The Soap Diet: Um ew?

This article is part of our Stupid Diet Series, therefore we do not recommend this diet.

Before you turn up your nose in disgust, this is not actually a diet that asks you to eat soap. Soap is poisonous, and if you eat it you will have to go to the emergency room. Now that we have that out of the way, what is the soap diet all about?

The soap diet came about in the 1930s – that decade where women would believe anything in magazines, especially if it was about weight loss or the mysteries of the human body. Giga marketed a soap that supposedly reduced fat by lathering it on your bulging hips, thighs and buttocks.

The fad continues today with several celebrities occasionally being caught out by these scams, and companies continuing to try and market a soap that makes you lose weight.

The Idea

Fat is stored underneath the skin. If some products, like moisturisers, can penetrate the skin and give their goodness to the cells underneath, surely a soap can deliver some kind of fat-reducing agent to your soft underbelly and help you to shed those unwanted pounds?

Sadly, no. Back in the day the soap was marketed as having ‘magical fat removal properties’, and it worked about as well as a Mars Bar to help you lose weight. These days the public is far too cunning to be convinced by claims of ‘magic’, and so they’re calling it ‘seaweed’.

In fact, the idea has spawned a number of spin-offs. You’d be surprised to know that the same people who would scoff at the idea of a weight loss soap might actually own a tube of anti-cellulite cream. It’s the same stuff – just a soap/cream base and some kind of substance that tightens the skin temporarily.

What’s In It

Snake oil, basically. There’s no reason to believe that there is anything in any of these soaps that actually helps you to lose weight.

What they have found, however, is that a lot of these soaps contain Potassium Chloride and various impurities. These will at best tighten your skin for a few hours, and at worse give you a nasty rash. There could be just about anything in it, from regular soap to animal adrenalin gland extracts. The bottom line is that it’s unlikely to do anything about your, um, bottom line.

Who’s On It

Recently? Reese Witherspoon. Seriously, she’s the only celebrity dumb enough to fall for this stuff so thoroughly as to actually endorse it. Otherwise it’s mostly promoted by 2nd-rate internet entrepreneurs who write all of their own diet product reviews and have shady ‘refund’ track records.

Why You Might Want to Avoid It

There’s no real reason, I guess. It’s just a waste of time. The worst thing that could happen is that you’ll develop some kind of nasty allergic reaction to whichever heavy metal oxide they used to pad the soap. Because soap is, you know, expensive.

The stuff is a dollar a bar, pretty much anywhere you look, so it’s not like I can really say it’s a waste of money. I would just... you know... feel sad if you read this and still went and bought some.

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