From smoothie bowls to cake pops, it seems like people are constantly trying to pinpoint the food that's going to be the next big thing. But in the past few years, we've gotten a little carried away with some of our grub. We've experimented with unusual flavors, tested new cooking methods, and fused together some international cuisines in search of a unique culinary experience. The result? Foods that are over-the-top, barely edible, or just plain weird! Plus, most of them are a weight loss nightmare. Here's our list of bizarre food fads from the past few years…
Each year since 2012, Lays has offered $1 million dollars to the person who can come up with the best new flavor idea for their iconic product. This contest is arguably one of the greatest marketing schemes of all time, but we can't deny that some of these flavors are just straight up strange. Flavors like cappuccino, biscuit and gravy, and mac 'n cheese potato chips have made their way to supermarkets across the nation. And it doesn't stop there. Lays has sparked a potato chip revolution as other brands have started producing and selling their own unique flavors. Pringles jumped on the bandwagon with a loaded baked potato flavor and Kettle has started producing curry flavor. Where these chips get really weird is their ingredient list. Obviously, potato chips don't naturally come cappuccino flavored, so their nutrition facts feature a whole host of additives and artificial flavors. These chips are so artificial that companies aren't even trying to hide it. "Artificially flavored life is too short to do anything 'unloaded'," reads Pringle's own description of their baked potato chips. Um, gross! For healthier chip change-ups, check out our list of healthy chips!
Freaky Fried Foods
Food fairs have become a popular way to eat these days. From Brooklyn's Smorgasbord to the Texas State Fair, quick, tasty finger food is the name of the game. One of the all-time worst trends to come out of food fairs is fried fare that has no business being fried. No, literally, people are frying everything these days. We've seen fried Oreos, fried mac n cheese, and even fried butter. Yes, we just said fried butter! It doesn't matter how good it tastes—this is one of the most self-destructive and baffling trends humans have ever come up with. It's a fad that is bound to clog our arteries and add inches to our waistlines.
There's another way to consume butter without the deep fryer and it's shaking up your morning ritual: coffee. Bulletproof coffee is the most recent odd food trend of the last 10 years. Invented in 2009, this butter-coffee mix has gained significant popularity in the nutrition world in the last two years for its claims that it can enhance weight loss and improve cognitive function. But people are still skeptical. Butter is high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which is linked to heart disease, heart attacks, and death. And many of us have a hard time picturing dumping some chunks of butter in our coffee. It's just plain strange!
Honestly? As weird as this one is to us, it's also arguably downright awesome. With creations like sushi burritos, dessert pizzas, and ramen burgers, creativity can sometimes bring new life to old favorites. People are combining foods and cuisines to get a unique flavor experience they've never had before. In December 2013, Time magazine declared the cronut (the croissant donut) one of the best inventions of the year. However, this trend also has the potential to go a little rogue. In 2013, Taco Bell released the taco waffle which was promptly taken off the market in 2015. That same year, Dunkin Donuts put eggs and bacon between two glazed donuts to create the first ever donut sandwich. Don't worry, neither of these made it on our list of 50 Best Breakfast Foods for Weight Loss—Ranked.
We can say definitively say that this one is really gross. Like 800 extra calories kind of gross. Initially, the alternative crust movement was pretty tame but pizza companies quickly went from deep dish to off the deep end. Pizza Hut is the worst offender with their invention of crust made from mini hot dogs. The hot dogs add about 100 extra calories (mostly from fat) to each slice and 800 calories to a pie, for an overwhelmingly fatty meal that rings in at a whopping 2,720 calories! Oh, and get this: The stuffed crust trend gets even weirder when you leave the country. Pizza Hut Thailand offers peanut sauce stuffed crust and Pizza Hut Middle East features cream cheese filled cone crust. Why, Pizza Hut, why? However, there is one counter movement in the crazy crust trend that is worth noting: flourless crusts. In recent years, people have experimented with strange, alternative flours and bases like cauliflower and quinoa (one of our best carbs for weight loss) to create a healthier, still flavorful pizza. So, if you want a piece of this wacky pizza trend, we recommend you go the flourless route!
The Bacon Boom
Bacon sales reached an all-time high in 2014 and continue to rise 10 percent per year. We're living in the Bacon Boom. Why are we consuming so much bacon, you may ask? Because these days, you can find bacon married to almost anything—mostly on or in things you'd never expect. There are bacon covered donuts, bacon flavored mayonnaise, and even bacon-flavored vodka! In 2012, Burger King offered a bacon flavored ice cream sundae, and in recent years, Yankee Stadium has been serving sizzling bacon on a stick. We get that bacon is delicious and the dream food for all those savory food-lovers out there, but bacon adds about 3 grams of fat per strip, most of which are saturated fats. These aren't those healthy fats we're such big fans of. Saturated fats raise the level of cholesterol in blood and put you at risk for heart disease and stroke. Think about that the next time you order a bacon vodka martini or spread some bacon mayo on your sandwich!
Cutting back on drinking is on our list of 44 Ways to lose 4 inches of body fat. But now we mean it. Seriously, we really mean it. You can now purchase pumpkin pie flavored vodka, buttered popcorn flavored vodka, and—oh, you're a fast learner—bacon flavored vodka. But even if these new flavors entice you, they each add an average of 30 calories to each shot—and all those calories are carbohydrates in the form of sugar.
When eating healthy started gaining more and more popularity in the 2000s, things got goofy. Don't get us wrong, we love most things that came out of the healthy movement. (Hey, we spend most of our time writing about them!) But on the most peculiar ideas to come out of the health movement is drinking grass. Eating grass first became popularized in the 40s when an American woman by the name of Ann Wigmore suggested that humans start consuming wheatgrass to mimic the habit of dogs that munch on grass to calm their stomachs, aid digestion, and ultimately lose weight. However, it really took off in the last 10 years when vegan diets and other healthy lifestyle programs became popular.
Being a sriracha hater is sacrilegious these days. The hot sauce, originally from Thailand, has developed an American cult-like following over the past few years. However, people have taken it a little far. Now, you can find sriracha flavored chips, sriracha flavored popcorn, and even spicy sriracha flavored chocolate to get your spice fix without the bottle. Hey, adding spice to foods is a great way to boost your metabolism but just make sure the flavor is all natural.
Freakish Freezer Foods
Our lives are centered around convenience. That's why freezer foods have gained so much popularity in the 21st century. But the past 10 years have seen a surge of frozen foods that are so artificial they almost can't be considered foods anymore. Some of the highlights include frozen Jimmy Dean's Blueberry Pancake and Sausage on a stick, Eggo Fruit Pizza, and Bob's frozen pickle juice pops. With ingredients your mouth can't pronounce and your body can't process, many hoped this trend would come to a screeching halt. But this year, Hostess —the makers of childhood favorites like Ding-Dongs and Hohos— are releasing a frozen deep fried twinkie to make the freezer section that much more freaky.