One of the most googled question has to be, 'How to lose weight fast?'
And this question often throws up crazy diets and weight loss trends like the cabbage soup diet, ice diet, grapefruit diet, milkshake diet, the magnetic ring diet, the vinegar diet, the fork Diet, Fletcherism diet (which advocates chewing each mouthful of food for at least 32 times, or until it was in liquid form), clip your nose while you eat diet (so you can't smell while you eat), and more.
It may also throw up outrageous suggestions like ear stapling and eating cotton balls before meals (seriously damaging to the GI tract).
I also read about something totally laughable called The Vision Diet where you are supposed to wear blue-tinted glasses, so that everything one plans to eat looks disgusting.
But that’s not all. Some even weirder weight loss plans are gaining traction now by promising quick nirvana from excess pounds.
It is important not to fall prey to these ideas, as often they not just don't deliver, but might in fact cause some serious damage to the body and harm your health irreversibly. Besides, never in history has an extreme diet ever worked.
Below’s a list of some rather extreme ones doing the rounds these days. Please steer clear.
This is based on the concept of Breatharianism, which is the belief that one could live only on energy from sunlight and air, and do not need nourishment from food.
This diet typically means eating only water and salt soup concoctions. Yes, that’s all!
Try it only If you are looking to ruin your health and get some serious nutrient deficiencies.
Activated Charcoal Diet
Charcoal, isn’t really new – it's been around since long before the 19th century, but off late there have been claims that it helps detox the body, cut cholesterol, has anti ageing properties and cures everything from jet lag to hangovers, and delivers weight loss.
Unfortunately this is just a wellness fairytale, so don’t fall for it. There is zilch scientific evidence for it. No studies at all. Everything is heresy. That’s dangerous to follow.
Besides if at all, any weight loss associated with gulping down charcoal would likely be temporary and unpleasant.
Some immediate known side effects of this diet include black tongue, black stools, vomiting, diarrhoea and or constipation.
The Baby Food Diet
This diet involves eating only baby food every day instead of regular meals, and having a maximum of one regular meal every day.
This diet is impractical, and while it may help create a calorie deficit that may promote temporary weight loss, , it is basically just a gimmick and will eventually lead to severe deficiencies.
This is a 500-calorie-a-day diet and involves getting daily injections of the hormone human choriogonadotropin. Not worth it at all!
Firstly if you go on a 500 calorie daily diet you'll any ways lose a lot of weight, hcG has nothing to do with it (really, where is the proof). It is simply a nil carbs diet, nothing else.
If you don't take the injections, and just follow the diet, even then you'll lose the same amount.
Secondly (hCG) may mess up your body's hormones. this diet is unsustainable, and can be dangerous (may cause blood clots, depression, and headaches).
Thirdly it may also leave your metabolism in a mess, and the BMR may drop to levels you will find impossible to bounce back from.
You may also lose a lot of protein, and your B, C, iron, calcium levels will all fall. Moreover, your electrolytes will go haywire, there's a risk of gallstones, fluid retention just to mention some side effects. So, no, not worth it.
Finally, even if Hcg works the way they are saying it does, by reducing your appetite, what will you do once you go off it? Besides, there are other saner ways to loose weight the healthy way.
Some people are now advocating injecting botulinum toxin A (BTA), or Botox, the known anti-wrinkle treatment, into the stomach as basis some animal studies it is believed that it helps to delay emptying of the stomach, increase feelings of fullness and thus reduce hunger.
Bu the fact is that there is no proof that this can lead to weight loss. So it means that while the risks are there, benefits are most likely none.
The Ice Cream Cleanse
Here you are supposed to eat only ice cream for all meals every day. Crazy!
It is simply unsustainable and is sure to cause nutritional deficiencies besides pushing you towards insulin resistance and pre diabetes. To be avoided at all costs.
Last Word: The Right Way
The best way to lose weight is actually quite simple: eat right and get active.
Think of it as an equation: eat fewer calories + increase activity = weight loss.
And successful weight loss means you don't just lose it but keep it off. So avoid fad diets and Yo Yo weight loss and gain that can be very damaging.
(Kavita Devgan is a nutritionist, weight management consultant, and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of The Don't Diet Plan: A no-nonsense guide to weight loss, Fix it with Food, Ultimate Grandmother Hacks, and Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People.)