to shed 20 pounds in 14 days, the lemon detox diet aims to speed up metabolism, increase circulation, rid the boxy of any toxins and inspire weight loss all at once. And really, it’s a pretty simple diet too. Just stop eating and instead consume only a mixture of water, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and pure maple syrup. Delicious!
This diet works as it is essentially a fast, which can last for a week or two. It however comes with some pretty awful side effects including thyroid problems, diabetes and kidney issues.
Popularized by a librarian from Virginia, the Starbucks diet is more than just lattes and cake pops. Featuring coffee and a low calorie breakfast item like oatmeal for breakfast, a “bistro box” of fruit and cheese for lunch and a panini for dinner, the caused this librarian to lose more than 75 pounds over the course of a few years.
The Starbucks diet worked for this woman as it also included calorie counting and a food diary. The librarian consumed as few as 876 calories per day, which would cause weight loss no matter what she ate. While she didn’t have to cook a thing during her diet, it certainly wasn’t too frugal to eat every meal out, especially when a cup of coffee will cost you a couple bucks.
The Twinkie Diet
Yes, really, this is a diet filled with Twinkies, crunchy Doritos, chocolatey Oreos and sugary cereals at all hours of the day and night. Instead of consuming typical “healthy” meals, one Kansas State University professor ate Twinkies, cakes and other convenience food every three hours. At the end of 10 weeks, he had lost 27 pounds.
But it wasn’t overindulgence in junk food that caused the weight loss. the professor limited himself to 1,800 calories per day, enough to cause a deficit and prompt weight loss. In the end, he succeeded with his goal – to prove that regardless of the nutritional value of food, eating at a caloric deficit is what causes weight loss, plain and simple.
Taco Bell Drive Thru Diet
Most everyone knows about Jared and his Subway diet but what about the Taco Bell drive thru diet? It’s possible according to one woman who claimed she lost 54 pounds from eating the semi-Mexican fare offered by the fast food chain. Using a combination of calorie counting and “other sensible choices” like the woman did, is the foundation for a good diet.
Spoiler: It didn’t take long for Taco Bell to jump on her story and launch a whole menu section with healthier options. If you read the fine print though, Taco Bell denies that the drive thru diet is a “weight loss program” and will note that these results aren’t typical. Good luck with this “diet,” folks.
Ever wish there was some magical monster who lived in your gut and ate up everything you ate so none of it hit your hips? Welcome to the tapeworm diet! While not legal to import or sell in the US, some extreme dieters actually use these creatures to quickly and nearly effortlessly lose weight.
The tapeworm, which is actually a parasitic infection, can inspire weight loss and can control the appetite of its hosts but can also cause abdominal pain, upset stomach and death.
Hard Boiled Egg Diet
A favorite of actress Nicole Kidman, the hard boiled egg diet is just as described. Participants eat only hard boiled eggs and lose weight. The eggs provide a good combination of fat and protein, with little carbs, all of which fights hunger and causes weight loss similar to an Atkin’s low carb diet.
While the low carb approach – something that can be achieved by eating nothing more than hard boiled eggs – can inspire weight loss, restricting food to just eggs isn’t recommended. High protein diets can be hard on the kidneys and too many eggs can cause constipation and gas. Not what usually comes to mind with Nicole Kidman
Bulletproof Coffee Diet
David Asprey, the CEO of the Bulletproof Diet, claims his coffee-heavy program will make “you become a better employee, better parent, better friend, better person.” To do it, you replace your morning meal with a caffeinated blend that includes coffee beans stripped of mycotoxins (or the mold that grows during fermentation), butter from grass-fed cows, and medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) oil. Beyond the coffee drink, subscribers are asked to cut gluten and sugar from their diets, and focus instead on healthy fats, grass-fed protein, and organic fruits and vegetables.
After its unveiling in 2009, the Bulletproof Diet grew quickly into an empire, with celebrity fans like Shainene Woodley and Jimmy Fallon. Bodybuilders like it too for the burst of long-lasting and sugar-free energy it gives drinkers. Although scientists warn that the diet could lead to nutrient deficiency, and that humans should instead eat a breakfast that contains carbs like cereal or bread, protein like eggs or dairy, fiber in form of fruit, and a stimulant like coffee or tea. Plus, the normal system now used to process coffee beans already rids them of mycotoxins.
Baby Food Diet
This Hollywood diet, a favorite to actress Reese Witherspoon, uses pre-portioned jars of baby food to fight the bulge. On this diet, participants replace up to all three meals with jars of baby food. Looking for a steak? Try a large jar of baby food with meat. Need to sooth that sweet tooth? Try processed peaches or applesauce.
The diet works, though is really only recommended for maintaining an already low weight, because it includes fruits and vegetables, all in an additive-free and portion-controlled manner. It’s expensive and doesn’t include much fiber (plus includes all the elements of normal diets that thrive on portion control and clean eating), but at least it’s convenient!
Touted as the Hollywood miracle and loved by reality television personality Snooki, the cookie diet is just like it sounds. Those following the diet eat “cookies,” which are really meal replacement bars formed to resemble cookies, plus eat one low-calorie meal of real food per day. The cookies are said to control hunger and cause weight loss.
What the cookie diet doesn’t tell you is that you’re not enjoying Mrs. Field’s finest chocolate chip cookies, rather very low calorie cookies with an ingredients list that is a “proprietary secret combination” of proteins and other hunger-controlling elements. In the end, those on the cookie diet only consume about 800 calories a day (500 from cookies and 300 from the one meal), way lower than many dietitians will ever recommend, and accordingly, the weight just melts off as a result.
Cotton Ball Diet
Want to feel full without actually consuming any real food? That’s exactly the idea of the cotton ball diet. Instead of eating, those on the cotton ball diet dip cotton balls in orange juice or water then swallow them like actual food. The wet cotton balls, which average about five per serving each “meal,” make the stomach feel full and reduce that urge to eat actual food. The best part? They are zero calories, no fat and carb-free!
The diet works because instead of consuming actual food, those on the cotton ball diet eat just cotton balls, which are not digested. That however leads to some pretty scary, not to mention gross, digestive problems. So while those on the cotton ball diet are sure to lose weight, they might also develop life-threatening obstructions in their digestive tracts as a result.
Part diet and part pseudoscience, breatharianism is the theory that food and water is not really essential for survival in this world, that one can live off of sunlight – you know, like solar panels. Actress Michelle Pfeiffer once admitted to being involved in a cult who practiced this diet, which is similar to Madonna’s diet which involves swallowing air rather than food.
In reality, not eating will cause most everyone to lose weight without all that pesky cult stuff. Also in reality, fasting can be incredibly dangerous and there have been several instances where this process has caused death.