Over 60% of Californians are overweight or obese. It should therefore come as no surprise that at any given time, millions of people in this state are on some kind of diet. A lot of these weight loss regimens are not only ineffective, but extremely dangerous. Out of the many diets out there, the following 3 are diets that are too stupid and too dangerous to ever try.
The Leningrad Blockade Diet
Earlier this year, a Russian diet club took on the challenge of following a diet program inspired by World War II. The club suggested eating the same food as the residents of Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) during the Nazi invasion when the invading troops cut off food supplies to the city. Specifically, the diet calls for limiting food intake to 400 grams of bread. Men are also allowed to drink 100 grams of vodka, but only in the evening and without any bread. Those seriously considering the diet should take note than 20 million Soviet civilians died during the war, in large part due to the lack of food.
The Tapeworm Diet
This diet has a long history and yes, it is as stupid and dangerous as it sounds. It calls for swallowing capsules containing the eggs from a taenia saginata beef tapeworm. Women hoping to fit into Victorian era clothing in the 1800s often bought into the fad, only to suffer serious medical problems later. Over a century later, an Iowa woman bought some of the capsules online and ended up in the hospital where a 30-foot parasite was removed from her body. Afterwards, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, the medical director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, said in a statement “Ingesting tapeworms is extremely risky and can cause a wide range of undesirable side effects, including rare deaths.” Since the tapeworm eats the food before it can be consumed, an individual loses weight, but also does not receive vital nutrients needed to survive. This can lead to severe malnutrition and even death. The tapeworm can even randomly come out of one’s anus.
The Outdoor Diet
Some are taking California counter-culture a step too far by eliminating all food and water under the theory that air and sunlight alone are sufficient to sustain life. The Breatharian Diet, as it is sometimes called, has resulted in hospitalization and even death. Partakers of this ridiculous regimine typically claim that it has roots in Hindu religion, though that has been disputed by religious scholars and a healthy dose of common sense.
Believe it or not, the diet even a scam institute to spread its gospel: the Breatharian Institute of America. Founded in 1980, its creator Wiley Brooks was once caught leaving a 7-eleven convenient store with a box of Twinkies, a Slurpee, and a hot dog. Nevertheless, the diet lives on. In 2013, a Seattle woman stopped eating for 5 weeks and documented it on Facebook. She was quoted saying “plants live on light, then we eat plants . . . are we simply not accessing our inherent ability to live on light?” In case it is not clear, humans are not plants.