Diet, cleanse, detox – there are a lot of eating regimens over the years that people have bought into in the name of health or, as the is more often the case, weight loss.
In honour of our upcoming webinar, The Great Detox Debate, on March 31, 2015, we present the top 6 worst detox diets in history.
1. Air Only. This one has got to be one of the most ludicrous diets ever to be gobbled up by the masses. It was hard to believe and yet, "Breatharians" claim to subsist on nothing but the fresh air and the energy of the sun. And, as if starvation isn't torture enough, they recommend sniffing the food you're not eating. It's been three years since this fad first hit the scene and we're still waiting on the 'gotchya'.
2. Cabbage Soup Detox. Don't get us wrong, we love a good bowl of soup and (confession) we could eat fermented cabbage all day long. But, to eat nothing but cabbage soup? No thanks. This detox diet has been around forever despite reports of feeling bloated (not to mention, gassy) and countless nutritionists pointing out the lack of nutrients required to sustain your health. We say keep cabbage on the menu but don't forget that variety is the spice of life.
3. Making Lemonade. The master cleanse or lemonade diet requires detoxers to consume nothing but a mixture of lemon juice, water, cayenne and maple syrup for 10 days. Promises of weight-loss is the main reason people buy into this detox, but experts say that any weight loss is temporary. Proponents of the cleanse also claim you'll have more energy and be happier but we're feeling hangry just thinking about it.
4. Leek Love. We love us some leeks but this cousin to garlic is far from a superstar of sustenance. This cleanse is often prescribed as a quick slim-down diet over a weekend and includes nothing but steamed or boiled leeks and leek broth. The notion comes from the author of French Women Don't Get Fat, Mireille Guiliano, but because leek is a mild diuretic, any weight loss over the weekend is likely to be water loss. We say, forget this French fad and love your leeks alongside all kinds of other deliciously nutritious foods.
5. Tapeworm. We're going to try to get through this without getting grossed out but seriously, intentionally ingesting a tapeworm egg so that it can grow in your stomach and eat your food for you? In the words of Jimmy Fallon, Ewww! Apparently, this practice helped jockeys in the 40's stay trim but there are so many health risks to hosting a parasite (not the least of which is that they can't be trained to stay in your intestines) that we can't believe this is still a thing. Is this really still a thing?
6. Clay-time. This is the most recent addition to the list – it's the practice of drinking clay (Bentonite seems to be a favourite) in order to pull out toxins and hard metals (thanks to clay's 'negative charge') as it passes through the body. That's right, use dirt to get clean. Some high profile fans like Shailene Woodley and Zoe Kravitz have popularized it but it's been on the menu at health retreats for years. Opponents of the practice say that clay contains potential dangers like hidden arsenic and lead.
These six diet fads are just the tip of the crazy iceberg which may leave you wondering – are there any detoxes that are good for you?