Weird Diets to Lose Weight. Do They Work?

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People embark on diets for all sorts of reason: most seek to lose weight, some want to be healthier or more environmentally friendly, while others have to eat in a certain way to match their lifestyle. Here are some curious diets that are well worth avoiding.


During the early 1900s, a man named Horace Fletcher found that chewing food thoroughly ensured it could be digested properly and helped minimize constipation. His recommendation was to chew each mouthful 32 times (this takes around 30seconds) and then tilt the head back and let food remnants slide down the throat. Anything that was too large to slip down had to be spat out, and Fletcher lost 40 pounds in four months on his new diet.


While most people would be keen to get a tapeworm out of their body, in the early 1900s jockeys would intentionally swallow tapeworms to help them slim down their figures. Other weight watchers followed suit, and shops sold tapeworm pills to eager customers. Amusingly, tapeworms are not proven to make the body they live inside lose weight, so it may have been for nothing.


It is claimed that a certain part of the outer ear contains a pressure point that is linked to appetite, and there are some dieters who get this section of their ear stapled to suppress their appetite and help them lose weight. This method was first recorded in the US in the 1970s and still used today. Staples are left in for up to 3 months.


This diet certainly couldn’t be branded “modern”: the Caveman (or paleolithic) diet involves reverting to the eating habits of the folk who lived around 10,000 years ago. Some scientists believe that the diet of the caveman is one to which humans are genetically better suited, thus a healthier way to eat. This diet involves eating fish, grain-fed meat, vegetables, fruit, fungi, roots, and nuts, and also advocates the avoidance of dairy products and grains.



French women’s magazine Grazia printed an article in February 2010 that encouraged women to cook and prepare their food, lay it out on the plate, lift it to their lips, and then, not eat it. The “air” diet was a way of fooling yourself into thinking you had eaten. The same issue also ran an article with a recipe for diet soup that contained nothing but water and salt.


Hollywood, as a hotbed of rich and famous women desperately trying to maintain their perfect figures, is where the baby food diet was circulating. This involves, as one would expect, eating nothing but baby food (e.g. mashed bananas, carrots), and actresses such as Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon claimed it was good for portion control.


During the 2008 Beijing Olympics when US swimming star Michael Phelps was sweeping the medal table, an article was released on what Phelps had to eat in order to sustain his weight and performance. Three sandwiches containing a fried egg, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, fried onions and mayonnaise; three chocolate chip pancakes; a five-egg omelette; three slices of French toast topped with sugar; and a bowl of porridge: that was just breakfast! Throughout the day he ate around 10,000 calories, nearly all of which were burnt off during his five hours of solid training.


Those watching their waistlines should be aware that some tasty local dishes are pretty loaded with calories (serving sizes shown are considered small-to-average).

Char kuay teow 300g:
331 calories (15g fat)

Tandoori chicken leg 200g:
297 calories (17g fat)

Nasi lemak, 230g: 389.5 calories
(13g fat)


Roti canai, 95g: 301.5 calories
(10.3g fat)

Fried rice, 330g: 637.9 calories
(25g fat)

Teh tarik, 1 cup: 80:8 calories
(1.4g fat)

Cendol, 1 cup: 600 calories
(15.4g fat)

Taken from the database on

What is the weirdest diet you’ve tried that did nothing for your waist line?

Source: The Expat August 2012

Read more: Five Fun Activities in KL that Burn Calories

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