Many people decide to combine diet and exercise to drop a few pounds. But it's important to talk with your doctor to determine the right routine for you. For example, the caloric intake of a 25 year-old female marathoner will be vastly different than that of a 60 year-old male trying to lose some weight. Still, there are some diets that are so "out there" that most everyone agrees that they are ineffective or – even worse – unsafe. From the bizarre, gross and downright unhealthy, here are the worst dieting fads that no one should ever try:
- The soup diet: This usually involves eating a normal breakfast and then chicken or cabbage soup for the rest of the day. But this diet is actually harmful – not only is soup often high in sodium, which is very unhealthy for the heart, it's also empty of necessary vitamins and nutrients.
- The vinegar diet: Supposedly, poet Lord Byron drank vinegar and water daily to "cleanse" his body, which caused vomiting and diarrhea. He also added raw egg to his tea every morning, and encouraged others to try his diet. It's safe to say this master of words should have stuck to what he knew best.
- Grapefruit juice diet: The plan for the grapefruit diet is to eat whatever you want as far as fats and proteins go, but to avoid carbohydrates and only eat around 800 calories per day. You're also supposed to drink 64 ounces of grapefruit juice, which supposedly combines with protein to increase your body's fat-burning capabilities. This diet emerged in the 1930s and was made popular again in the 1970s when it was referred to as the Hollywood Diet. Needless to say, science has proved that it doesn't work and, in fact, isn't healthy.
- Baby food diet: People who try this diet – eating up to 14 jars of baby food a day, and then possibly eating a real adult dinner – are banking on the lower amounts of fat, sugar and calories in baby food compared with adult meals. However, baby food is formulated for babies – though you can lose weight on diet, you wouldn't be doing it in a healthy way because it doesn't have the nutrients that adults need.
- The cotton ball diet: This one is extremely dangerous. There have been rumors that different models have tried eating cotton balls because they're full of fiber and also filling so you don't feel hungry. However, cotton isn't meant to be consumed by people. In fact, eating cotton balls can give you serious digestive issues that require surgery.
- Sleeping Beauty diet: The idea behind this diet is that you can burn plenty of calories while sleeping – and you won't be eating. People who tried it out used to take a sedative and sleep for a few days at a time, but it's obvious that this isn't safe nor is it healthy in anyway. There are rumors that Elvis Presley did this after he gained a lot of weight in the 1970s.
- Tapeworm diet: This one is downright scary. Tapeworms are parasitic flatworms that can thrive in the intestine. Though they typically don't cause too many symptoms, they can cause diarrhea, anemia and potentially even seizures. This diet became a thing in the 1920s and horse jockeys were said to have ingested tapeworm larva to stay thin.
Needless to say, the above diet plans are unhealthy, unsafe and not worth any risks you'd take to lose the weight. It's a better idea to see a doctor and trainer to help you come up with an exercise and diet plan that is right for you.