The 13th Floor

7 Disturbing but Real Weight Loss Tactics People have Actually Tried

Weight loss is a multi-billion-dollar industry. In 2015, they raked in $65 billion just in the United States alone. It’s not hard to see why when you check out all the weight loss trends that have had brief moments of popularity. It seems for every weight loss method that gets scientifically disproven there are ten more to take its place. Here is a list of seven weight loss methods that are either dangerous, ridiculous or both.

The Tapeworm Diet (Cover Photo)

Let’s start off with one from the “You really should know better list”. The tapeworm diet involved ingesting pills containing tapeworm eggs. When the eggs hatched, the dieter had someone they could share their meal with. They also got a heathy dose of nausea, diarrhea, and possibly death. Importing and purchasing tapeworms is illegal in the United States.



Cigarette Diet

In 1925, Lucky Strike launched an ad campaign that suggested dieters should have a Lucky Strike whenever they got the urge to eat. Although nicotine does suppress the appetite, I think we’ve all seen enough evidence of the greater dangers of smoking.



The Cotton Ball Diet

The cotton ball diet involves filling the stomach with cotton balls in order to trick the body into thinking that it’s not hungry. The health risks are serious, and the consumption can cause fatal complications such as intestinal obstruction, anorexia nervosa, toxic shock, and deadly malnutrition. Yet, some people still stand by this diet and practice it today. We even found examples of people using toilet paper when they had eaten all of their cotton balls.


Sleeping Beauty Diet

Elvis was said to have practiced this method, so that should give you an idea of how this one can turn out. The idea was simple, as most fad diets are. The dieter simply takes enough sedatives to knock them unconscious for several days. The idea was that while sedated you couldn’t eat so obviously you’d wake up thinner. What could possibly go wrong?




It’s strange to say, but Ayds (pronounced like AIDS) was very popular during the 70s and 80s. Ayds was a common weight loss candy that suffered from having a very unfortunate name. Whether it worked or not was irrelevant as it quickly lost popularity during health crisis of the mid-80s.


Dexatrim and Fen-Phen

It’s hard to find an obese speed freak. Dexatrim and Fen-Phen were two weight loss pills that were little more than speed. Although the formula has changed to exclude powerful stimulants, earlier forms of Dexatrim contained the decongestant and stimulant phenylpropanolamine and the amphetamine-like compound ephedra. Both Dexatrim and Fen-Phen used a stimulant that not only reduced appetites, but also lead to an increased risk of heart attack and or strokes. In 2005, it was reported that over 50,000 lawsuits had been filed against the makers of Fen-Phen, as the drug was found to cause potentially fatal pulmonary hypertension and heart valve problems. Dexatrim is still on the market, however it no longer contains phenylpropanolamine or ephedra.



The Slim Suit

Ok, this one is not dangerous or scary, just really ugly. The Slim Suit was nothing more than a foil looking suit that made you sweat a lot. Its commercials claimed you could lose weight doing everyday activities including sitting on your ass and doing nothing. One additional benefit- with the hood up the satellites couldn’t read your thoughts.