Poll: What's the Worst Diet Advice You Ever Heard?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
5/2/2013 6:00 AM   :  644 comments   :  70,512 Views

See More: weight loss, poll,
We subscribe to a half-dozen health and fitness magazines, and most of the editors here receive daily and weekly email newsletters from dozens of healthy living sites. We walk the walk and talk the talk when it comes to health.

Whether it's celebrity interviews and workout secrets or the latest health news, we love finding stories to share with you.

Sometimes though, we're surprised by what we read. There's some plain old bad advice out there! Some of what we read really makes us want to scream!

The worst I've seen lately: Eat frozen peas and corn for a tasty, fiber-filled snack. I won't name names, but a popular magazine suggested that eating frozen veggies was a way to satisfy a craving. For what? Who craves frozen vegetables--still frozen?

They said: "The high-fiber and low-calorie-density combination means they're filling and satisfying, and the frozen part makes them interesting. They're firm, but not rock hard, and they melt in your mouth. "

Seems a little odd to me. Now I want to know: What's the worst diet advice you've ever heard?

Let's not incriminate the guilty parties, but share the details. Was it a magazine, a doctor, a friend? Did you hear about it on TV, read it in the newspaper, or find it on a blog? Dish the dirt on dumb diet directions!

Share yours in the comments below. Here's another one: A famous trainer once said that women should never lift anything heavier than three pounds--even though she said her client's main workout was lifting her baby (who weighed much more than that)!

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  • 644
    There are too many to count and some come from here sadly. Gluten free for those without gluten issues because it is " healthier" is one, going super low carb to put the body in a constant state of ketosis. Another is super low calorie, fasting on and off for long periods and going very high in fat, because bacon, fried in butter with 6 eggs is oh so healthy. - 10/28/2015   3:02:20 PM
  • 643
    Having read many of these comments, I'm amazed at how much of the horrible advice comes from people putting too much stock in weight as the primary measure of success and health. Some of the skinniest people I've known were also the most unhealthy. Every year at work we have a health assessment and my blood pressure and cholesterol are always substantially better than that of many people who literally weigh half as much as I do.

    Obviously the scale reading is important, but it's one small piece of the complete puzzle of health, and if it is all you focus on it's like throwing all the other pieces of a puzzle away, putting that one corner piece on the table, and saying "There, I finished the puzzle!"

    May not be a perfect metaphor, but you get the drift.

    I'm sure I've been given plenty of bad advice over the years, but honestly if it's not "eat fewer calories than your body naturally uses, eat better quality foods, and try to get off your butt more often" I tend to just let it go in one ear and out the other. - 9/2/2015   11:02:23 AM
    I was told the best way to get weight off was HGH. The woman who told me about the injections was in hospital 6 month later with kidney failure and some her other organs were beginning to shut down. She did recover but she had to have a kidney transplant & her recovery was very slow.
    - 8/24/2015   9:55:40 AM
    There's a co-worker who swears by eliminating all carbs and religiously watching the scale; however, I know that when you eliminate a whole food group, that's no good. As a matter of fact, there are such carbs as "good" carbs. Anyway she counts on the scale religiously, but she looks flabby with "bat arms". I would rather eat carbs, exercise with cardio, weights and toning. You may weigh heavier, but look leaner and much more toned. - 8/19/2015   1:59:54 PM
  • 640
    I think we all have to have common sense when it comes to losing. I so agree with eating less food if you want to be 140 then eat as you are 140 and exercise. It works for me I stay at 1200 a day try my best not to go over 1500 and 1500 that's to much I consider. Mostly I am staying at 1200 or just under. I am a firm believer in that. I also cleared it with my doctor before I chose my calorie intake. To me I am being lied to when I am told if you exercise you need more food. Not true you will remain fat your putting on what you took off. Better to eat good food you can eat less. If I ate junk I would never stay full. We are lied to about fat free, sugar free unless diabetic and trans fat are the worst. To much fruit is not good for you. If diabetic they have to watch there fruit intake and carbs. I think the recommended carbs are to much. 50 to 100 grams of carbs is enough. anyways that is some of my plans and it works great. - 6/24/2015   5:29:56 AM
  • 639
    For me, it's the unsolicited diet advice. I've lost 20lbs, and am in the best shape I've been in for years. It never fails that someone will comment on my weight loss and follow it up with some diet advice. My Mom is the worst. She takes everything she hears on "The Doctors" as the gospel. - 6/23/2015   8:54:16 AM
    When a Weight Watchers leader told the group that the Zero Point Soup could be eaten in unlimited amounts. I was a former leader, and another lady who had been with WW for years, both of us attempted to correct her, but she was insistent that no it's unlimited. Reminding her that eventually calories add up, even with the soup, she could not be budged. That's the last meeting that I ever attended. - 6/23/2015   3:31:53 AM
  • 637
    I was told that I must give up gluten. They told me everyone is allergic to gluten - 6/22/2015   9:41:34 PM
  • 636
    Anyone remember fen-phen? Friend of a friend was on it back in the early 90's. She gained 5lbs every time she drank a cocktail. Last I heard, she was part of the class-action suit against the makers due to all the health problems she developed from it.

    Seriously, the Tapeworm Diet hasn't been banned?? Swallowing a tapeworm egg and having those parasites "absorb" your food is the stupidest thing ever. People die from it more often than not. And getting those things out is such a disgusting procedure, it's not even worth it.

    Tried the After Dark Diet as a teenager: drink water all day and nothing else. Then eat whatever you want for an hour's time after dark. My blood sugar was so bad, my mother (RN) was surprised that I didn't fall into a coma when I had to finally tell her about it after three days of being light-headed.

    Whatever happened to the Cat Tongue procedure? Sewing a piece of velco to the tongue, which makes eating painful, so you eat less. That was hilarious.

    The most jaw-dropping thing I've ever come across about dieting is from silly diet tip book written not too long ago: "Boil an egg. Swallow it whole. Make sure it gets stuck in your throat. Presto - you can't eat now." - 5/12/2015   3:38:25 PM
  • 635
    I just had a doctor recommend the General Motors Diet. A DOCTOR!!!!
    Day One All fruits except bananas.
    Day Two All vegetables.
    Day Three A mixture of fruits and vegetables of your choice.
    Day Four Bananas and milk.
    Day Five Today is feast day.
    Day Seven Today your food intake will consist of brown rice, fruit juices and all the vegetables you care to consume. - 4/30/2015   2:08:01 AM
  • 634
    When I was a child my mother put me on a grapefruit juice diet. I had to drink a glass after each meal because she said it burned fat. - 4/29/2015   5:55:59 PM
  • 633
    "Pie is GOOD for you! It's got fruit in it!" - My dear, well meaning, grandmother. :) Bless her heart. - 4/29/2015   5:50:11 PM
  • 632
    I had a manager at the Curves I went to years ago that every morning she would be snacking on pork rinds dipped in sour cream. Because that was healthier than potato chips. - 4/29/2015   4:10:41 PM
  • SOWEN8
    I think my worst ones were: "If you exercise your fat will turn hard and you will never loose weight" (from my mother-in-law). "Don't eat fruit, it's bad for you. You'd be better off drinking a soda" (from a so called fitness expert/trainer...hahahaha). "Stay away from all meat and drink protein shakes instead for each meal. Or you can eat 7 egg whites and a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast" (from the same fitness expert/trainer). - 4/29/2015   11:00:51 AM
  • 630
    My recent fave: a co-worker and her husband were both taking Adderall for weight loss; he was prescribed it by his doctor, and she was pilfering from her kid's supply.

    That was about a year ago - they're still fat. - 4/29/2015   9:15:10 AM
  • 629
    Eat submarine sandwiches from a nationally franchised chain and lose weight! - 4/14/2015   8:05:04 AM
  • 628
    Worst diet advice I ever was given: Eat 1000 calories a day of whatever food you want and you will lose weight. - 3/30/2015   4:39:25 PM
  • 627
    ive learned to take health advice from instagram "fitness coaches" with a grain of salt, but they inevitably pop up because i follow a lot of people that post amazing healthy recipes. one girl in particular i have a love/hate relationship with...in that i love the recipes she posts, but i hate her general attitude. i considered unfollowing due to her incredible rudeness to people asking very simple fitness-related questions, but the last straw was seeing her tell someone that they needed to stop eating so much fruit, it was super unhealthy, all that sugar was going to make them fat.


    and this is from someone who claims to have a degree in...i forget exactly what it is, but its related to dietetics. basically this apparently makes her the ONLY authority in meal plans and nutrition. AND SHES TELLING PEOPLE THAT FRUIT IS BAD FOR YOU.

    then on the other side of the spectrum, theres the girl that advocates eating 30 bananas a day, thousands of calories per day, and claims to rarely exercise, yet remains stick thin. OKAY, SURE.

    literally the only person i trust 100% for health advice is my mother. - 3/4/2015   7:31:19 PM
  • 626
    I have a friend that eats according to his blood type - the blood type that one has dictates the foods one should eat and the foods one should avoid altogether. - 2/26/2015   9:31:10 PM
  • 625
    Cocaine! - 2/26/2015   8:55:20 PM
  • 624
    worst advice on dieting for me is when someone says "just quit eating carbs".
    Carbs are very important in our body and we need to focus on eating the complex carbs, not refined type. People seem so uneducated when it comes to carbs. - 2/26/2015   5:52:27 PM
  • 623
    One with lots of food restrictions: good foods and bad foods (no carbs) and internally taking essential oils.
    Competiting as a team so you let everyone down if you eat any carbs.

    - 2/26/2015   1:32:07 PM
  • 622
    Oddly enough, I use frozen green beans all the time for something to munch on! - 2/26/2015   10:36:36 AM
    I don't know about losing weight with the frozen veggies thing, but it might be an extra, interesting way to get your veggie servings in! I know my family is a bit odd. My younger sisters will see if there are any frozen peas in the freezer first before reaching for popcorn as a movie snack! Sometimes, they just grab a head of lettuce, no dressing, and eat it while they read, watch a movie, or just as an after school snack! - 2/22/2015   6:42:37 PM
  • 620
    Atkins diet works for a while but whole grains aren't bad for you in moderation - 2/22/2015   4:39:44 PM
  • 619
    Pretty much anything that comes in a package and claims to help lose weight is going to be the cause of some major calamity in a few years. I love how people want so badly to take a pill and it will magically make you lose weight. I did that Metabolife back in the day. I drank coffee and Coca-Cola and hardly ate anything. The weight did drop of but I was a freaking nervous wreck. I felt like I was going to crawl right out of my own skin for weeks. I finally had to stop when I began to feel paranoid. - 2/22/2015   1:43:44 PM
  • 618
    My doctor, this month told me to eat a really big breakfast, a moderate lunch and a small dinner. She said don't eat after dinner. I am a Diabetic! - 2/18/2015   6:40:01 PM
  • 617
    Someone once to me that if you drink out of a straw you will get fat and gain weight. They also said that I you are slow you were going to be fat LOL! - 2/11/2015   11:21:48 AM
    For the squeamish, skip this comment. You have been warned.
    The absolute worst - and I mean this tops them all, gals and guys - was a site that recommended that to lose weight you should drink your own fresh urine. Gak, gak, gak. Exponentially gross. - 1/31/2015   9:29:34 PM
  • 615
    When I was in nursing school (late '80's) there were girls in my class who found a physician to prescribe Synthroid for them for the sole purpose of losing weight! I wasn't even an RN yet but I knew (and so should they!) that they'd be lucky if that didn't kill them in the end. INSANE. - 1/27/2015   10:01:12 AM
  • 614
    Any "diet" that has the word "fast" in it! Ummmm... we need to feed our bodies!!! I know that research shows that an occasional fast (as in a couple of times a year) can have health benefits, but a long term "fast" eating shakes or processed foods instead of real nutrient dense food strikes me as a terrible way to lose weight. Avoiding food will not help you in the long run. - 1/27/2015   8:27:48 AM
  • 613
    The worst? Don't change a thing. No changes to your diet or exercise. Just add Psyllium husks to your diet and the weight will just fall off.
    I suppose it might - as long as I want to spend my days on the toilet. - 1/26/2015   3:09:17 PM
  • 612
    Liquid meals. Honestly, people really think food loses calories if you run it through a processor?? - 1/24/2015   7:13:43 AM
    Raw food diet - anything as long as it hasn't been cooked - oh yum... potato starch...I can imagine it now! - 12/28/2014   8:17:31 PM
  • 610
    My mother is the worst about crash diets and she always took my sister and myself along for the ride. Here's just a couple
    1) Nothing but tuna, water and 5 crackers a day.
    2) Cabbage soup diet
    3) Under 1,000 calories a day
    4) Frozen meals for EVERY meal (no more than 900 calories that way)
    It was chaotic. - 11/5/2014   1:13:16 PM
  • 609
    Worst thing I've heard was eat only every other day. Nothing but water on the fasting days and WHATEVER YOU WANT on the non-fasting days. Crazy!!!! - 10/27/2014   2:57:56 PM
  • 608
    One diet my mom's friend started doing was where you could only drink water for the first couple of days and nothing else. That's really unhealthy. - 10/6/2014   8:20:37 AM
  • 607
    I've recently started bringing a week's worth of fruit with me to work on Mondays, and gradually eating my 5/day throughout the week. One of my coworkers noticed how many clementines I had on my shelf and proceeded to lecture me on "the dangers of eating too many oranges (and other citrus)". She said they made her break out in welts. Even if I ate a whole bag of clementines (which I have done over the space of 3 days), I don't have that reaction...which means she's probably allergic to citrus and should avoid it anyway. Of course I ignored pretty much every word she said. - 9/23/2014   1:17:10 PM
  • 606
    Ok, so I know that indiscriminately and blindly noshing on frozen peas or corn without abandon can be as bad as chips if not measuring out a portion first, but really? We are going to fail to mention this fact in the article?? Really? Substituting frozen veggies as a snack instead of chips or sweets is smart diet advice in my book as long as it is in moderation... like anything else.

    My craziest diet advice was a diet plan that I was on that a coworker had me do. It was through a "center" and it was a super low carb diet that was crazy restrictive in which you went into ketosis and had to pee on a stick, drink a gallon of water a day, and get a B vitamin shot twice weekly. I lost like 60# in 3 months but it was horrid. The diuretic component in the shots gave me horrid leg cramps, possibly are why I now have a heart murmur years later, and when I gained the weight back it came back in spades.

    I also am constantly annoyed when people ask me how I am currently losing weight (by healthy clean eating in moderation and counting calories, I also can't eat FODMAPs and am severely lactose intolerant) and when I give them the brief rundown of my moderate plan, they have to tell me what I am doing wrong, then tell me what they are doing and how I have to do it like them. While everyone has their own tips and tricks, some people have horrible diets! as a CNA and nursing student, I am fully versed on basic nutrition and know that eating only lettuce and only 20 grams protein a day is not healthy (or similar crazy plans). While I respect others diet advice and know that I just have to smile and nod, when I am asked to explain mine (and keep it short and sweet at first) why can't others learn to just smile and nod in return and understand that I did not ask for their advice and that if I am losing 3-5 pounds a week, I must not be in need of tips??? lol. - 9/21/2014   5:01:04 PM
  • 605
    Cabbage soup diet! suggested by a friend, who received the diet from her doctor. - 9/21/2014   3:02:47 PM
  • 604
    I had a manager once, a very thin man, who told all of the girls who worked for him, very loudly, that the best way to keep "skinny" (his word for optimal fitness) was to eat only once per day. He says, "You can eat whatever you want, but only once per day." His normal diet: A Supersized McMeal on his way to work. - 8/21/2014   3:12:29 PM
  • 603
    Eat. 1,000 calories a day--or less - 8/7/2014   6:32:26 AM
    Worst diet advice I've heard was all from an in-law. My husband is slowly getting back to a healthy weight and one of the things he's doing is he stopped drinking sodas. Instead he drinks sparkling water. One of his relatives told him to stop drinking sparkling water and unsweetened tea and drink diet sodas. Because "It says diet so that means it make you lose weight faster"
    Other advice from this genius includes "Skinny french fries aren't fattening" and that the 'right' kinds of exercise can make a 30 year old man grow taller. Not look taller, but actually grow taller. And that hypoglycemia can be cured by fasting. Seriously scary, bad, advice. - 8/5/2014   9:18:55 PM
    I was scoffed at by a physician when I stated I ran a half marathon. "You're only doing a half?" Like it wasn't an accomplishment in itself. Granted, I have run full marathon's before, but I was just getting back into running so a half was a major accomplishment! - 8/5/2014   8:30:09 AM
  • 600
    To use laxatives and diuretics - 8/1/2014   4:39:51 PM
  • 599
    My GP told me I would have to choose between controlling my hypoglycemia or losing weight -- that I can't do both! - 8/1/2014   4:31:09 AM
  • 598
    To do a colon cleanse so you can lose weight rapidly...because we are all full of poop - 7/24/2014   2:35:07 PM
  • 597
    I was told not to work out because muscle weighs more than fat and I would in fact gain weight rather than lose it.
    Now that's just plain old crazy! - 7/1/2014   7:34:14 PM
  • 596
    eat less-a doctor who I didnt even go to for a weight issue told me "you need to eat less" I was already only eating one meal a day! then a trainer at the gym told me to graze like a gazelle and not eat just one large meal like a lion - 7/1/2014   4:19:46 PM
  • 595
    To substitute all real foods with fake meal-substitutes. Gosh, that' s one of the worst things you can do to your body. - 7/1/2014   2:39:55 PM

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