Because normal dieting is boring and makes you want to eat cake, insane diets have always been popular. Not least because that insanity can yield dramatic results.
Take the ‘Beyoncé’ diet. It’s just water, maple syrup, lemon juice and cayenne pepper. Beyoncé said she shed 20lbs in two weeks on the diet. Nice. And it sounds sustainable.
Other brilliant diets on the ironically titled How to Lose Weight Well (C4, 8pm, 11 January) included weight-loss pills off the internet, the 5:2 diet (where you diet for five days and starve for two), an alkaline diet (swap booze for buttery coffee and skip solids) and an imaginary gastric band (really).
“Why am I doing this just to be skinny?” worried the guinea pig on the Beyoncé diet, and the answer is because nothing tastes as good as skinny feels. Everyone knows that.
Then, in the least appetising thing ever to happen on a TV show about food, one of the presenters took a noisy number two on camera to illustrate the ill-effects of taking twice the recommended dose of the fat-busting pills then going for a “fatty curry”. He stared right into the camera while he did it. I’m still haunted by the memory.
How to lose weight well? To be fair, stones were shed all over the place by the volunteers, suggesting anyone in need of a quick fix could do worse than give one of the gimmicks a go. But in reality the answer hasn’t changed since forever. Eat more protein, fresh fruit and vegetables, and cut down on sugar and carbs. And exercise. The only trouble is that’s just so boring…