We’re all familiar with fad diets. Celebrities love them, there are books written about them and the majority of us have probably tried a few of them at one time or another. But did you have any idea that fad diets date back for centuries? Here’s a brief timeline of people trying to control their waistline.
1087 – The Alcohol-Only Diet
In 1087, William the Conqueror had a crazy idea for a fad diet. His plan was to only consume alcohol. Obviously, this diet didn’t work for him. He ended up getting so fat that he couldn’t ride a horse or fit into his coffin after he died. While the alcohol-only diet is popular amongst college kids, we wouldn’t recommend it for improving your health.
1820 – The Vinegar Diet
British poet Lord Byron made the Vinegar Diet in 1820. The Vinegar Diet consisted of dowsing all of your food with the sour stuff… and Lord Byron reportedly lost sixty pounds from this fad diet. Unfortunately, some historians think Byron suffered from an eating disorder, so this might not be the most reputable fad diet in history. The truth is, that apple cider vinegar has many health benefits, but consuming nothing but vinegar is definitely not healthy for you.
1830 – The Graham Diet
Presbyterian minister Sylvester Graham decided to create a diet with the aim of ending the deadly sin of gluttony. Graham believed that the only “pure” diet was drinking water and eating fresh fruits and veggies along with whole wheat and high-fiber foods. Not a terrible diet, if you ask us. Think you might know Graham for something else? You’re right-he’s known as the inventor of tasty graham crackers.
1864 – The Banting Diet
William Banting wrote the first popular diet book this year. Banting was so obese that he had difficulties tying his own shoes… so why exactly should we listen to his dieting advice? Well, the casket maker and author documented how he lost fifty pounds due to a diet of unsweetened fruit, green veggies, lean meats and dry toast. Also, not a bad diet to follow.
1903 – The Chew & Spit Diet
Art dealer Horace Fletcher, known as “The Great Masticator,” advocated a diet technique that consisted of chewing a lot, but not swallowing. The Great Masticator claimed that he lost approximately fifty pounds by chewing each bite of food exactly 32 times… and then spitting out the remains. We at OxyPowder.com like to call this technique “Chew, Chew, Spit.”
1920-1930’s – The Grapefruit Diet
This fad diet was popular in the 1920’s and 1930’s. If you followed this diet, then you would be allowed to eat anything you want, healthy or unhealthy, as long as you ate it with grapefruit. People believed that if you ate grapefruit with unhealthy foods, it would somehow block fat and other unhealthy substances from affecting your overall health. Obviously, not true and potentially dangerous for diabetics or anybody taking certain prescription drugs.
1925 – The Cigarette Diet
This is a diet that some of us may have tried before-although it’s one of the unhealthiest. In 1925, the Cigarette Diet was born. Lucky Strikes cigarettes told dieters to “reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet,” causing some doctors to actually prescribe the tobacco cigarettes to patients wanting to shed pounds. We can all attest to the fact that this is absolutely ridiculous health advice.
1954 – The Tapeworm Diet
Almost three decades after the unhealthy Cigarette Diet was born, another unhealthy diet became popular – the Tapeworm Diet. The dieter would ingest a pill that caused tapeworms to be born. The intestinal worms would then feed off the dieter’s innards, causing him or her to lose weight… but only temporarily. (But then how do you get your tapeworm to lose weight?)
1964 – The Drinking Man’s Diet
This is another diet that we all wish really worked-the Drinking Man’s Diet. Robert Cameron claimed that men could eat a big, juicy steak, gulp a martini, and still shed weight. Unfortunately for Cameron, the Harvard School of Public Health declared that this diet was unhealthy. Big surprise!
1970’s – The Paleolithic Diet
Are you a caveman? Of course not, but if you follow this fad diet, you’ll eat like a caveman. If you followed the Paleolithic Diet, then you could only eat foods that were available for our ancestors thousands of years ago, in the Paleolithic era. We wouldn’t advise following this diet, even though it would presumably be high in nuts and berries.
1972 – The Atkins Diet
This fad diet is a low-carbohydrate diet created by Robert Atkins. Officially called the Atkins Nutritional Approach, it strictly prohibits you from consuming carbohydrates. It’s believed to help prevent cardiovascular disease and lower cholesterol, although there have been conflicting studies that indicate it may be doing the exact opposite. More research is needed to fully determine how healthy the Atkins Diet truly is.
1976 – The Lemonade Diet
Also known as the Master Cleanse Diet, this fad diet is still popular today, even though it was first published by Stanley Burroughs in 1976. It consists of consuming nothing but fresh-squeezed lemon juice, water, maple syrup and cayenne pepper for at least 10-14 days. Additionally, you have to do a salt-water flush every morning and drink laxative-tea every night. You will certainly drop a few pounds while following this diet, however, if you want to cleanse your body of toxins, then we would strongly recommend doing a colon cleanse or eating more high fiber foods.
1999 – The South Beach Diet
This fad diet became popular in the late nineties and early 2000’s. Originally inteded to help prevent heart disease, the South Beach Diet is designed by cardiologist Arthur Agatston. To be successful with this fad diet, you have to replace “bad carbs” with “good carbs” and “bad fats” with “good fats”. People soon discovered they could lose alot of weight while following this diet, which caused it to grow in popularity over the next couple of years.
Healthy Eating Tips for Weight Loss
As you can see, fad diets have been around for quite a while-and in many different forms! But to really eat healthy and lose weight, all you have to do is drink a lot of water, eat organic foods such as fruit and veggies, and stay away from any foods that have high fructose corn syrup. Plus, you have to exercise at least three times a week.
Exercise and a healthy diet — that’s the real way to lose weight and keep it off.
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM
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