Health News

5 Instances Where Bizarre Fad Diets Have Gone Horribly Wrong

Dieting is an integral part of our society today. Fad diets are introduced regularly and promoted by everyone from celebrities to your neighbors. For the most part these diets provide a quick and easy — though usually not sustainable — solution to our weight problems. What people don’t realize is that the body can only take so much before you’re put in danger. Here are 5 instances of extreme dieting that went too far.

Soy Sauce Cleanse

An internet hoax gone too far left a woman brain dead after consuming a liter of soy sauce in 2 hours. The soy sauce cleanse claims that because water flows towards sodium in the body it would drive toxin filled water to her colon and flush it out. YouTube medical star Bernard of Chubbyemu reported that she drank so much sodium it sucked the water from her brain, muscles, and organs. This led to irreversible brain damage as a result of acute hypernatremia — a high concentration of sodium in the blood. 

Dehydration Diet

18 year old girl Jessica Lindsay died after dehydrating her body to cut weight before a Muay Thai kickboxing fight in Australia. It is common in combat sports for fighters to attempt to cut weight before a fight so they can compete in a lower weight division. Saunas and sweat suits, as well as high intensity exercise, are used to rid the body of excess water weight. In Lindsay’s case, she was running with her 14-year old sister when she collapsed from dehydration. She was then rushed to intensive care where tests showed her heart racing at 189BPMs. Unfortunately, it was too late for doctors to do anything to save her and her organs shut down one by one. A report conducted by the California State Athletic Commission in 2016 reported that extreme weight cutting is linked to concussions and traumatic brain injury. Lindsay was the second athlete to die in 2017 due to weight cutting following Scottish professional Jordan Coe who died in Thailand. Since her death, Lindsay’s parents have been campaigning against weight-cutting in Australia, resulting in Australia’s combat sports authority, WA Combat Sports Commission, drafting a strategy to regulate the practice.

Water, Ginger, and Slaps

Chinese practitioner Hong Chi Xao and parents of a 12-year-old boy are currently facing charges for forcing the young child to undergo a slapping and stretching workshop that was meant to cure him of his diabetes. In disturbing detail it was revealed that the child was forced to drink nothing but water and ginger for three days before an intense stretching and slapping session. His parents stopped administering his insulin injection for 5 days leading him to vomit black and yellow substances as a result of diabetic ketoacidosis which ultimately resulted in his death. Xiao claimed that this was toxins leaving the body and that this alternative medicine, known as paida-lajin, would “activate the body’s self-healing powers and unlock energy channels capable of curing cancer and diabetes” reported Guardian News. Both the parents and Xiao are pleading not guilty and the trial continues on.

Vegan Children

Veganism is growing in popularity and for the most part promotes an overall healthy lifestyle that can provide plenty of health benefits. This is a decision adults can make on their own and and adapt their lifestyles to with little problems. On the other hand, children are far more susceptible to illnesses as their development depends on certain nutrients. One Glasgow, Ireland couple faced questioning when it was discovered that their 12-year-old daughter had the spine of an 80-year old woman. Since birth the child was never allowed to consume meat or dairy, thus causing a  severe form of rickets. Rickets are caused by a lack of Vitamin D that softens the bones and results in fractures and deformities. Dr. Faisal Ahmed of Gasglow’s Royal Hospital for Children told The Telegraph “that the risks involved in forcing a child to adhere to a vegan diet ought to be made clear.”

Ma-Pi Diet

Italian macrobiotic guru, Mario Pianesi, is under investigation for allegations that his wife’s death was caused by him putting her on an extreme form of the Ma-Pi Diet. The unorthodox diet consists primarily of carbohydrates, whole grains, and vegetables while eliminating animal fat, protein, and added sugar. His wife, Gabriella Monti, died in 2001 after suffering from acute hepatitis caused by aflatoxins, a fungal poison sometimes found in grains or nuts, reported The Guardian. Thousands of people are known to follow Pianesi’s diet almost religiously and he has also been accused of manipulating people to avoid the outside world and behave as slaves to him and his diet. His wife Gabriella suffered from a stroke and instead of seeking help, Pianesi kept her hidden at home and attempted to cure her with the Ma-Pi diet. Allegedly, Pianesi wished to keep her illness a secret so it wouldn’t appear that his diet had failed.


Feature Image: @ThoughtCatalog via Unsplash

By Serena Sotelo

Journalism student who fancies herself an amateur chef. Working in and growing up around restaurants taught me a thing or two about getting around a kitchen. I am currently studying at UCLA Extension. Anthony Bourdain is my inspiration and my pug is my best friend.