Monday, August 12, 2019

8 of the Strangest Diets In History

Fruit, Watermelon, Fruits, Heart If you watch any amount of television or you check out those women's magazines, you'll see someone sharing the most fantastic diet with you.  You'll see low carbs, high carbs, lots of protein, little protein, counting this, counting that but they all claim to help you loose weight.

This is not the first time people have proposed diets.  This has been going on a lot longer than you might imagine.  For instance, there was a popular diet in the 1700's in which Thomas Short observed there were more heavier people living near swamps.  So his solution was for those people to move to a more arid climate, away from those bodies of water.

In 1820, poet Lord Byron advocated using his vinegar diet where you drank a combination of vinegar and water each day.  He lost weight but it may have been due to one of the side effects of the diet.  Drinking as much vinegar as he did resulted in vomiting and diarrhea, so of course he lost weight.  Even today it is recommended at much lower amounts than Lord Byron recommended but if a person drinks too much vinegar, it could possibly cause low potassium levels, bone loss, erosion of tooth enamel, burned throats, in addition to vomiting and diarrhea.

In 1903, Horace Fletcher shared his diet for loosing weight.  He recommended chewing every bit of food at least 32 times before spitting it out.  He maintained his body was getting all the nutrients from  chewing the food until it liquified so it didn't need any remaining solid part.  Horace traveled the world promoting his diet for 20 years, sharing it complete with advice of only eating when you were really, really hungry but not when you were angry.  This diet was soon replaced by calorie counting but there is at least one study which supports eating your food slowly and throughly.

One diet lasting from 1830 to 1900 has started making an appearance again.  All it took was one pill and you were set.  You could eat anything you wanted without ever gaining a pound. In fact, you'd loose weight but the problem was the pill was filled with tapeworm eggs. When the eggs hatched and grew into tapeworms, they eat whatever you eat but the worms can grow up to 30 feet long, cause illness or even death.  This is not a recommended diet even though it has made its appearance every so often including in the 1950's and the 2010's.

Even in the last 50 to 60 years, there have been equally fantastic diets.  There is the Breatharian diet that claims it is possible to live off of only air when a person is in complete harmony with the world.  Unfortunately, leaders of this group end up actually eating food and the few people who quit eating have died.    This one is still floating around and being offered by a few people.

One of the current diets is the Cotton Ball Diet in which a person is to fill up on juice soaked cotton balls so they eat less food.  This particular diet apparently came out of the modeling industry where women are expected to stay quite slim.  Unfortunately, your body cannot digest cotton balls so they just remain in the stomach and intestines forming a bezoar which must be surgically removed.  Furthermore, it can cause malnutrition.

From the 1970's there is the Prolinn diet in which you regularly drink something made out of ground up horns, hoofs, skins, etc, basically everything the slaughterhouses didn't use.  The stuff was broken down and flavored to create a drink with only 400 calories and no nutrition. Unfortunately, you just starved on this diet and at least 58 people died while using it.

Then there is the wonderful Sleeping Beauty diet where a person takes sedatives to sleep long periods of time.  The idea is while you sleep you are not eating so you'll loose weight.  This was Elvis's favorite diet but that may have been why he ended up addicted to drugs.

This is just a sample of strange diets that still pop up occasionally today.  Most were not good for people's health, yet they appealed to people who wanted to loose weight.  I've heard diets do not work, what works is eating a more balanced meal made of greens, veggies, and a protein along with moderate exercise.

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.

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