Avoiding Unsafe Food Fads

By Felicia Thompson, OPACE

Food fads, such as swallowing teaspoons full of dry cinnamon, drinking a mixture of lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper, and consuming months-old, unrefrigerated burgers from fast-food chains, can be dangerous to one’s health. Typically, weight loss is the reason for many fad diets. With YouTube, people around the world can easily find out about and, unfortunately, try these fads.

The most current trend seems to be eating “high meat,” which is raw, rotten, grayish beef or chicken that has been stored in jars from weeks to years. Some say they have experienced “explosive incontinence” after consuming this colorless, likely stinky, inedible item. The fad comes from the notion of “primal eating,” consuming foods (e.g., meat, vegetables, eggs, healthy fats, nuts/seeds and fruit) like our earliest ancestors – cave people. Perhaps the effort it took to hunt game and the lack of refrigeration during the Paleolithic era led to eating meat that wasn’t the freshest quality. Today, however, we don’t have to eat that way and doctors do not recommend it. They warn that this latest trend could cause stomach bugs and serious foodborne illnesses caused by certain types of bacteria, such as SalmonellaListeria and E. coli.

Other Food Fads

The Military Diet, also called the Hot Dog Diet, involves eating, well, hot dogs, but also just tuna, to lose weight. This might make you crave baseball games and the sea but, as with all diet fads, it has no medical basis, so don’t try it.

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The “blood type diet,” revolves around a person’s blood type and the consumption of certain food groups. This can be dangerous because this diet is restrictive, and a healthy diet requires a variety of foods sources. Besides, there isn’t scientific proof that blood type eating affects weight loss.

Then, there’s the “tapeworm diet,” which is a terrible idea, but some people still try it. This dangerous weight-loss tactic has been around for decades. Dieters ingest eggs of the dangerous parasite, let the tapeworm attach itself to their intestines so it can eat the food the person consumes and, after weight loss, seek a doctor’s care to prescribe anti-worm medication. But some tapeworm eggs can migrate to various parts of the body, including the eyes and brain, or cause other potentially life-threatening problems.

Avoid the dangerous food fads and diets and stay healthy with daily exercise, drinking plenty of water, and consuming a balanced diet of safe and nutritious foods. Read more on the Dietary Guideline for Americans webpage.

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