6 dangerous fad diets you should never try

While many fad diets are criticized by weight loss experts, the diets listed below aren't just unhealthy – they're dangerous. If you want to lose a few kilograms, skip these 6 fad diets and choose a healthier approach.

6 dangerous fad diets you should never try

1. Cotton ball diet

Rumoured to be a favourite of models, this diet requires its followers to swallow cotton balls. The cotton balls take up room in the stomach, making the dieter feel full. However, this diet can lead to a bowel obstruction that would require surgery to remove. There's also a risk of choking when swallowing the cotton balls. Many medical professionals believe the cotton ball diet is a form of disordered eating.

2. Breatharian diet

The breatharian diet posits that people can live on only sunlight and air, and do not need to eat to survive. Instead of consuming food and water, breatharians believe that they can be sustained by a life force. People who follow the breatharian diet risk dehydration and malnutrition, and indeed some devotees of this diet have died from dehydration and starvation.

3. Tapeworm diet

Tapeworm dieters swallow a pill that contains the parasite to lose weight. Once they've lost enough weight, they then take a pill that kills the tapeworm. Unfortunately, the tapeworm diet can lead to malnutrition, vitamin deficiencies and blocked intestines. In addition, some types of tapeworms can cause a disease that causes seizures and sometimes death.

4. Feeding tube diet

Made popular by brides-to-be, this diet relies on an 800 calorie mixture of proteins, fats and nutrients delivered by a feeding tube and is used by some to slim down in time for a big event. Critics of this diet note that it can cause dangerous electrolyte imbalances. Trying this diet can put you at risk for a kidney infection, lung infection or damage to the tissues of the throat.

5. Master Cleanse

By drinking a mixture of lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water, Master Cleanse devotees hope to shed toxins and plenty of weight. In some cases, followers of this diet are encouraged to consume only this spicy lemonade for 10 to 40 days. People who try this diet run the risk of malnutrition and unsafe blood sugar levels. Plus, they're burning valuable muscle mass, which will make it difficult to maintain any weight loss.

6. Red Bull diet

Traced to a woman in New Zealand, the Red Bull diet recommends that dieters consume over a dozen of the energy drinks a day and little additional food. While this diet is similar to many low calorie juice diets, the enormous amount of caffeine contained in Red Bull makes this diet even more dangerous. The original follower of this diet is reported to have lost 99 pounds, but she also had a heart attack. She continues to suffer from anxiety attacks and cramping.

Dangerous fad diets may yield short-term results, but they can also permanently damage your body. To ensure that you'll be able to enjoy the fruits of any weight reduction plan, consider sticking to an eating plan that involves a balanced diet and regular exercise.

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