by Dr. Craig A. Maxwell
With obesity now being classified as a disease and the Hollywood fixation with being thin and beautiful, it’s no small wonder so many of us are a bit obsessed with staying thin.
Unfortunately, this obsession has resulted in the advent of ridiculous and dangerous diets that could do serious harm to your health.
Here are 5 diets you should avoid like the plague:
- The Fruitarian Diet
The “Fruitarian Diet” was made popular by late Apple founder, Steve Jobs. It consists of eating nothing but fresh fruit and seeds, although some modify the diet to include nuts and non-starchy vegetables.
This diet is often followed for the purposes of cleansing the body, treating chronic disease, and spiritual practice. It has also been used as a weight-loss method.
This extremely-restrictive diet is dangerous to follow even for a short period of time. Excess fructose consumption (even in the form of organic fruit) can contribute to blood sugar spikes, metabolic dysfunction, heart disease, and nutritional deficiencies.
- The HCG and HGH Diets
Human growth hormone (HGH) and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) diets are hormone-based diets that often get confused as the same thing.
Let’s look at them in detail and the specific side effects associated with each:
- The HCG Diet
Human chorionic gonadotropin is a hormone pregnant women produce immediately after conception. It adjusts the metabolism, which reduces food cravings while ensuring nourishment goes to the growing fetus. The hCG diet involves a daily injection of this hormone and eating an extremely-restrictive 500 calories a day.
The injections themselves have been linked to the development of dangerous blood clots while the restrictive diet has been linked to nutritional deficiencies, gastrointestinal problems, hair loss, low blood pressure, constipation, gallstones, lethargy, and mood swings.
While this diet may temporarily cause you to shed a few pounds, when you resume eating normally again, you will likely gain all the weight back and then some. This is because diets that restrict calories this severely put your body into starvation mode, which prompts it to hold to as much fat as it can.
- The HGH Diet
Human growth hormone is produced by the pituitary gland and is responsible for fueling growth and development in children. Those who use this hormone to lose weight need to get expensive ($1,000) once-a-week injections that claim to help you “lose weight in your sleep and look 10 years younger.”
There is no scientific evidence to back these claims.
The side effects of this diet include muscle and joint pain, swelling in the arms and legs, insulin resistance, carpel tunnel syndrome, and male breast growth (gynecomastia).
- The Tongue Patch Diet
Of all the ridiculous diets I’ve come across, this one has got to be the most unbelievable. This weight-loss plan (if you can call it that) involves going to a plastic surgeon and paying $2,000 to have a piece of surgical mesh sewn into your tongue. It makes eating so painful, it’s almost impossible.
While you have the patch in your mouth, you have no choice but to subsist on broth, vegetable juice, and protein shakes.
The dangers of this surgical procedure include accidentally swallowing the patch, tongue swelling, inability to speak properly, drooling, insomnia, and permanent fusion of the patch to your tongue!
- The Cotton Ball Diet
It’s been said that models have been swallowing cotton balls before meals to fill up their stomachs and stave off hunger pangs for decades. Now, the trend seems to be picking up again and has been making its rounds on the Internet.
Swallowing cotton (or any non-food item) can have serious health risks including intestinal blockages, malnutrition, and even starvation.
- Any “Diet Pill” Diet
Diet pills work one of two ways: They either prevent you from being able to absorb fat and nutrients from food, or they stimulate centers in your brain, causing a decrease in appetite.
Either way, this is not a healthy way to lose weight. Diet pills that block fat absorption not only lead to nutritional deficiencies, but may result in embarrassing anal seepage.
Stimulants can lead to panic attacks, insomnia, mood changes, hypertension, tachycardia, urticaria, headache, and agitation.
Once diet pills are discontinued, the weight almost always comes back.
The Healthiest Way to Lose Weight
The healthiest way to lose weight is to remove as many synthetic chemicals from your diet as possible and eat a minimally-processed diet. I recommend eating plenty of organic produce, nuts, seeds, grass-fed beef, poultry, wild-caught fish, eggs, and healthy fats like coconut oil, butter from grass-fed cows, and olive oil.
I also recommend a moderate exercise program. Walking just 30 minutes a day three times per week is enough to get started. Be sure to get clearance from your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.
If your concern about your weight has developed into an anxiety-based eating disorder, contact a support group for help.
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