Come Jan. 1 many people will resolve to lose weight but after a month of feasting on cookies, eggnog and other holiday fare, the prospect of cutting back may seem daunting.
If that’s the case, maybe you need a change in perspective. A sensible diet with lots of vegetables sounds easy compared to these five fads.
In the early 1900s people latched onto “Fletcherism,” the doctrine that food should be chewed up to 100 times per minute, until it turned to liquid and the “food swallowed itself.” Any solid remains were spit out. The idea came from the self-taught nutritionist Horace Fletcher, nicknamed “The Great Masticator.”
Breatharianism is an old and new age idea that under the right conditions humans can live without eating physical food and instead live on pranic energy. An Australian woman calling herself Jasmuheen claimed to have eaten nothing for five years except fruit tea, sunlight and some chocolate biscuits. A documentary program monitored her for four days but stopped the show when she became severely dehydrated and confused. She blamed pollution.
In the werewolf diet, also known as the moon diet, the main rule is to do a 24-hour juice or water fast during the full and new moons. Up to 60 percent of an adult’s body is water. The moon exerts the same pull on you as it does the tides. This diet claims to use the moon’s phases to help flush the body.
The Web has aided the spread of countless dumb ideas. At the top would be the “cotton ball diet” where people (models are often blamed) dip cotton balls in juice and swallow them to feel full. Cotton is indigestible but most cotton balls are made of bleached polyester fiber, even worse. Besides malnutrition the practice can lead to blocked intestines, a life-threatening issue.
Another Internet fad is the baby food diet, where people replace meals with pureed baby food as a way to limit calories and control portions. As far as crash diets go, it’s going to get tedious but at least it’s food.