The Baby Food Diet
You might feel confused about why something as innocent-sounding as the baby food diet would be in a slideshow about terrible health choices, but it all comes down to nutrition. While baby food provides the correct amounts of vitamins and minerals needed by infants, it's not formulated for adults' fiber and nutrient needs, which can result in malnutrition.
The baby food diet is even believed to have taken a health toll on high-profile supporter of this weight-loss method: Gwenyth Paltrow. This Oscar-winning actress was diagnosed with osteopenia, a condition that occurs due to a lack of vitamin D, that has been attributed to her use of the baby food diet.
The HCG Diet
The HCG diet involves consuming a dangerously low amount of calories, supplimented with pregnancy hormones that prevent the body from shutting down due to a lack of energy. The hormones can be administered in a variety of forms that include injections and sprays.
It should come as no surprise tricking your body into thinking it's pregnant so you can practically starve yourself is a bad idea. This risky diet has caught the attention of the Federal Drug Administration due to risks that include fatal blood clots and complications associated with the body turning to vital organs as a source of energy.
The Lemonade Diet
Also known as the "master cleanse," the lemonade diet involves drinking a cocktail of water, lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper for 10 days. As if drinking that concoction doesn't sound bad enough, it's practically all you can consume if you want to abide by the lemonade diet's dangerously low goal of 650 calories per day. Some versions of this diet even call for the use of laxatives.
At best, the lemonade diet causes you to lose weight temporarily, as water-based diets tend to offer impermanent results. At worst, the lemonade diet damages your body. As you might expect, lemonade-gone-wrong doesn't contain the nutrients your body needs over an extended period of time, so periodic use of this diet can lead to deficiencies and place a strain on your heart. Extensive laxative use can also lead to complications related to existing kidney and heart issues.
While ear-stapling isn't a exactly a diet, it's an appetite-reducing method we just couldn't ignore for this list. The practice of ear stapling emerges from acupuncture theory, with supporters claiming a staple activates pressure points that reduce food cravings. Ear stapling has also been billed as a smoking cessation aid.
Science doesn't support ear stapling's claims, and the practice can actually result in damage to your ear. Because this procedure is often carried out by unregulated practitioners, a staple can lead to infection.
The Cotton Ball Diet
Perhaps the most bizarre of the five diets nobody should try, the cotton ball diet involves eating juice-soaked cotton balls to feel full without consuming a noteworthy amount of calories. Some people suppliment their cotton intake with small meals, while others solely consume cotton balls in a misguided attempt to meet weight loss goals.
In addition to obvious risks of malnutrition, this diet is discouraged because many cotton balls are made of chemical-laden polyester fibers that aren't safe to eat. To make matters worse, cotton balls can create a dangerous blockage in the intestines that medical professionals call a bezoar. Bezoars can cause internal bleeding and may even require medical attention for removal.