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Warning: 10 extreme diets that can kill you
10 outrageous diets still being practiced around the world.

There is increasing pressure to be thin in today’s world and many find it hard to exercise and eat healthy.

Are some of us just lazy when it comes to exercising, or are we too impatient to see the results?

That’s when we turn towards diets that promise you quick and easy results, sometimes with deadly consequences.

Speaking to Emirates 24|7, Rashi Chowdhary, Nutrition & Inch loss expert, believes fad diets can never become our lifestyle.

“They have a negative impact on us mentally as well. “Most people end up feeling miserable without carbohydrates for over four-five days.

“The craving always comes back with a vengeance and you'll see people gorging on the wrong kind of carbs like cakes and sweets and at this point it's not really about people's will power.”

Emirates 24|7 has drawn up a list of some of the most extreme diets out there.

Tapeworm diet

The tapeworm diet involves dieters taking a pill that when ingested grows a tapeworm inside the stomach.

The tapeworm diet is considered extremely dangerous because not only does the parasite eat their food, but it also consumes the nutrients their body needs.

More importantly, the tapeworm does not necessarily stay in the stomach. Besides abdominal pains and headaches, the tapeworm can go anywhere in the body and can even end up in the brain, which can be fatal.

Users are supposed to take medicine to kill the tapeworm once they’re ready, but if unchecked the parasite could grow 20- to 30-feet long.

Master cleanse

The Master Cleanse (aka the Lemon Cleanse and the Maple Syrup Diet) is a ten-day programme that helps cleanse and detoxify your body, whilst encouraging tissue growth.

During these 10 days, nothing is consumed except for lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper, herbal laxative tea twice a day and four cups of salt water each morning.

However, in the long term the diet could lead to weight gain, weakened immune system and heart and kidney problems.

Singer Beyonce Knowles is famously believed followed this diet to prepare for her acting role in ‘Dreamgirls’ and lost 9kg in two weeks.

The Prolinn diet

This one is not for the squeamish. The Prolinn Diet (aka The Last Chance Diet) involves dieters not eating anything, but one drink per day that is made up of rejected animal parts taken from the slaughterhouse, which includes horns, tendons and hooves.

During the 1970s, two to four million people went on the Prolinn Diet. Shockingly, 58 per cent of these Prolinn dieters suffered from heart attacks whilst on it.

The drink itself may not have been the cause of these heart attacks, but starving led to terrible health problems and which could have been the reason why so many suffered with heart problems.

Breatharian diet

Many skeptics are in debate about whether this diet is one of the dumbest things to come from the New Age Movement, or if it's one of the craziest.

Followers of the Breatharian Diet (similar to the Air Diet) believe they do not need to consume food or drink because they can survive on air and sunlight alone.

They pretend to eat the food on the plate in front of them and fill up by gulping air.

The one thing that all skeptics will agree upon is that it is definitely one of the most dangerous as all life forms on this planet require at the very least water and nutrients in order to live.

Ketogenic enteral nutrition diet

A favourite among models, this lose-weight-quick fad diet involves 10 days of having liquid formula of protein and nutrients dripped directly into your stomach via a plastic tube up your nose.

An electric pump sends two litres of formula for over 24 hours.

Besides having a nasogastric tube inserted into the nose, and the lack of fiber in this diet, the Nutrition & Inch loss expert explains the main problem with ketogenic diets.

“Prolonged constipation, mood swings, and overload of protein for your kidneys and liver and sometimes even increase in acid levels in the body.”

With ketogenic diets you might lose mainly fat, at least initially, but when you "resume" eating normally, the weight will always come back.”

IV drip diet

This diet involves a cocktail typically including vitamins B and C, calcium and magnesium, that is fed into the body through an intravenous drip.

It aims to provide an energy boost for people who are run down.

The side-effects include dizziness, infection, inflammation of the veins and anaphylactic shock.

Alcorexia /Drunkorexia diet

This diet involves a heavy restriction of calorie intake during the week so dieters can ‘bank’ their calories to binge on beverages.

On a very low-calorie diet, you could bank 10,500 calories a week for your favourite beverage. This amounts to 131 glasses of grape beverage.

Many top models are said to follow this diet.

The downside is that followers will not be getting the calories, vitamins and nutrients their body needs to survive and function, resulting in beverage-poisoning or death.

The cigarette diet

Also considered to be harmful, cigarette manufacturers promoted their weight-loss benefits. In the 1920s, before the dangers of smoking were discovered, marketing campaigns showcased cigarettes as having no calories and nicotine as a stimulant, so dieters were encouraged to light up rather than eat, to see some weight loss.

But the side effects of smoking, as we know now, are heart disease and lung cancer, among the many.

The hCG diet

The hCG diet (also known as The Weight Loss Cure) involves following a 500-calorie-a-day diet and getting daily injections of the hormone human choriogonadotropin (hCG), which is produced during early pregnancy.

Although it does promote weight loss because you’re eating so little, there is no evidence that the hormone injections themselves promote weight loss and, in some people, they can be dangerous, causing blood clots, depression, and headaches.

Cotton ball diet

Hard to imagine people eating cotton balls to help them lose weight but according to some, it was believed that eating cotton balls could suppress your appetite, since apparently they are low in calories, but high in fibre.

The side effect? Since cotton balls are known to be very absorbent, and fluffy, they can clog up your digestive system.


This is only a list of 10 extreme diets that have been showcased while there are still many others out there.

As technology advances there are new sophisticated diets being developed into a new fad.

Whatever happened to the idea of having a nutritious home-cooked meal?

We need to get back to our roots and eat real food,” continues Rashi Chowdhary, “Everything we eat these days is full of chemical calories, we do not want to remove time to exercise or stay active, we are constantly looking for a quick fix! When it comes to health, a weight loss quick fix is never a good fix “