10 Craziest Diets in History

Dieting. Personally, I suck at it, as do many people throughout the world. But it doesn't mean we don't try. Of course, some of us try to eat less and exercise more and some people jump on the bandwagon of any fad diets, always hoping to find a miracle that leads to quick weight loss with little effort. As a result, there's been quite a few crazy diet ideas in the last few centuries, here are the top ten weirdest diet methods we've ever heard of.

Photo Via Angelsk [Flickr]

The Chewing Diet

The chewing diet was popularized in the Edwardian Era by Horace Fletcher. He believed that chewing allowed food to be properly absorbed into the body. Insufficient chewing would lead to constipation and clog up the digestive tract, said Fletcher. He lost 40 pounds in just four months using the diet he created. Dr. Kellogg was a friend and fan of Fletcher and he required patients at his sanatorium to participate in the chewing diet as well as a variety of other weight loss methods.

To properly implement the chewing diet, a person must chew each bite over 32 times, which takes approximately 30 seconds. After chewing is done, the person then tilts his or her head back and allows the food to trickle down their throat. Anything that is still too big to swallow must be spit out. The desire to eat things likely diminishes after a period on this diet, so it does work as you begin to eat less food.

Possible Side Effects May Include: A sore jaw. Much longer meal times. Annoyed and disgusted friends.


The Tapeworm Diet

If you eat for two and aren’t pregnant, maybe it’s time to get a second mouth in your belly. A tapeworm can sure help eat all of that excess food. Around the turn of the century, these little parasites were sold in a simple pill form claiming to help you shed inches from your waist. It’s uncertain whether these pills actually had live tapeworms or if they were just another “snake oil” product, but what is certain is that people have intentionally used tapeworms as a weight loss method. Jockeys are amongst the many people purported to have used tapeworms as a diet.

Possible Side Effects May Include: Well for one, having a worm inside your stomach, which might cause nausea, headaches, infections and diarrhea. Some people’s organs are blocked by the eggs and this can result in death. There is no evidence that tapeworms actually help people lose much of weight, so the whole experience may be for nothing.


The Sleeping Beauty Diet

You can’t eat while you sleep. So naturally, if you sedate yourself for days and neglect to eat as a result, this starvation diet may actually work for you. Elvis was a proponent of this weight loss method around the end of his life and the dieting method was also made popular in Valley of the Dolls.

Possible Side Effects May Include: A severe pill hangover can leave you with a headache, nausea and fatigue. Additionally, improper sedation might actually kill you and so might starvation.


The Vision Diet

If your food looks disgusting, you’re less likely to eat it. While this is certainly true, it’s not enough to make the vision-dieter glasses any less silly. From the testimonials I’ve read, the glasses make you feel relaxed while going on your day to day routine, but they don’t help you lose much weight. Johnny Depp is a big fan of blue glasses, although it’s hard to say if he just likes their look or if he actually feels the effects from the lens color.

Possible Side Effects May Include: Looking like a geek in big blue glasses. Possible vision problems after prolonged exposure to the glasses.


Washing Away The Pounds

If you’re showering everyday, you might as well lose weight while doing it, right? That’s the theory behind Aoqili diet soaps. These soaps contain seaweed that will penetrate skin and breakdown fat. There seems to be no evidence that this product works though, not even faked testimonials.

Possible Side Effects May Include: Some people have had allergic reactions to the soap’s ingredients.


Ear Stapling

Ear stapling is exactly what its name implies, you pierce the cartilage of your inner ear and it supposedly suppresses your appetite. You can only leave it in for six weeks to three months because once your body gets used to the staple it will lose its effectiveness. While many people claim this weight loss method is highly effective, even its proponents can’t agree why. The most common explanation involves the piercing’s similarity to acupuncture.

Ear stapling is illegal in Florida and other states have regulated the practice to help decrease the number of infections it has caused.

Possible Side Effects May Include: Well, for one, you will have a staple in your ear, which may be a little painful. Secondly, you could get an infection, which could make you severely sick. Also, it is possible to receive nerve damage when the procedure is preformed improperly.


The Cotton Ball Diet

The cotton ball diet is exactly what it sounds like, you eat cotton balls. Some people eat them dry and others soak them in gelatin first. Obviously the idea is that cotton balls are low in calories but very filling, so you won’t want to eat anything that is fattening. The cotton balls are also high in fiber, which is thought to be good for you –until you realize it’s not the kind of fiber you need in your diet.

Possible Side Effects May Include: Exceptionally boring, dry and disgusting meals. A lack of needed vitamins and other nutrients. Major digestive problems.


The Blood Type Diet

The theory of the blood type diet is that every blood type has a set of foods best suited to it and if you eat according to your blood type, you will lose weight. Supposedly, a person with type A blood should be vegetarian and meditate, while those with type O blood should eliminate grains from their diet and do aerobics.

Possible Side Effects May Include: This diet may seem harmless, but depending on which blood type you have, your recommended diet may center around food that is bad for you. For example, many people are lactose intolerant, but anyone with type B blood is recommended to intake a lot of dairy –this could cause a lot of problems. Additionally, people with type A blood are told to eat a lot of wheat, but if someone has gluten intolerance, this could be dangerous.


The Hallelujah Diet

Photo Via Wonderlane [Flickr]

The Hallelujah diet requires eating foods specifically mentioned in Genesis Chapter 1, Verse 29. These foods are all-natural, vegan, raw foods. Of course, in Genesis Chapter 9, Verse 3, God lifts these restrictions, but the hallelujah diet overlooks this.

In the diet, only 15% of a person’s daily intake of food is allowed to be cooked. Aside from the basic diet, the plan recommends exercise, rest, sunshine and elimination of stress. It seems pretty natural that anyone exercising, relaxing and eating vegan will be losing weight, regardless of whether God dictated it or not.

Possible Side Effects May Include: Like all vegan diets, a person must be very careful to get their daily intake of protein, vitamins and minerals. Other than that, this diet is mostly healthy, although it may annoy your friends.


The Caveman Diet

This diet is also called the Paleolithic diet because the focus is based on food available to cavemen during the Paleolithic Era, around 10,000 years ago. This time period was prior to the development of agriculture, so the plants available to these dieters are mostly ones available to gatherers and hunters. Food can be cooked though because it was common practice in that era. Most participants will be limited to lean meat, fish, veggies, fruit, roots and nuts. Grains, dairy, salt, refined sugar, oils and legumes are all strictly prohibited.

Possible Side Effects May Include: Dieters may have a hard time getting their daily calcium intake, but other than that, it is not dangerous. Most restaurants do offer food that would fit into this dietary plan –steaks, salads, etc.


Staple your INNER ear!?! I think you mean EXTERNAL ear (or crus of helix)... unless you want to induce vertigo --> vomiting --> weight loss.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
The vision diet reminds me of my graphic design days. When putting together a poster/advertisement with a photograph of food, you want to remove as much blue(cyan) from it as possible. Pyschologicly, blue is the least appetising colour.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I'm on a diet similar to the paleolothic diet called the specific carbohydrate diet to combat an auto immune disorder. I've been on it 100% strict for about a year now. It's a life long thing for me but it keeps the desease in check.

It's not that bad just hard to shop for it and you have to cook everything since everything outthere has sugars and glutins and starches and other crap.

meh... at least I'm living and I'll always be thin...
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I'd heard that about the color blue before, and it makes sense. McDonald's, DQ, Taco Bell have warm colors in their logos that invite the mind to think of food. Who knows why Burger King added blue to theirs, but sales dropped significantly afterward.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
The chewing thing is a pretty good idea. Most of us inhale our meals like mindless little hoovers. Our bodies have forgotten how to savor and how to know when we're satisfied. Slowing down gives the system a chance to register the moment when we've had enough, allows us to really notice the food we're eating, and mixes the food thoroughly with saliva--one of the most important factors in digestion--so we absorb more nutrients.

Not that I do it, but it's a solid principle.

Drawback: It reminds me of my deranged uncle who would store food in his cheek and carry on extended conversations before retrieving the cheek-pouch material and consuming it. Shudder.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I've been on the "Paleo diet" for 2 years and have been very happy with my results. I have clearer skin, have more energy than I know what to do with, need only about 5-6 hours of sleep per night (compared to 9-10 before the diet), am more mentally stable (better serotonin regulation), have lost all excess fat, and I gain muscle more easily.

Humans went 2.5 million years without grains, legumes, or dairy. If you think that 10,000 years is a long enough time for the human genome to fully adapt to the environmental changes brought on by the agricultural revolution, please take the time to education yourself on the basics of evolution and the process of gene expression.

I'm not saying that eating Paleo is the end-all-be-all solution to a happy, healthy life. I'm not saying that a few grains here and there are totally disastrous. But calling something as common sense as eating the way through which our genes have been optimized through 2.5 million years of evolution -- calling that "crazy" is, in itself, pretty crazy.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I agree; I absolutely love the Paleo diet. Sticking to it is so simple: "Is it a fruit? Is it a vegetable? Is it a lean meat?" Simple and totally effective. I feel a ton better and I can keep my appetite under control. Is the name the only thing that got it on this list?
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
The other thing about blue glasses is, I believe, they're supposed to be helpful for certain types of photosensitivity. And they do look good on some people.

I thought an important part of the paleo diet was less emphasis on big meals and more on browsing throughout the day? That sort of thing is recommended by some for helping to regulate blood sugar...
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I'm on the "Morning Sickness" diet.

It's great! I've lost 8 pounds in the last 4 weeks because the sight and smell of nearly everything makes me vomit! All the glamour of Bulimia but people buy you presents!
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Jeff P.
I really think it is you that needs to educate yourself in the Human genome and mitochondrial DNA. It is absolute proof of a young earth.
There are only three expressions in the Mito DNA. The Bible talks about three women bloodlines that basically were the mothers of civilization after the flood. Seems like a reasonable and scientific conclusion to me.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
@yo: I wish you were joking, but since you're not, let me ask: Are those that believe such things so insecure about them they need to take any remotely-relevant opportunity to argue their case? Why do you need to proselytize if you're secure in your knowledge? Just carry on being wise and benevolent if you're all that. You know, like that guy from that one book.

@Gauldar: And that tidbit was the Least disgusting thing about him.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)

I figure that they need to argue it because they feel like their world is getting smaller, it's basicly a cry for help. America is turning out to be less and less of a "christian nation", since people now are seeing that there's little point to clinging to superstition when all they are doing is segregating themselves from the world around them. Times are changing, and surprisingly it looks like Texas is coming around.

Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
hahaha the cotton ball diet >? now thats something i am deffiantely going to try >! hahahahahaahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahhahahahahahahahhahhahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahhahahahahahahhahahahhahahahahahhahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahhahahahahahahahhahahaahahahhahahahahahahahhahahahahhhaahahahahahahah jk that sounds gross !
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Very funny article but on a serious note if you are looking to lose weight, I believe this blog can help you reach your weight loss goals. Daily posts on tips and tricks if you will to quick and easy weight loss. html://www.ezweightlossguide.blogspot.com thanks for reading
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
You can add one more to the list.. i'm putting myself on the "crispy cream donut diet" for weightloss for a few weeks.. side a effects may include intense sugar cravings and the desire to wear antique lace. I'll let you know how it goes.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I had heard of the cotton ball diet before, my friend who was studying for her Psychology BSC said it was a favorite of girls that frequented pro-ana websites. So it is more a clear indication that your relationship with food has become very unhealthy!

I can remember watching a channel 4 series called 'The Diets That Time Forgot' where they made a group of obese people try out different diets, one was 100% protein (aka Atkins, but this was complete protein...no meat), the other was the chewing and the third one I can't remember! The one where they made people chew 32 times saw the best results over all. Taking time to chew is clearly important, but 32 times is excessive! However if you do take your time, you allow your stomach to fill and you realise you are full before you wolf down too much food.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
lol!!! this is hilarious. cotton ball diet u hav 2be crazy and some the seaweed soap sounds like a myth. some of these diets r crazy but the raw food aint so bad..ive done it and i felt like it was more of a detox diet i felt great on it. but when it comes to weightloss the best thing i can say is to do something long term something that will change your life so learn how to change all of your habits..eating smaller portions will make you chew slower because you want to enjoy it knowing you dont have as much..and by the time u finished your satisfied.
drinking lots of water when you wake up always helps me and eating everything in moderation.
all the crazy diets will not help in the long run...
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Wow i am surprised by the ignorance above not pertaining to the diets listed above, First "Yo" not relevant to the diets that are discussed, please bridge the subject in order to draw people in. Second "Violet" You are being very dishonest with your intellect or you have not read the last orders given by the one you speak of commanding believers to go into all the world sharing the good news of free eternal salvation. This is an open comment string, Yo's comment made me do some research myself. Are you not doing the same by responding to Yo or is conversing with strangers about anything that you disagree with only not allowed, that's sounding like bigotry. Third "cheeses loves you" Which facts are being ignored? I would take a look at http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/index.html
that is if you are really wanting answers and not just attacking Yo because of what he believes. Forth "Gaulder" Just because the people in power says its true doesn't make it so. it takes a lot of faith to hold onto evolution when you look into the facts. The scientist of their day believed the earth was flat and that the sun revolved around the Earth, In fear of losing power evil men used religion as a tool of control in keeping people ignorant. The university leaders who are telling you what to believe are doing the same thing but calling it a different name. I was an evolutionist until i was challenged to actually research for myself the evidence available. The indiscretions within the geologic column are very compelling evidence that defies current dogma, http://www.jesus-is-lord.com/evolspec.txt read down to "fossil anomalies" in saying all this thank you everyone for having an opinion and sharing what you think. I would like here more comment expressing experiences with the diets listed above, and cotton eaters please speak up we would like to know if you have constipation.....
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I'm a former weight loss consultant and lifetime dieter. This summer I published a short funny Dr. Seuss-like book about a week in the life of a yo-yo dieter titled: "There's a Skinny Person Inside me...but I Shut the Bitch up with a Cookie." Check out the book's website www.dontfeedthebitch.com. Ten percent of my profits benefit The FoodBank of Monmouth & Ocean Counties where I reside. I'd love for you to so a review on your site along with a link to the website...I'd gladly reciprocate. Send me your adress so I can get a copy in the mail to you.

I'm hoping you can help me make a difference.

Arleen Mavorah
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Commenting is closed.
Click here to access all of this post's 30 comments

Email This Post to a Friend
"10 Craziest Diets in History"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More