Apr 20th, 2011
I was at our club pool over the weekend when I overheard a dad talking rather loudly about his latest diet plan. It consisted of a kosher saltwater cleanse to be followed up with 2 weeks on the cabbage soup diet. I would honestly make my husband move out if he voluntarily ate only cabbage for 14 straight days. It did get me thinking about all the crazy fad diets there have been over the years. Here are a few of the kookier ones…
I seriously thought this one was a joke when I first heard about it. Made popular by designer Hedi Slimane, the diet is built on the idea that substituting one or two meals a day for tinier, baby-size purees leads to a slimmer waistline. Though the argument can be made that eating from small, nutrient-packed pots is healthier than snacking on junk food, the fact remains that baby food was meant for infants—not adults. Larger, similarly nutritious portions are necessary to stay healthy. But I have to say I really liked the Gerbers Bananas…
The Ayds Diet
If diet pills look like a box of chocolates, they’re likely too good to be true—as was the case with Ayds Appetite Suppressant Candy. Ayds (pronounced “aids”) was popular in the 1970s and early ’80s and came in a variety of decadent flavors. Once the AIDS epidemic entered the public psyche in mid-1981, however, the unfortunately named diet candy experienced a rapid drop in sales. Eventually, Ayds was withdrawn from the market entirely, which was probably for the best: The active appetite-suppressing ingredient in the product was phenylpropanolamine (PPA), which is now available only by prescription because of its potential to cause stroke in women.
The Soap Diet
As this 1924 print ad for La-Mar Reducing Soap reveals, lathering up used to be marketed as a workout replacement, offering a “magic” solution to unwanted double chins and tummy fat. Another popular cellulite-reducing soap was the aptly named Fatoff, but alas—the ingredients in these so-called body-fat-busters were nothing more than potassium chloride and other useless impurities.
The Tapeworm Diet
This diet is the grossest by far. You start it by eating the above tapeworm. OK, you eat it as an egg, but still. Tapeworms can grow up to 50 feet long in your intestines. They attach to your intestine and, yes, consume some of the calories that you eat. Often, they cause no symptoms, but they can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, and even, in rare cases, seizures. To get rid of the tapeworm, you take a drug and then you poop out the giant dead worm. Sexy.
The Sleeping Beauty Diet
I am completely sleep deprived this morning (thank you, sweet Tennison) so while this is the craziest diet on the list I am finding it strangely appealing. In Jacqueline Susann’s best-selling 1966 novel, Valley of the Dolls, Neely O’Hara, a drug-addled, overweight character, resorts to the Sleeping Beauty Diet in hopes of slimming down and reviving her movie-star status. It’s rumored that Elvis Presley did the same, right around the time he had trouble fitting into his trademark 1970s jumpsuits. The belief behind the diet: If you were heavily sedated for several days, you would “sleep off” the weight and wake up thinner but likely with a very soiled bed.
*H&H Disclaimer: Please do not even THINK of trying any of the above but you may continue snacking on your little one’s baby food.*
Written by Lea Barlow • Leave a comment