It's unlikely the obesity epidemic will be dented by this year's bizarre crop of diets - but at least they're creative
If 2014 was the year of the paleo diet, what diets are we likely to hear about this year?
Expect peak weird in 2015. Butter in coffee, placing bets and ear stapling are being touted as the diet trends of the year.
The fat black diet
There was a time when full-fat milk was the ultimate indulgence in your coffee, but thanks to Silicon Valley entrepreneur Dave Asprey, the question baristas will be posing to customers in 2015 is: "One lump of butter or two?" Not only that, but "bulletproof coffee" - a 460-calorie blend of coffee, butter and oil - will allegedly help you lose weight, boost energy and promote brain power, according to the marketing materials.
Asprey, who attributes a daily dose of the oil-rich caffeine concoction for his 36kg weight loss, came up with the idea while in Nepal where he was offered yak butter coffee after a long day trekking. While Nepal is a far cry from Silicon Valley, his invention is proving popular among professionals.
Mono meal diet
For those who suffer "decision fatigue" at an all-you-can-eat buffet, the mono meal could be the answer. Participants are restricted to a single food per meal, a regime which is said to eliminate the risk of bad food combinations (a no-no in the diet world) and lead to rapid weight loss. But before you think you can load up on endless burgers for lunch and a family-size pepperoni pizza for dinner, be aware your meal of choice must be of the fruit and vegetable variety. While it will likely restrict your social life, you can find plenty of fellow mono mealers on Instagram (@monomeals) where dieters regularly share photos of their bunches of bananas, bowls of berries and wedges of melon.
Invented in the 1920s by a doctor to curb seizures in his epileptic patients, the keto diet is the buzzword of diets in 2015. The extremely low-carb, high-fat regime, which sounds very much like a twist on the Atkins diet, bans grains, bread and sugar. Instead dieters tuck into slabs of meat, nuts, cream and cheese. According to experts, the high-protein diet makes you feel fuller for longer.
In scientific terms, when the body is devoid of carbs to burn for energy, it switches to burning fat - a metabolic nirvana known as ketosis. Be aware though: side effects can include bad breath and constipation. Keep menthols handy.
You've heard of stomach stapling, known in medical terms as gastric banding, but a new and less invasive diet method is gaining popularity. The ear stapling diet involves a practitioner inserting a staple into the inner cartilage of the ear to target a pressure point which is said to suppress appetite. It remains in place for up to two months and claims to take away hunger and reduce sugar cravings.
While there is no science behind ear stapling for weight loss, there are cases of it causing ear infections, and in Texas, four patients reported pain in their jaw which made chewing painful and no doubt led to the inability to eat.
Dietbet is a gambling internet game in which you compete for dieting supremacy against your friends or strangers. According to Dietbet's website, at least 150,000 people have lost weight and won a total of $6m. On average participants lose almost 5kg and win $58, it states.
Users who think they can cheat by hiding behind a computer screen should remember: you have to verify your weight loss by periodically submitting photos standing on the scales.
Butter coffee -- helping you lose weight in 2015? Photograph: /flickr