You probably already know that a balanced diet and exercise is the best way to shed pounds, but it’s safe to say we’d all like to take a few shortcuts when it comes to losing weight. You might think that skipping a run and simply trying one of these dangerous diets is the way to do it, but you’ll want to be careful before going to too many extremes to lose those 10, 20, or 30 pounds. You know the variation of the saying, “If it’s crazy enough, it just might work!”? In the case of most diets, “crazy” is what you want to avoid at all costs.
A general rule of thumb is to avoid any diet crazes that become mini themes in comedies — like the detox cleanse and tapeworm methods Kelly Kapoor tries on The Office. And yet, plenty of people have tried both of those methods, and others that not only put you through mild torture, but can be dangerous to your health.
“People get so focused on weight loss they are willing to do unproven and potentially dangerous things that can backfire and cause serious health problems,” Dr. Michelle May, who teaches mindful eating, told WebMD. What’s more, these “diets” often cut out important nutrients your body needs, while not being all that effective over the long term. “Fad diets often do not include exercise, and they do not teach healthy lifestyle behaviors and therefore do not cause sustainable weight loss,” Nina Eng, chief clinical dietitian at Plainview Hospital in New York, told U.S. News & World Report.
In general, you shouldn’t cut calories to fewer than 1,200 per day, and you should be eating foods from all food groups in their appropriate portions. Cutting out one too many vices, like desserts, will help you reach your goals much faster than the “miracle” diet your aunt was telling you about at your most recent family gathering. Common sense should kick in and warn you these fad diets might not be a good idea, but in case you’re tempted to try them anyway, here are the risks of some of the most dangerous diet plans out there.