Chewing Your Food–And Then Spitting It Out: 15 Bizarre Health Trends You Forgot About

September 29, 2015  |  
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Next time you’re considering trying a new health trend and thinking, “What could go wrong?” just remember that people tried these odd health trends at one time. Here are a few bizarre ones we almost forgot about.

The grapefruit and steak diet

This diet has been around for decades in one form or another. The original version had people thinking that they should eat a diet high in fats (like steak dinners) but accompany it with grapefruits. People believed grapefruit burned fat. We know that having food with a high water content can fill you up, so you eat less. But grapefruit will not burn off a Philly cheesesteak.

Chewing and spitting

You probably saw this health trend on the Sex and the City episode where Miranda has an old friend who chews his food and then spits it out. But this diet has been around for a very long time. It was once seen as a way to aid in weight loss, but today, this is seen more as an eating disorder.

The shake weight

This vibrating and toning device might have spurred more comical videos than it did sales. And most sales may have been by women thinking it was, um, something else.


The jiggle belt

The Vitamaster was a machine you strapped into via a big belt that was supposed to jiggle your fat away. As it turns out, that’s not really possible. But maybe it just really helped to strap women down and keep them away from the refrigerator.

Rubber corsets

You see a lot of waist trainers today, but they aren’t new. Charles Goodyear (yes, of the tires) made a rubber one that squeezed women tight so that they would sweat their fat out.

Light up to tighten up

In the 1920s Lucky Strike cigarettes claimed they could help women lose weight by fighting off sugar cravings. They didn’t know yet about another little side effect called lung cancer.




The Master Cleanse

Celebrities like Beyoncé have tried this diet, which involves a strange water mixture of pepper and lemon–along with laxatives. We think the lemon pepper water didn’t have to do much work here.

Sleeping the weight off

In the ’70s, Elvis Presley popularized the Sleeping Beauty Diet. Participants would be sedated and sleep for several days, during which time they would reportedly lose weight. They were starving themselves, but they weren’t awake to feel it.

Diet Pills

These are still around unfortunately. They date back to ancient Greece. But in recent years, diet pills have been shown to increase the risk of cardiac events and strokes.

The power plate

This is a relatively new machine, but it’s so cumbersome you barely see it in gyms. When you do, you stop yourself from giggling a little. Essentially, it’s a giant vibrating plate that you can do things like push-ups and sit-ups on. The vibrations of the plate apparently work extra muscles.

Oil Pulling

This trend is gaining traction with celebrities like Shailene Woodley. For 15 to 20 minutes every day, the star swishes coconut or sesame seed oil around in her mouth and spits it out. The oil allegedly pulls out toxins from inside the body, which you can then spit out.

Toning Shoes

Several brands now make their own variety of toning shoes. They look like tiny spaceships for your feet and apparently can help you burn more calories. But our guess is that just moving more helps you do that, not necessarily moving more while in futuristic sneakers.



Sauna Suits

Exactly what they sound like, these suits were made from materials that made you incredibly hot, so you could, in theory, sweat your fat away. Be careful, because the suits can cause things like heatstroke and dehydration.

Power Balance Bracelets

These looked like the Livestrong bracelets but had a little shiny dot in the middle. The company behind these bracelets claimed that that dot somehow helped make a person more balanced, energized and flexible. The company ended up issuing an apology, saying they had no proof that their bracelet did any of that.

Drinking charcoal

The jury is still out on this one, but it is getting more popular. Some hospitals give patients who’ve overdosed a form of highly purified charcoal, which apparently sucks toxins out of the body. Some medical experts, however, fear that the charcoal also sucks up the good stuff.

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