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


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  670 comments   :  86,206 Views

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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  • 670
    Fat flushing pills! Is that even a thing? A few years back there was a pill with a disclaimer about bowel leakage. I'm thinking that might make things awkward. - 9/4/2017   10:12:28 PM
  • 669
    Hot dog & sauerkraut diet and the diet soda & Ice cream diet. - 9/4/2017   10:58:33 AM
  • 668
    never eat under 1600 calories per day - 6/20/2017   7:13:48 AM
  • 667
    Any cleanse/detox diet - absolute nonsense. - 4/22/2017   1:22:57 PM
  • 666
    Calories dont count when you are on vacation. Serious conversation. - 3/26/2017   5:44:04 PM
  • 665
    The cabbage soup diet - my husband found me in the bathroom after I got really sick and fainted afterwards. I was like 21 and apparently very stupid, hoping to lose weight in no time with no-commitment. Well. I'm a bit older now and I know: everything in moderation! - 12/8/2016   6:38:20 AM
  • 664
    Master cleanse or any detox. - 12/1/2016   2:55:59 PM
  • 663
    Bone broth is healthy for babies while formula or breast milk is not. - 12/1/2016   2:36:39 PM
  • 662
    Detox / cleanse diets to "clean" the blood or rid the system of toxins. We have an organ that does that - the liver. - 12/1/2016   2:30:33 PM
  • 661
    Fat free food. First of, it's filled with artificial crap that's terrible for health and secondly, they take away the fat but to keep a decent flavour and texture they fill it with sugars, so yeii. You load up with artificial sugary crap that leaves you hungry and craving for more and then you wonder why you struggle with weight loss and hunger :/ A lot of dietitians recomend fat free/low food and franken-food. If we stick with what nature gave us, we'll be fine. - 12/1/2016   12:02:11 PM
  • 660
    I read about the baby food diet. You nothing but baby food. INSANITY!! - 11/30/2016   9:05:31 PM
  • COBRIEN2213
    I've heard from 'experts' to avoid all fruit because of the sugar. Insane. - 11/30/2016   10:54:41 AM
  • 658
    Eat less than 1000 calories a day. After reading about how metabolism adjusts to the amount of food we eat, then when you go back to eating a normal diet you run the risk of adding additional pounds OVER what you lost...no way. - 11/24/2016   5:28:19 AM
  • 657
    Diet plans where you can't have bananas, black beans, carrots etc because they have too many sugars or carbs. Too extreme (and borderline nonsense) for me. - 9/19/2016   2:22:28 PM
  • 656
    Smoking a cigarette will curb the appetite. LOL - 9/16/2016   9:43:36 PM
  • 655
    I think frozen veggies are yum, esp peas. What's interesting is that I prefer them frozen to cooked, because they can be come mushy. Just saying. Not sure about it as diet advice, just tastes good. - 8/1/2016   11:43:23 PM
  • 654
    The worst advice was very general in my mind it was to go on a diet at all instead of making a life style change. - 6/8/2016   5:56:31 AM
    The worst advice has been to totally avoid or eliminate any food with carbs. Darn near impossible and not something this girl can live with on a daily basis! I prefer to make sensible, informed choices about what I eat. Combined with an active lifestyle, the results are better than any fad diet! - 6/3/2016   1:20:00 PM
  • 652
    My mother's idea was to take me to the Rainbow doctor; he passed out different color pills, mostly speed and diuretics. 30# in thirty days and gain it back in 2-3 weeks. I tried an ice cream diet once...3x/day for three days...couldn't wait to eat a salad. - 5/12/2016   2:39:49 PM
  • REMIS72
    From a physician: do NOT exceed 1200 kcal daily,
    Ibasked: but i workout daily, 40-60 min zumba or weight lifting, should i not eat more on days With exercise?

    No, dont exceed 1200 kcals...
    You can imagine how long it worked... Additionally my fitness level dropped and i am still not back to where i was back then...

    - 5/12/2016   1:05:43 PM
  • 650
    Gee, I've seen some on this site:
    Eat the miracle food du jour! (Quinoa, kale, acai, pomegranate, etc)
    Throw the scale away!
    Go gluten free!
    Learn to Love Yourself at Any Size!

    I guess it's the Weight Watchers philosophy, right? Tell people the wrong thing, and they'll have to keep coming back because they'll stay fat!
    - 5/12/2016   10:50:43 AM
  • 649
    Worst Advice: Weigh Daily.
    Best Advice: Join Spark People! - 3/2/2016   11:56:19 AM
  • 648
    The diet I was on that called for Vienna sausages and pork rinds was really bad. I lost 10 lbs the first week, and gained from the second week on. Colon cleanses boggle my mind as to why someone would do it, especially high colonics. Our intestines are self-cleaning organs. - 2/22/2016   6:36:37 AM
  • SHAHAI16
    Whoever had the idea for the Master Cleanse...I had a co-worker convince me to try it when I desperately needed to lose weight. I made it through 1 day of misery. Every time I drank it, I'd throw it right back up and I almost passed out. Also had a NP tell me I could eat as few as 800 calories a day, while still exercising daily. Also tried Colon Cleanse (ugh), appetite suppressants, caffeine/anti-bloat pills. Can't think of what else. - 2/3/2016   11:46:08 PM
  • 646
    I have a friend who swears by the HCG diet... you eat 500 calories/day, take these "hcg" drops with each meal, and boom the weight falls off! Sadly, I tried it... I lost 20 pounds in 2 weeks, at least 1 lb/day, before it stopped working and I couldn't take the hunger anymore. Did the weight come back? You betcha, more stubborn than ever. - 2/3/2016   4:36:31 PM
  • 645
    To not track because that's not really living life. I struggle with anorexia. I NEED to track to make sure I'm getting enough calories and nutrients and so I don't go off on a binge. Also, anorexics have some crazy unhealthy "diet" tips. Here are some crazy diet advice (granted this is on the EXTREME). "Spin around in circles; it will make you too dizzy and nauseous to eat. Look at yourself naked and pinch your fat. You're not allowed to eat without feeling guilty. You must workout like crazy and punish yourself for eating." Please be careful with random diet tips and research well. - 1/6/2016   8:43:20 AM
    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

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