Most people have tried a fad diet at some point in their life. Whether it’s to lose weight before a big event (hellloooo, high school reunion!), to feel better before a trip to the beach, or to detox after overdoing it during the holidays, a little restraint can do us all good occasionally.
Soon-to-be brides, on the other hand, are known to become obsessed with every detail of their upcoming wedding, most definitely including their own appearance and weight. The stakes are high: they’ll be wearing a form-fitting gown, and every moment of the event will be permanently chronicled in photographs. There is absolutely no wiggle room for a muffin top or a flabby upper arm.
But many brides take it too far, and embark on unrealistic and unhealthy weight-loss journeys. The New York Times has even dubbed this dangerous fad of crazy prenuptial dieting “the Bridal Hunger Games.”
From the infamous Master Cleanse to intravenous feeding tubes, read on for 20 of the most extreme wedding diets you’ve ever heard of.
Cotton ball diet
Feel full without the calories!
Does this sound too good to be true? It is. The so-called “cotton ball diet” involves eating cotton balls that have been dipped in juice.
Proponents say that they feel full after eating the cotton but don’t gain weight.
It doesn’t take an expert to recognize what a terrible and dangerous idea this diet is, but here’s input from one dietitian, Nina Eng: “This diet can be called the bleached, polyester fiber, chemical diet too, because that is what most cotton balls are made of, and that is what you will be eating. Besides causing malnutrition, because there are no nutrients in cotton balls, this diet could cause choking or may lead to an intestinal blockage or obstruction.”
Wear the white, don’t eat it, ladies.
Baby Food Diet
The Baby Food Diet was started by celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson and supposedly adhered to by Jennifer Aniston when she’s preparing for a new movie role. It’s a simple concept: replace one or two meals or snacks a day with baby food.
Hilarious: One of the diet’s rules is that you must limit yourself to 14 servings of baby food during these replacement meals. Only 14? Once I get started on that delicious and satisfying baby mash, I just can’t stop.
Following this ridiculous fad diet can result in nutritional imbalances and inadequate caloric intake. Brides, skip the baby food diet.
There’s a good chance your grandmother tried this one before her wedding, as it dates back to the early 1930s. The premise is simple: eat a grapefruit before consuming anything else (to cut your appetite), drink lots of water, cut out carbs, eat lean protein, and you’ll burn fat like crazy.
While some dietitians acknowledges that eating grapefruit, a diuretic food, can help shed water weight, it’s just not a feasible long-term meal plan.
Additionally, grapefruit interacts poorly with a variety of prescription medicines, which can make it a dangerous weight-loss choice. Drugs for blood pressure, anxiety, antihistamines, and cholesterol-lowering drugs can all have their effectiveness cut when combined with grapefruit.
By fad diet standards, this one is relatively harmless. Users simply replace solid food with six daily bottles of special juice, for three days. The Blueprint website says that “This is a nutritional cleanse designed to give your digestive system a rest and therefore allow your body to eliminate toxins
But there are many critics of juice cleanses. Dietician Andy Bellatti says that they are “completely unnecessary,” and “accomplish nothing. ” Eating real, healthy, food is a much better bet for long-term weight loss.
Super rude: the Blueprint website suggests its program as “a cleanse for your whole bridal party.” How about we let the bridesmaids make their own health decisions, mmmkay?
This one isn’t an eating plan, but it is a method lots of brides have tried in their efforts to shed pounds before the wedding.
Ear stapling involves having surgical staples placed on specific pressure points in the ear, similar to acupuncture, and is claimed to help suppress the appetite. However, there is absolutely no scientific evidence that the procedure is effective for weight loss. A healthy diet and exercise are the better choice here.
Here’s another fad diet that’s a hit with brides.
The five-bite diet is said to promote weight loss because its followers are only allowed to eat five bites of food at mealtimes. Breakfast is avoided altogether, and five bites each are allowed for lunch and dinner. Unlimited beverages are allowed, as long as they’re calorie-free.
This one is nicknamed the “eating disorder diet” for a reason. Clearly, starvation isn’t the way to establish a lifelong healthy weight.
We’re not making this up, folks. The Werewolf Diet, also known as the “lunar diet” or “moon diet,” involves fasting according to certain lunar phases. Demi Moore and Madonna have publicly praised the eating plan.
The diet’s primary rule is that followers fast (only consuming water or juice) during the full moon and new moon phases. There’s also an extended moon diet plan that covers all phases of the moon, you could lose even more weight.
There is no word on whether Werewolf brides wind up howling at the moon on their wedding nights.
Blood type diet
Blood type diets are fad diets advocated by several different authors. The basic premise is that there is a chemical reaction between your blood and the foods you eat, so certain blood types should eat certain foods.
But just as with all fad diets, this one has not been proven effective for weight loss. It’s also very restrictive and can be expensive.
Save those extra food dollars for your receptions, ladies.
A raw food diet consists of fresh, unrefined, plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens. Proponents of such a diet are called “raw fooders” or “raw vegans.”
However, this diet can lead to thyroid and digestive problems. Additionally, the body must break down vegetable fibers in order to use their precious nutrients, so a raw diet causes poor nutrient absorption.
The Atkins diet advises people to cut carbs and eat lots of proteins. The problem is that the diet says that one doesn’t need to avoid fatty cuts of meat or trim off excess fat.
So many brides, in a misguided attempt at weight loss, end up eating large quantities of fatty, artery-clogging proteins such as bacon. This goes directly against the dietary recommendations of the American Heart Association, the National Cholesterol Education Program, and the American Cancer Society. Short-term weight loss is not worth permanent health problems.
The Master Cleanse became famous because many celebs, including Gwenyth Paltrow, Beyoncé, Jared Leto, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, are said to be fans.
Also known as the “Lemonade Diet,” this cleanse involves drinking a mixture of lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple syrup elixir for 7-10 days. The diet is supplemented with herbal laxative tea, and solid foods are to be avoided.
Although the cleanse is sure to cause rapid weight loss (as it basically starves dieters), it doesn’t provide any nutrients or protein. Not healthy!
hCG (pregnancy hormone) diet
Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a hormone the body produces during pregnancy to help the baby grow. In recent years, however, hCG has become the unlikely focus of a diet trend that uses drops, shots, or pills of the hormone to suppress appetite and cause weight loss.
But the truth is that this diet doesn’t work. Any weight loss is likely due to a placebo effect. Doctors say it doesn’t work, and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) calls hCG supplements illegal and fraudulent.
Cabbage soup Diet
Here’s another fad diet that appeals to many brides for the quick results it promises: the Cabbage Soup Diet.
Those who are desperate enough to try the dubious-sounding plan are told to eat nothing but cabbage soup for a week. Some days allow for the addition of bananas or chicken, but the bulk of calories consumed should be from cabbage soup — that horrible, stinky stuff.
No bride should walk down the aisle smelling like cabbage, sorry.
This crazy diet is said to have been a favorite of Elvis Presley. Here’s the rundown: dieters are put under heavy sedation for several days. While they are sedated, they can’t consume calories, so their body is forced to burn calories that has already stored up.
However, multiple studies have shown a correlation between a lack of sleep and obesity.
Not to mention, a bride has too much planning to do. No time for all that sleep!
Acai Berry Diet
An increasing number of brides are turning to this fad diet because in addition to weight loss, it promises anti-aging and beautifying benefits. Followers of this plan are told to consume large quantities of acai supplements every day.
But when it comes to weight loss this diet is full of empty hype, with no science or evidence to back it. Even master dieter Oprah Winfrey has publicly disassociated herself with acai products that claim to cause weight loss.
The Dukan Diet is yet another low-carb, high protein weight loss plan. Kate Middleton’s mother, Jennifer Lopez, and Gisele Bündchen are said to be fans. Many brides turn to Dukan before their big day.
However, the plan is considered dangerous by many health experts. It’s too extreme, and encourages dieters to consume 0% fat dairy products and artificial sweeteners. These highly processed and pasteurized zero fat dairy products have no natural nutritional value, and artificial sweeteners are known to be toxic to humans.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
This diet is definitely not for the squeamish.
Reports of the “tapeworm approach” to weight loss date back to the early 1900s. Back then, dieters would ingest tapeworm cyst pills. The tapeworms would hatch and grow inside their intestines, eating all food products until the dieter’s goal weight was reached.
What to do with the tapeworm after that? A simple anti-parasite pill would supposedly rid the bride-to-be of the worm before her big day.
Luckily, this fad diet seems to have lost steam over the years, but still pops up every now and then. A 2013 case prompted one doctor to declare: “Ingesting tapeworms is extremely risky and can cause a wide range of undesirable side effects, including rare deaths. Those desiring to lose weight are advised to stick with proven weight loss methods; consuming fewer calories and increasing physical activity.”
The Cookie Diet is a real thing, and its creator Dr. Sanford Siegel claims that he’s helped 500,000 people lose weight. The method: “You eat nine specially-formulated cookies (just 60 calories each) throughout the day to keep hunger away, plus a substantial 500 to 700 calorie meal. It all adds up to 1,000 to 1,200 daily calories and, at that calorie level, there are NO failures. Everyone loses weight.”
Although these type of quick-fixes are very popular among brides, diets below 1,000 calories can be extremely dangerous and lead to conditions such as gallstones, heart palpitations, dizziness, potassium deficiency, and weakened kidney function.
4-Hour Body diet
This diet promises that its followers can drop 20 pounds in 30 days with minimal exercise. Many brides are looking for just this type of rapid (and easy) weight loss.
The plan banishes all carbs, fruits, and dairy, and users are advised to eat the same small meal over and over. Exercise is only for 10 minutes, three times per week (or about four hours over the month, hence “4-hour body”).
Although many have claimed success with the diet, results are not long-term and weight tends to come back as soon as normal eating resumes (ie, during the honeymoon). This plan just isn’t sustainable for most people.
The K-E Diet bills itself as “a scientifically proven theory that will quickly jumpstart your weight loss program.”
What it really is a feeding tube. The kind that people who are too ill to eat must use.
This “diet” uses a thin tube that goes into one nostril, down the esophagus, and through the stomach into the small intestine. Users are fed a steady drip of protein, fat, and water totaling roughly 800 calories per day. For 10 entire days.
Here’s what Dr. Andrew Weil, nutritionist and holistic health guru, has to say about the K-E diet fad:
“You probably wouldn’t be thrilled if you needed a nasogastric tube while hospitalized for a serious medical problem. It’s not comfortable, and doctors don’t resort to it if a patient can eat. Even in the hospital, being on a feeding tube is risky and can lead to aspiration pneumonia.
Does it work? If you cut your intake to as little as an ill-advised 800 calories per day, you will lose weight, but doing it with the aid of a nasogastric tube is no more effective than any other very-low-calorie diet and a lot more unpleasant.
It is appalling that any member of the medical profession would promote this craziness…. Moreover, the brides who sign up for this one undoubtedly will gain back every ounce lost and probably more, once they go back to eating normally.”
He’s not mincing words. Brides, please lose your extra weight the sensible way. Why risk missing out on your big day by jeopardizing your health?