The Scariest Diets That Have Ever Existed

Hey guys!

I seriously cringe every time I hear about a new fad diet. It’s craaazy what people will do to lose a few pounds! The biggest reason why they scare me though is because I’ve totally been that girl, trying to lose a few pounds on a ridiculous diet.

I’ve seen what it does to your mind and your body. I’ve lived it. Fad diets like juice cleanses and the Special K diet were some popular ones that obviously aren’t super sustainable. But there are some REALLY dangerous diets out there.

Just so we’re clear, I DON’T recommend them. Also, just a heads up: these scary diets may feel uncomfortable to hear about!

Okay, let’s see how many of the scariest diets you’ve heard of!

Cotton Ball Diet

Just reading about this one makes me feel like I’m choking. So with this “diet,” people would basically soak a few cotton balls in orange juice, smoothie, or whatever. AND THEN THEY SWALLOW THEM.

What! Apparently, cotton balls in your stomach make you feel full. But here’s the dangerous part: most cotton balls are full of chemicals and they could seriously block your digestive tract, causing huge problems.

hCG Diet

I’ve heard about the hCG diet a lot, and every time I’m like…why?! This one involves a suuuuuper low-calorie diet (which is dangerous enough) and injections of hCG, a hormone women produce when they’re pregnant. Side effects? Oh just fatigue, depression and irregular heartbeat to list a few. Not okay, even if you do lose a few pounds…that you will 100% gain back.

Tapeworm Diet

Most people have heard of this one. Ahhh it grosses me out!  People swallow a tapeworm (AKA a parasite) and it lives inside your body, eating food out of your intestines. You guys, this isn’t just gross. It’s one of the scariest diets because it can kill you!

Sleeping Beauty Diet

This is a new one for me, but I guess it’s been around since the 70’s. The theory is, you can’t eat while you sleep. Makes sense… but on this diet, you take sedatives to sleep the day away. Some people doing this would sleep for up to 20 hours a day! Whoa.

I know sedatives do terrible things to your body if you overuse them. Plus, they’re addictive! No evidence this one actually helps you lose weight in the long run either. Pass.

Feeding Tube Diet

Is it just me, or are these diets getting crazier? On the feeding tube diet (also known as the KE diet), you don’t eat any real food. Instead, you just get a formula of protein and fat through a feeding tube through your nose. Apparently, it’s a quick fix for wedding weight loss, etc.

Before you even think about being tempted to try it, it’s super expensive (like $1500 for 10 days) and causes fatigue, terrible breath, and constipation. Makes sense,  since it’s probably really hard on your body!

Tongue Patch Diet

This one makes me feel really uncomfortable. There are people out there having patches SEWN onto their tongues. AHH. It’s supposed to make eating/swallowing so painful, that you can only tolerate liquids. Luckily it’s not super common!

Nicotine Diet

This one used to just be known as smoking. Nicotine curbs your appetite, and I guess some people thought ruining their lungs and possibly getting lung cancer was worth shedding a few pounds!

Some people looking to cut weight for a competition or modeling event would even avoid everything except for cigarettes and water leading up to the big day. Now, most people who use nicotine for weight loss have at least taken smoking out the equation. Instead, they use nicotine as a stimulant. Still not a good choice if you ask me.

The Master Cleanse

Ah, the diet Beyonce brought into the spotlight. She used this one to drop a lot of weight for her movie, Dream Girls, and one reason this is one of the scariest diets is because of how quickly it became popular. Celebs have BIG influence!

The Master Cleanse involves drinking a mix of lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper… 6 to 12 times a day. Oh, and no solid food. For 10 days. Some variations even call for laxative teas to “prep” for the cleanse. YIKES. I don’t even think I need to say it, but this one will give you diarrhea, dehydrate you, and make you super fatigued. If you lose weight it will come right back when you start eating again. And NO it will not detox you.

Cabbage Soup Diet

Wanna eat cabbage soup for almost every meal, every day? Yeah, me neither. The idea here is that cabbage soup is so low in calories, you can eat as much as you want without adding up to a lot of calories at the end of the day.

Some variations include days where you can eat other foods (like bananas and milk?). All that soup is just going to deprive you and make you extremely bloated and tired.

5 Bite Diet

This fad diet has “eating disorder” written all over it. Well actually, a lot of these diets do. But this one really bothered me! The name makes it obvious, but on this diet, you only eat 5 bites at each meal. Oh, and you skip breakfast, so you only get 5 bites at lunch and dinner. Essentially, you’re starving yourself.

Red Bull Diet

It doesn’t seem like this diet is quite as popular…but there’s a reason it’s one of the scariest diets. It sounds like a heart attack waiting to happen. The creator of this diet claims that she would eat very little throughout the day, and focus more on drinking 14 (!!!!) cans of Red Bull per day. No amount of weight loss is worth putting that much caffeine into your body! So dangerous.

Just say no to fad diets

I think you know what I’m gonna say. Fad diets, crash diets, restrictive diets…they just don’t work! Social media makes it easy to target young girls with these extremely dangerous diets that could seriously harm their bodies down the road.

That’s why I am so passionate about promoting a healthy diet with whole foods and plenty of exercise! That lifestyle is MUCH safer and honestly, it’s MUCH easier.

30 thoughts on “The Scariest Diets That Have Ever Existed”

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  1. layla says:

    As much as I agree that bringing these terrible diets into the spotlight is important, I also think that for those of us who are inclined to EDs, it’s hard to see triggering new ideas like these diets. I get that you are trying to bring them to light on why they are bad, but when people are really stuck in it, you don’t care if certain diets wreck your body, as long as it will make you lose weight 🙁

  2. Kirstyn Campbell says:

    I personally hate when someone says a diet. I think just a healthy lifestyle is way better. Diets only are temporary but a healthy lifestyle is lifelong!❤️

    1. Rose says:

      Totally agree!! I love your mindest! People like you are the people that inspire other people. Wow I said People way too many times.

  3. Candice says:

    Thank you Cassey for pointing out these dangerous fad/crash diets! There are many kinds out there and the one thing they seem to unfortunately have in common is 1) most of them are dangerous and 2) the effects don’t last.
    I speak from experience myself. I studied theatre in high school, college and grad school and I was sorely tempted to try a diet. Anything that would help me lose a little so I could get cast. The entertainment industry prioritizes this ideal type: she is thin, she is toned (sometimes), she is usually Caucasian. I am none of those things. Never have been. There is nothing inherently wrong with having those qualities, but I began to question,”What’s wrong with what I’ve been gifted with naturally and why isn’t my acting training enough?”
    I tried Garcinia Cambogia (waste of money), Advocare (not worth it), Keto (an unhealthy version though there are healthier versions out there). I watched my professors do Slimfast and saw my fellow classmates TRIGGER WARNING*****************
    struggle with eating disorders.

    I just loved the art of acting, of connecting with scene partners, dialogue, the collaborative community, of making make-believe come true. I lost sight of that.
    I came out of that Toxic environment desiring healthier relationships with others, myself, and Creator.
    Now, I concentrate mostly on local theatre/film productions, works that tell local/culturally specific (to my culture). I try to stay healthy of course. Which is why I’m so glad I found your program, Cassey. You promote working out as part of your Joy which is inspiring and grounding. Thank you!

  4. Ciara B says:

    Kpop diets are some other extreme fad diets and their fans replicate them to try to achieve the same look. In preparation for a debut Red Velvet’s Seulgi literally only drank a glass of soy milk a day.

  5. Vaya wenne says:

    Wow so crazy how people hurt theyrselfs only to lose some pounds.
    I didn’t know they exist. But how came the idea to search scary diets and list them up for us?
    Btw I also heard some ppl only eat some cucumbers because they are low in calories. Nothing else.

  6. I also heard about an egg and wine diet. It’s a three day diet. You can drink a whole bottle of wine everyday and only eat eggs. You can also have coffee. So your basically starving yourself.

  7. J says:

    Hey Cassey!

    I just wanted to say that I really appreciate your spin on things — to eat, exercise, and live in a healthy and sustainable manner, and I totally understand that you do not support the diet practices in this blog post. But I do feel like there is something harmful about sharing them in a list format like this, when I read this post I felt almost like a spectator, kind of getting a ‘kick’ (of sorts) out of finding out about them. Its such a sad thing that people feel impelled to go as far as undertaking these diets, so I feel very uncomfortable consuming content about them in such a way.

  8. Lauren Camardese says:

    The most disgusting part about it is how ignorant people are of how their own bodies function. Ignorant of how powerful their bodies can be, if treated correctly. Such a pitiful waste.

  9. Christen says:

    Have you heard of intuitive eating, Casey? There’s some misrepresentations of it on social media, but some of the core principles remind me of things you’ve talked about. The book on intuitive eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch explains why diets don’t work and how we can listen to our bodies in order to nourish ourselves well.

  10. Lauren Hodges says:

    My sister tried the Sleeping Beauty diet (without the pills) and lost about 20-30 pounds over the summer a few years ago. However, she has since gained it all back and then some because she doesn’t tackle her emotional eating issues. 🙁 It is an awful diet, with or without the pills because it lacks controlling the problem’s roots.

  11. Emily says:

    This is quite upsetting to even read about, I cant believe people would put themselves through this! 😱

  12. Jess says:

    When I was 19 I did the hcg thing but with drops you just put under your tongue a couple times a day. I felt so awful the entire time and it screwed my hormones for years afterwards. Definitely not worth the 10 lbs.

  13. Abbie says:

    It’s so sad how obsessed people are today with how they look on the outside instead of making the inside healthy. Your just destroying your gut and mental health.🙁

  14. T says:

    My Mom said in the 70’s she went on a fad 3-day diet. The 1st day you ate 7 plain hot dogs, the 2nd day you ate 7 hard-boiled eggs, and the 3rd day you ate 7 bananas. She said it was the grossest thing and she was very sick afterward!

  15. Informative content! Will wait for next posts…!

  16. Just reading about these diets is painful. It makes me feel really bad that people actually willingly do this to their bodies. They need a lot more education and awareness before this stops. I will definitely be sharing this with everyone. Great post.

  17. Lauren E says:

    Tapeworm diet?!?! Oh my gosh that is horrifying!!

  18. Meg says:

    I am so with you! If you want to lose weight or stay toned eat sensibly and exercise often! So any of these fad diets advertised makes me sick!

  19. Lili says:

    Wow I am actually shook with the redbull diet. Its so crazy I would be scared of getting a heartattack! I have never even dared to try a redbull before, because of the caffeine.

  20. Marissa says:

    Very cool that you decided to talk on these bad diets! 🙂 worth the read. Im totally with you on whole foods, less processed foods, and YOLO meal once a week/once in a while. Even before I discovered you, i was already doing this kind of thing. You are one of my favorites 🙂 keep doing what you are doing, you are amazing! <3

  21. Val says:

    Haven’t heard of any of them… either I’m too old or not crazy enough 🙂

  22. this is super interesting, and I know that you had a YouTube video talking about the strangest thing diets over the years!

  23. H says:

    But you did a juice “cleanse” where you didn’t eat Solid food for 3 days.

    1. Bel says:

      Hi! I think it’s not the same. She ate a lot of unusual foods to her body, and ended up feeling sick. I watched that video, and felt that it was like when I have a birthday or social event, overeat and then I feel so full that I don’t want to eat the entire next day. And I don’t, because I listen to my body. Of course, it would be better not to overeat/overindulge, but if we do, the best thing we can do is follow what our bodies try to tell us

    2. T says:

      A juice cleanse is different to a fad diet. Limited time and usually used to give your body a bit of a “break” from digesting. I’m not educated enough to know whether its actually beneficial but for a limited amount of time and as a very rare thing it’s not harmful.

  24. magenmh922 says:

    This is all crazy!!! Makes me even more excited that I’ve been working hard to eat balanced and develop a healthy relationship with food! More than anything though it makes me SO sad that beauty standards have warranted people (especially women) to take such drastic measures. BIG societal changes need to be made.

  25. Rose says:

    Wow, some of these are honestly disturbing! The master cleanse actually doesn’t sound bad to me. I’ve known people who have done similar and if you drink water with it you don’t get dehydrated. I’ve normally heard of something like that that only last for like five days though and it’s for people who are trying to cleanse their digestive tract and not as a weight loss tool. Your body does actually start to do some detoxing though because it isn’t spending time digesting food, obviously. But again, the people I know who have done this haven’t done it for ten days and have not done it to lose weight, just as a kind of reset. I think it’s creepy how people get so obsessed with how they look. I’ve heard it’s really bad in L.A. and I definitely think it’s because of the culture that we’ve built that focuses on appearance. I just feel like people need to focus on things that actually matter, but that’s just me.

  26. Alexa says:

    Every time I read it, I say, “Why do people do things like that in themselves?” If we want a healthier body, we need to eat healthier

  27. adrianka1506 says:

    OMG… I don’t even know what to say. Reading this I have big eyes all the time because I HAVE NO IDEA HOW SOMEONE COULD EVEN INVENTED SUCH A DANGEROUS diets. I’m absolutely terrified. I understand that someone wants to lose weight BUT HEALTHY WAY is the healthiest, the easiest (of course sometimes it’s hard but guys come on – it’s nothing to compare with those disasterous diets). The healthy way IS THE ONLY GOOD ONE