Corporate Wellness Blog

26 Mar

Strange Fad Diets From Distant History to the Present

by Punctual Abstract

Fad diets make promises of rapid weight loss, longevity and/or other health benefits without scientific proof that they actually work. As long as obesity and health problems have existed, which is to say forever, they have been around. Here are a few fad diets you may or may not have heard of, from the distant and not-so-distant past.

The Cotton Ball Diet

This diet finds its roots in the modeling industry. Basically you dip cotton balls in orange juice and swallow them in an effort to curb hunger with something other than food. Suffice it to say, eating things that aren’t food isn’t good. It can lead to bezoar, the blocking of the intestinal tract, which sometimes must be removed surgically. Most cotton balls these days aren’t even made of cotton, so you’ll actually be ingesting a mix of bleached and dyed synthetic fibers that are incredibly difficult to break down.

Blood Type Diet

One of the more popular and “accepted” fads diets on our list, the Blood Type Diet was formulated by naturopathic physician Dr. Peter D’Adamo and popularized by his New York Times bestselling book The Blood Type Diet. It argued that different food groups are healthier for people with different different blood types. The core of his argument was that people’s immune and digestive systems favored what their ancient ancestors ate. The fact that most people no longer eat what they are naturally designed to eat, he argued, explained why some people were able to lose weight so easily and others weren’t. The Blood Type Diet was logical; it made a ton of sense. It just didn’t work, according to 1,415 independent studies.

hCG Injections

Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a hormone produced by the placenta during the implantation stage of pregnancy, when the fertilized egg sticks to the wall of the uterus. In the 1950s, A.T.W. Simeons, a British physician, became convinced that injections of the hormone when coupled with a meagre 500-calorie-a-day diet would lead to weight loss. Not only is there no evidence these injections lead to weight loss, they can cause fatal blood clots and hormonal imbalances that lead to depression. While the injections are not technically illegal, because they are a legitimate infertility treatment, hCG drops, pellets and sprays are illegal according to the FDA.

Grapefruit Juice Diet

The Grapefruit Juice Diet finds its roots back in 1930. Lasting 12 days, the diet did not consist entirely of grapefruits, thankfully, but afforded the dieter little else. Like many other crash diets, which severely restrict calorie intake for a short period of time, the Grapefruit Juice Diet’s claim to cause 10-pound weight loss may be accurate. The problem is after those 12 days are over, the weight comes right back. One of the only studies to support the efficacy of the Grapefruit Juice Diet, interestingly, was funded by the Florida Department of Citrus, so it’s findings are somewhat suspect.

The Nothing-but-Alcohol Diet

OK, we can’t really call this a fad, but it needed to make the list nonetheless. William the Conqueror way back in 1028 had become so obese that he was unable to ride his beloved horse. So he did what anyone would do: begin a liquid-only diet that consisted almost completely of wine. Miraculously he did lose enough weight to get back on his horse. Unfortunately, he died shortly thereafter in a riding accident.

Corporate Wellness from Punctual Abstract

Want to check out some fad diets that, you know, actually work? The Punctual Abstract Corporate Wellness Blog has you covered. Here’s some recent nutrition articles to digest:

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