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


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
5/2/2013 6:00 AM   :  610 comments   :  58,265 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)!

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints

NEXT ENTRY >   Motivated to Move: Exercise to Feel Alive

Great Stories from around the Web


  • ANGEL10456
    I saw an ad on the Internet for PGX tablets. They were supposed to help you lose weight, but you had to take as many as six huge tablets at a time and I didn't lose any weight. - 8/21/2013   11:27:34 AM
  • 559
    The worst advice was from my mom where she was starving herself, but it was okay apparently because when she got to her goal weight, THAT was when she was going to start eating right. Okay... - 8/21/2013   9:50:26 AM
  • 558
    Back in the late 70's when I was a teenager and still going to my pediatrician, my mother mentioned to him that I wanted to lose weight. He wrote a prescription for diet pills. Nothing about exercise, no questions about my diet, just "here, take these pills." I took the pills exactly once. I got so jittery and weak, shaky, lightheaded etc. and I hated that feeling, so I just didn't take them again. Looking back on that time, and reviewing pictures etc. I wasn't even heavy. I was normal to thin actually, and I can't believe he didn't discuss that, much less that he prescribed diet pills. - 8/21/2013   8:56:18 AM
  • 557
    Unless I specifically ask someone for diet advice, they'd best not give it.
    That's the best advice I have to offer... - 8/21/2013   8:54:06 AM
  • 556
    I think any kind of "fad" diet isn't a good idea for long term weight loss. Realistically you can't spend the rest of your life only eating, or not eating certain foods. Also, humans need a wide variety of food to insure good health and most fad diets don't allow for that. The only exception I think is a Vegetarian diet, it's not really a fad. If you do your research and make sure you're getting adequate protein it's a good diet for some people to follow.
    By the way, when I was a child one of my favorite things to do was to sneak frozen peas out of the pan or the bag and eat them. I still like them. - 8/21/2013   8:48:08 AM
  • 555
    I once had a person tell me that calories are just calories and calories and you can lose weight just as easily eating a low calorie diet of junk food as you can eating healthy food. So you should instead diet eating the foods you enjoy. This same person I had known for over 8 years and he was extremely overweight. He had been trying to lose weight those whole 8 years I knew him and instead of losing, he had been gaining. Definitely not someone who's "advice" I would follow about dieting. Especially since I knew how wrong he was. - 8/21/2013   7:59:33 AM
    Atkins and other high-protein diets left me socially unacceptable in an air quality kind of way if you know what I mean. Love the "sleeve of crackers" story. That's a good one! - 8/21/2013   7:28:47 AM
    I did HCG diet and took off 80 pounds in 3 rotations of the diet. Not every thing works for every body. I think the most important thing I learned from this program was to document everything I ate. This showed me what are my triggers and trouble items. I will never be able to just eat everything I like again, but being a size 4/6 (formerly size 22) is worth the "sacrifice". - 8/21/2013   7:03:58 AM
  • 552
    I love frozen peas, frozen sweetcorn and, most of all, frozen broad beans. The taste is so much fresher and they do melt slowly in your mouth, and take longer to eat because they're cold. - 8/21/2013   3:30:15 AM
  • 551
    I love frozen pea salad - 8/21/2013   1:30:24 AM
    My nine year old daughter loves peas, often as a "frozen" snack. It's not a diet for her, and I can think of a lot worse things she could snack on. I don't know about frozen corn though. - 8/21/2013   12:00:45 AM
  • 549
    When I was 19 I asked my doctor what would help me lose weight u know what kinda diet. (i was 200 pounds then) she said I did not need to go on a diet that I was healthy but if I wanted to go on a diet I could and that I should just eat healthy and cut down on my food and the weight would fly off..same doctor that told me to take antibiotics for 3 years to get rid of acne all it did was make me sick. - 8/20/2013   11:41:24 PM
  • 548
    A doctor told me that I shouldn't drink any milk while I was breastfeeding because "some babies are allergic to cow's milk" - 8/20/2013   11:39:17 PM
    I hate vegan diets. I am a weightlifting man who likes meat. Birds were meant to eat grass. Iíll keep to turkey, chicken breast, fish, lean beef, and the occasional fatty reds. Adkins would be perfect for me. Vegan, not so much, but truthfully, there are few things I would eliminate from my diet instead of simply maintaining proper proportions. - 8/20/2013   11:20:39 PM
  • 546
    My all time favorite was this plan. Eat 1/4 cup of dry cereal in the morning, and nothing else the rest of the day - then eat a sensible dinner. Yeah right! The other advice I always loved (usually said very smugly) is "You just have to cut down." Gee did you think?? - 8/20/2013   11:17:11 PM
    I tried the grapefruit diet and all of the acid caused me to break out! - 8/20/2013   11:15:06 PM
    The worst - cut your calories to 500 or less per day because "no one came out of a concentration camp fat" - 8/20/2013   10:20:05 PM
    I was told that you should never eat raw vegetables and cooked vegetables at the same time. Just plain weird! - 8/20/2013   9:39:43 PM
  • 542
    ***** WHAT IS THE TAPEWORM DIET??????*********

    The worst diet I have ever heard of is the Atkins [?] diet, where the person eats nothing but meat, and maybe a little cheese thrown in.

    As a vegan, I am appalled! And the few people I know who have stomached the diet, and actually lost the pounds, could not "stomach" it for long; and gained ALL the weight back, plus more as soon as they stopped the Atkins approach.

    The WORST diet I ever tried was when I was in collage. I weighed 123 pounds and thought I was obese [!!!!!!! -- Now I would KILL to weight 123!!] Anyway, I tried the grapefruit and boiled egg diet. I HATE eggs in any form, but love grapefruit. I think it lasted long enough to get down to 118; that was all the eggs I could stand.

    Isn't SP wonderful? No craziness here! - 8/20/2013   9:28:29 PM
  • 541
    Worst UNSOLICITED advice ever -- can't believe I didn't crack up in his face: "If you get hungry, just eat a sleeve of crackers. And, they'll make ya thirsty, but just wash it down with lots of water -- water's good for ya, anyway. I'm tellin' ya, it'll fill you up and you won't want to eat anything else for the rest of the day." - 8/20/2013   9:26:08 PM
    And, I can't believe that I just heard a news story about a doctor warning against the tapeworm diet. Is this still being done? - 8/20/2013   8:55:03 PM
    UGH I'm so sick of people offering advice when I tell them I'm losing weight. Everyone has an idea, but for me it just comes down to the stuff that we already know - portion control, lots of fruits and veggies, less fat and sugar, exercise, drink water and eat a balanced diet.

    And if one more person tells me that I should do the Paleo diet . . . . - 8/20/2013   8:53:10 PM
    The one bit of advice over all the horrible ones I've heard that did stick in my mind was not to drink ice water with your meal. Why? The cold temperature of the ice solidifies the fat you just ate thereby staying in your stomach and making you fat.

    Obviously internal body temperature keeps ice frozen. Why didn't science not tell me the stomach was a freezer?! - 8/20/2013   8:42:24 PM
    I think the worst diet I tried, along with a LOT of others, was the Scarsdale Diet back in the 70's. And my mother-in-law tried the HCG diet, which didn't work either. By the way, I followed the 5/2 Fast Diet earlier this year, (it's only 2 days of fasting/500 calories) and had no problems. I worked out every day and never felt like I lacked energy. The key is to eat the 500 calories in protein and complex carbs like vegetables/fruit/greek yogurt. And it's easier to manage if the 500 calories are split into two meals, but some people allot calories for small snacks too. It's only 2 non-consecutive days a week, and no, that does not send the body into the fabled "starvation mode". - 8/20/2013   8:41:51 PM
  • 536
    Drink glasses of plain hot water(not warm but HOT) throughout the day to help you burn fat. That's ridiculous!!! - 8/20/2013   8:23:53 PM
  • 535
    Did someone really say the worst advice they've ever received regarding diets is that breakfast is essential and skipping meals is dangerous? Really?

    Breakfast IS essential! It's called BREAK-FAST for a reason. Breakfast is necessary to get your metabolism properly moving for the day. Notice our fit elderly counterparts ALWAYS eat breakfast! Why skip the meal that fuels the day?

    Also, skipping meals can contribute to fluctuations in blood sugar, your body going into "starvation" mode and consuming muscle, and increases the risk of Type II Diabetes.

    So, if that's the worst advice you've ever received, you clearly are new to the world of nutrition. Let's not use the word "diet." I hate that word. - 8/20/2013   7:25:14 PM
  • 534
    My doctor (at the time), who was overweight, put me on the grapefruit diet. I don't think it lasted long enough for me to even actually lose any weight. - 8/20/2013   7:21:33 PM
  • 533
    How about, I think it was called, the Pritikin Diet. It came out in the 90s and one day you would eat all the fruit you could eat. The next day you would eat all the vegetables you could eat. My mother, sister and I never felt so hungry in our lives! Neither fruit alone nor vegetables alone satisfied us at all. There was very little nutrients that keep us satisfied. - 8/20/2013   7:00:45 PM
    The HCG diet! A relative tried it and I couldn't believe how insane it was. The "science" isn't sound at all and eating only 500 calories a day isn't good for anyone! - 8/20/2013   6:54:38 PM
  • 531
    Day one. Eat nothing but a slice of peanut butter toast
    at each meal.
    Day two. Eat nothing but a boiled egg at each meal.
    Day three. Eat nothing but a small can of tuna in water
    sprinkled with vinegar at each meal.
    - 8/20/2013   6:52:40 PM
  • 530
    Load your plate, but cover at least half of each dish with
    black pepper to make it inedible. - 8/20/2013   6:49:58 PM
  • 529
    "Just stop drinking soda and Starbux and you'll lose weight and have extra $$!"

    I never WAS drinking either of those - why am I still fat and where's all my extra $$? - 8/20/2013   6:41:59 PM
  • 528
    My mother had a doctor in the late 1950's tell her to take up smoking to help control her calorie intake. YIKES! It took her forty years to kick the habit. - 8/20/2013   6:38:50 PM
    Fasting diets, I can't imagine because I get the shakes with too little nourishment especially exercising. I like to exercise soon after a meal not close to one. Exercise improvement is so satisfying. I can go longer or lift more. I love it. - 8/20/2013   6:38:12 PM
  • 526
    That anything you eat past 6pm will turn into fat. Another, just don't eat anything white. - 8/20/2013   6:32:02 PM
    Worst advice I've received?

    That saturated fat, red meat and dietary cholesterol are my mortal enemies (even though I'm literally made of these things)

    That [morning] breakfast is essential and "skipping meals" dangerous.

    That a majority of my calories should come from grains and starches and other high-profit margin agricultural byproducts.

    That achieving & maintaining a healthy weight is largely a matter of conscious willpower directed toward "portion control" and forced physical exertion.

    Arrogant reductionism in general--ie, gyms training a specific muscle in isolation, doctors treating a pure abstraction (such as one's LDL number) with powerful drugs, or the media hyping weak correlations between specific foods and relative risk of disease into the next reactionary diet-du-jour.

    Yep, lots of awful advice to choose from out there. - 8/20/2013   5:53:57 PM
  • 524
    My mom and I tried the Beverly Hills Diet, way back when, 70's or 80's I guess. There were days when you just ate watermelon all day (as much as you wanted, but nothing else.) Sometimes it was only chicken all day. It was really horrible, definitely not a sustainable thing as a regular way of life. Portion control and calories that correspond to the amount of exercise I do works great, and I can still plan for whatever foods are in season or whatever I am really in the mood for. This will work long term! - 8/20/2013   5:48:41 PM
  • 523
    The liquid protein diet craze of the late '70s. That was just insane.

    I know this is a trick a lot of people use, but it makes me ill to see someone dipping a fork into the dressing before every bite of salad--I want to say, "Stop playing with your food!" - 8/20/2013   5:41:33 PM
  • 522
    I was told I could eat what ever I want as long as I worked out. Not true, itís the quality of foods you eat + your intake VS output. - 8/20/2013   5:36:45 PM
  • 521
    My daughter was told by a gynecologist ( saw her ONCE and found another) that if she did the diet with the shakes , then greens and a lean, she would lose weight, cure her hypothyroidism, would allow her to go off coumadin, get normal periods and cure PCOS...she was pushing so hard, then turned to me and said "If you REALLY cared about your daughter, you'd not worry about how expensive it is" Yeah, this woman had just gotten back from a trip to Spain and bragged she took her shakes and didn't eat any spanish food...she was unhealthily thin..nope..weight watchers is working for both of us ( she was sanctioned soon after BTW) - 8/20/2013   5:29:48 PM
  • 520
    I honestly can't say that the 5/2 fasting diet is a bad one for some people - it is backed by a lot of pretty thorough research. However, I don't think it's suitable for very active people or people looking to add muscle mass, not just lose fat. I tried it for a few weeks, but I did not cope well with feeling hungry, and my activity level is such that only 500 calories on the fast days left me weak and dizzy. I might suggest it for people who are not intense exercisers who have elevated risks of diabetes, cancer, or high blood pressure. - 8/20/2013   4:47:55 PM
  • 519
    I think the word "moderation" is a bunch of hooey. It's like telling an alcoholic to moderate their alcohol intake. Seriously? Once my blood sugar starts to swing, moderation is out the window. I have to completely eliminate trigger foods for me. That means a strict diet...& possibly for the rest of my life. That's why the high protein, low carb diet is working for me. No more blood sugar roller coaster. - 8/20/2013   4:34:53 PM
    I think the 'shake' craze, I still cannot look at someone drink one (powder added to water and yum?) - 8/20/2013   4:07:33 PM
  • 517
    Frozen peas are yummy! My kids call it pea candy. - 8/20/2013   4:00:11 PM
  • 516
    Worst diet advice I ever heard was to drink 2 TBSPs of vinegar (regular vinegar) in an 8 oz glass of water 3-4 times a day. Asked my doctor about it and he said all it would do would be to rip out your stomach lining and get you sick fast! Of course, there is somewhat of a weight loss with that "diet plan"-- it just usually involves a lot of doctor visits too! Ugh! - 8/20/2013   3:54:44 PM
  • 515
    HCG Diet. Did it. (lost 25 lbs which is a lot for me) but gained it all back plus. with only 500 cal a day it really slows down your metabolism regardless of what the diet says. I also remember when i was in my teens (80's) my mom and I were going to go on this diet that you had to eat onion soup and a lot of it. YUCK! - 8/20/2013   3:52:12 PM
  • XFLIPS2013
    someone started telling me about some diet that uses horse urine. I quit listening when they said urine, LOL, no way I was going there... - 8/20/2013   3:50:34 PM
  • 513
    I think the grapefruit diet was the worst diet I ever tried. I figured that since I loved grapefruits that it would be easy - right? WRONG!!! Although I did lose weight (which I promptly gained back when I quit the diet), I had stomach pains almost everyday and really bad diarrhea most of the time.

    On another note, I wanted to comment on the diet tip to eat 5x a day. I now eat 5-6x a day and I've lost 60+lbs. Yes, it's true that they have to be small, snack sized meals but it really does work.

    When I started my weight loss journey, I knew that any diet that called for any type of deprivation was not going to work for me. Been there, done that. In the past, whenever I did that, I would end up binge eating because I was so hungry (of course, I was also working out and exercising too).

    By eating 5-6 small meals a day, I never feel like I'm starving myself. It also works well for me because I typically exercise hard in the morning and much lighter in the evening. By having snacks before and after exercising, I feel it improves not only my workout but my metabolism too.

    So while this particular tip may not work for everyone, it does work for some and that is one of the best things I love about SP. We're all on our own journey and we all just need to discover what does and does not work for us. Whether or not it works for others is their business. Heck, I have no doubt there are those who love the grapefruit diet and think it's a great diet. - 8/20/2013   3:32:32 PM
  • 512
    I've received advice to make/serve food I don't like, theory being "if it doesn't taste good you won't eat too much of it" = weight loss? Don't think so! I have never ascribed to any regime that suggests bad/yukky/bland "diet" food...you don't get bonus weight-loss for making the calories-in unpleasant or unpalatable, no bonus points for suffering! - 8/20/2013   3:25:48 PM
  • 511
    the NO-fat diet of the 90's. Ruined my metabolism, ovaries, and thyroid. - 8/20/2013   3:22:33 PM

Please Log In To Leave A Comment:    Log in now ›

Join SparkPeople.com

x Lose 10 Pounds by February 6! Get a FREE Personalized Plan