From the barmy to the insane, we look at three of histories weirdest diets…
Diets have been popular for centuries. As far back the ancient Greeks and Romans, people were following diets and dieting regimes in order to live a healthier lifestyle.
It wasn’t until the 19th century and the rise of the celebrity that people began to diet for aesthetic reasons. It has been said that Queen Victoria was terrified of gaining lbs, and people everywhere were willing to try some seriously extreme methods to lose weight.
Here are three of the weirdest (and possibly most disgusting) dieting fads from throughout history.
The Fletcherizing Diet
Around 1910, people like Henry James made this diet a particular favourite when Dr Horace Fletcher (pictured left), a self-proclaimed expert in dietetics, created his name-sake diet.
It involved chewing food until all the nutrients had been extracted before spitting out the fibrous material. People were advised to chew their food at least thirty-two times in order to release as much if it’s nutritional content as possible without actually eating any of it.
Nowadays, we all know the dangers of poor nutrition. Dr Fletcher’s method was slated by the actual professionals of the day however, and apart from the occasional mention on celebrity forums, it has thankfully been shunned by the dieting community.
The Sleeping Beauty Diet
Fast forward a little into the 20th century and even Elvis Presley was promoting this particularly weird diet. Luckily, it didn’t catch on and has been lost to history books and online blogs and forums about weird and not so wonderful weight-loss fads.
The concept is very simple, if you are asleep, you are not eating. If you are not eating, your body is burning existing calories and excess fat in order to keep going. Elvis Presley, for example, took sleeping pills in order to sleep for several days.
The problem with this is the obvious risks to your health from firstly, taking a large number of sleeping pills or sedatives, and secondly, depriving your body of food for a number of days. But apart from all of that, who has time to sleep for three days?
The Tapeworm Diet
By far the most disgusting of the dieting archives is the infamous, 19th century, Tapeworm diet. Yes, it is exactly as bad as it sounds. People would swallow tapeworm, in the form of a pill, in order to infect themselves with the parasite that feeds on the food they consume.
The side effects are nasty and dangerous; diarrhoea and vomiting are the least of your worries when you consider that tapeworms have been lined to meningitis, epilepsy and dementia.
Not to mention that a tapeworm can grow up to 30 meters inside a human being, and it has to come out one way or another.
Back in the day, once a person had reached their desired weight, they would take another pill designed to kill the parasite and have to excrete it naturally, potentially leading to abdominal and rectal complications.
Fad diets will always be popping up around the world, some will make more sense than others, but thank heavens we have educated ourselves enough on nutrition nowadays to recognise a crazy idea when we see one…