Mind-Boggling Diet Trends in History

Posted On Jul 18, 2013 By Bowflex Insider Team

diet trends in history

We all make mistakes. Perhaps you fell for the latest diet fad, thinking you found an easy solution, only to gain ten pounds on an all bacon diet. Okay, so maybe you know better than to feast on bacon alone, but our ancestors have fallen for arguably more questionable diet fads in an effort to slim down. Here at Bowflex Insider, we've put together a list of our favorite diet fads in history.

Warning: Some might find the following disturbing.

1727: Avoid the swamps. Apparently they make you fat.
Thomas Short, author of the 1727 principle, "The Causes and Effects of Corpulence," observed that overweight people often lived near swamps. So, in order to be thin, you just had to live in drier climates. If only it was so simple.

1900s: Chew as much as you want, but don't you dare swallow.
San Francisco art dealer Horace Fletcher was known as The Great Masticator for developing the diet technique of chewing food exactly 32 times and then spitting the remains. He claims he lost 40 pounds in doing so. According to Louise Foxcroft, a historian and author, this trend became so popular that people were timed at dinner parties to ensure they chewed long enough!

Soap weightloss diet

Early 1930s: Wash the fat away, literally.
Although the advertisement above is almost insulting to the humankind, slimming soap products like Fatoff, Fat-O-NO and La-Parle Obesity Soap flew off the shelves. Just imagine all the hopeful women scrubbing away the fat in their bathtubs.

tapeworm diet - weirdest diet trend in history

1950s: Why exercise when you can eat a worm?
While the tapeworm diet was advertised in the early 1900s, it wasn't until the 1950s that it really caught on. Dieters would swallow a tapeworm cyst in the form of a diet pill. Once the tapeworm matured in a person's intestines, it would consume most of the food, leading to significant weight loss. What they forgot to mention in the advertisements was the excruciating process of extracting the tapeworm, which consisted of killing the tapeworm with an anti-parasitic pill.

Fun fact: Tapeworms can grow up to 30 feet in length and can lead to detrimental complications such as meningitis and dementia.

Weirdest diet trend in history- last chance diet

1970s: Animal remains = slimming potion
Doctor Roger Linn invented the Last Chance Diet, which consisted of starving your body and drinking his "special" product, called Prolinn. This 400 calorie liquid consisted of ground animal remains, such as horns, hooves, hides, tendons, bones and other slaughterhouse byproducts. It's no surprise there have been more than 50 reported deaths linked to this diet, since 1977.

Moral of the story: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.