The term 'fad diet' might sound like a modern invention, but in actual fact we've been doing bonkers things to lose weight for centuries.
Ingesting parasites, knocking back sleeping pills or quaffing too much booze might come with an obvious health warning.
But with endorsements from celebrities - and even kings back in the day - these eating plans are proof that some will try anything once in the pursuit of a miracle cure for being overweight.
Here's some of the most puzzling examples:
The Tapeworm Diet
From the 1900s until the 1920s, this fad diet was actually quite popular. The diet involved eating tapeworm eggs sold inside a pill. The worm was apparently scoffed in the hope that it would eat some of the food in your stomach before you digested it, thus ensuring you're consuming fewer calories than you normally would. Of course, tapeworms are renowned as a scourge in the third world and cause stomach pains, diarrhoea and even brain problems. It's really not one I'd recommend...
The Sleeping Beauty Diet
A simple fact of life is that when you are asleep, you can't eat. Advocates of the Sleeping Beauty Diet take sedatives to ensure they sleep for prolonged periods of time - often for up to a week. Of course, they lose weight. When you're unconscious you can't find your way to the biscuit tin. But on the downside there is also a high chance of developing a drug addiction and you also wake up starving, meaning you gorge and almost instantaneously put the weight you've just shed back on.
The Hallelujah Diet
God said 'I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.' Dieters said, 'This is a sure fire way to lose weight' and followed this extreme version of a vegan, raw food-based eating plan involving only food with seeds. Unfortunately, it doesn't meet all nutritional requirements and so involves the purchasing of expensive supplements. Raw food diets can also lead to low levels of vitamin B12, vitamin D, and calcium. Meanwhile because there's no wiggle room for eating sweets or drinking alcohol, it's a restrictive diet you might struggle to stick to.
The Shangri-La Diet
This 'science' backed diet, pushed by motivational speakers and some authors who appeared out of the woodwork, became very popular in the mid 2000s and is a method of controlling cravings and reducing your calorie intake, while still apparently letting you eat what you like. You do, however, have to stomach drinking olive oil! The diet claims there's a link between food flavours and calorie intake. And so the plan attempts to break that mental connection between nice tastes and food by encouraging you to drink a mix of water, sugar and olive oil - containing roughly 100-400 calories - between meals to suppress the appetite. While some swear by the method, including a whole host of celebrities, there's currently no hard evidence that it works, as it flourishes by word of mouth instead of 'peer review' studies.
The Alcohol Diet
We've all come across the comic 'Gin Diet', with its mantra 'I started a gin diet five days ago; I've lost two days'. However, once upon a time an alcohol only diet was seen as a certain way to lose weight. The diet was even purportedly used by William the Conqueror around 1086, though not to long term success ...as he died overweight! There's always the liver failure to think about as well.
More:Uk Diet And Fitness
Suggested For You
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements. Learn more