Anyone who’s vaguely online knows that the Internet is a stunning achievement allowing billions of humans access to all sorts of information, from the latest news of the world, information on scientific and technological developments, online finance, or just the ability to stay connected with friends and family across the world. And we also know that the Internet is a great place to turn your brain into tapioca with mind melting misinformation, from bizarre 4Chan conspiracy theories to loud mouthed loonies yelling into a camera on YouTube.
And the same way someone can’t turn away from an impending trainwreck, I occasionally find myself unable to turn away from that shadier portion of cyberspace. I’m occasionally lured (usually by links on Twitter from people who I should ignore) into these neuron killing corners of the Interweb machine. Because even my selected amateur area of study, diet and fitness, has a dark side. Although not so dark as 4Chan conspiracies. Those usually involve Hitler and/or pedophiles. But it is dark in the sense that you walk away demoralized, realizing you may have vastly overestimated the average intelligence of the human race.
So, I’ve compiled a list of the dumbest diets I’ve found on the Internet. First, the Baby Food Diet. You read that right. There are a lot of things about today’s society that are infantilizing, but this one literally requires you to behave like an infant by consuming jars of baby food. Now, in fairness, it seems like it could work to help you lose weight. A jar of baby food only has 20 to 120 calories. And they tend to have various vitamins and minerals. But since you’re not eating a ton of protein and fiber, it’s hard to stay full. This can result in binging when the hunger gets to you. Also, it’s gross. And expensive, since baby food can be pricey.
Next up is the Military Diet. Which has nothing to do with the military. This involves eating simple and random things like a meal consisting of one cup of cheese, one egg, a few crackers, one cup of tuna, one banana, etc. This seems more like the “Guy Approaching Bankruptcy Diet” where you only have a loose assortment of things left in the pantry because you can’t afford groceries. Or it could be the “London Under Siege Diet”, because it reminds me of the rationing the UK had to put up with during the blitz, when they survived WWII on Spam and powdered eggs that we sent them. You’re welcome, limeys.
Another one is the Tapeworm Diet, where you literally eat a tapeworm. This basically proves how we live in a post scarcity world in the West. Because only someone who took food availability for granted would think this is a good idea. The idea is to eat a tapeworm in the hopes that it will eat the food in your stomach before you can digest it. So rather than just, say, eating less (or eating more high-volume, low-calorie foods), people continue to practice shameless gluttony and then put an animal in their bodies to eat away the excess.
It’s almost as dumb as Roman elites engorging themselves and then vomiting their meals up to start eating again (a literal thing that happened), except eating tapeworms is probably more dangerous. These things can get stuck in your digestive tract. Or migrate to other parts of your body. As a rule, if you notice people in less prosperous countries going out of their way to avoid something (like worms and parasites, since they can cause death and stuff), you should not eat it on purpose. Also, you should never eat something that considers you to be food, no matter how small. Unless it’s already dead.
One of the stranger things I found is the Cookie Diet. I seriously thought this one was a prank by 4Chan trolls. Apparently, some joker thought he would make special protein and fiber laden cookies to provide nutrition to the unwashed masses. So, in other words, completely ruining the whole point of cookies. If there’s no guilt (or taste) involved in eating the cookies, why bother? The idea behind this diet is to eat one of these cookies (which has been desecrated to the point of being little more than a protein bar) every couple of hours, then have one normal meal a day. According to what I’ve seen amongst the critic’s reviews, though, it’s not clear if this diet results in weight loss at all. It appears, like many fad diets, to only be effective at lining the pockets of quacks and charlatans.
But there are even stranger things on the Internet. Although I feel sort of stupid saying that, since nary a day goes past when I don’t find stranger things on the Internet. There are always stranger things on the Internet. The Chinese government has even found a way to fund their military industrial complex by introducing people to these stranger things. It’s called TikTok.
But I digress. One of those stranger things I’ve seen is the Master Cleanse. People seriously try to survive on water, lemon, syrup, and cayenne for a week. This might as well be called the “Leningrad Under Siege Diet”, where besieged Russians ate paste and other non-nutritious things so they could pretend to be full. This diet has very little in the way of calories or nutrition and seems like a waste of time. If you want to lose weight by barely even eating anything, you might as well just eat nothing and fast. Fasting isn’t just a recent fad. Fasting is something people have been doing for thousands of years, although not always voluntarily. And although many online fasters are often annoying and weird bro virtue signalers, they’re less annoying and weird than the Master Cleanse.
I also found references to the Cabbage Soup Diet. Which I’m pretty sure is the “Normal North Korean Diet” (unless you’re Kim Jong-Un), except that you can eat cabbage soup three times a day instead of three times every week or month or so as one does in any North Korean city or town not named Pyong Yang. And although cabbage, along with other leafy greens, is healthy, it’s not enough to keep most people going. Which explains why North Koreans are often emaciated. Except Kim Jong-Un, who, from the looks of him, eats all of the meat in the country himself. Fortunately, most of us live in a place where beef, chicken, pork, and other meats are readily available. As well as vegetables apart from mere cabbage. So do yourself a favor and pass on this one.
So those are the bad diets I found, and I advise passing on all of them. Given that many of these diets require you to take up habits of someone being invaded, someone living in an oppressive country, or someone living in a place where the food and water are full of all sorts of creepy-crawlies, none of these is a good idea. Here’s a crazy thought. Just get used to the fact that we increasingly live in a world where obesity is more likely to kill you than starvation. Food is plentiful, so you’re just going to have to develop habits that keep you thin.
The good news is that all of the necessary nutrition is available, so you probably won’t die of scurvy or any of the things people died of back when men wore wigs. But this also presents opportunity to eat entirely too much. But doing occasional dumb things which could qualify you for a Darwin award is not how to avoid eating too much. Take the time to actually figure out the types and quantities of food you need to stay healthy and then eat those things. And get off of your overly voluminous posterior and move around a bit. And stay out of the more absurd quarters of the Internet. Some information just makes you dumber.