Happy October!
While it is true that the worldwide obesity epidemic is worse now than ever, our obsession with losing weight has gone on for hundreds of years and history is full of some really bizarre ideas on how to shed pounds. Below are just a few of the craziest diets from history.
 1. Vinegar and Soda Water Diet
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Victorian era poet Lord Byron promoted eating nothing but biscuits dipped in soda water and potatoes soaked in vinegar. He was extremely thin and pale, which women apparently found very appealing. He died at 36 of malnourishment and overwhelming infection.  

2. Avoid Swamps


Thomas Short was a physician in the early 1700's. Toward the end of his career he wrote a remarkably thorough and hilariously inaccurate paper on obesity. One of his conclusions was that fat people live near swamps. There it is. The big secret. Staring us in the face the whole time. Just move away from the swamp.  

3. Fletcherism
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Horace Fletcher was a San Francisco art dealer. He recommended chewing your food for so long before swallowing it that it literally turned into pure liquid, and then spitting out whatever solids were left. Can you imagine having dinner with this guy? 
4. Werewolf Diet  
Based on the idea that moon phases control your digestion, this suggests you not eat any time there is a full moon. I can't imagine why this one didn't work.
5. Sleeping Beauty Diet
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Elvis Presley is said to have been a big proponent of this technique. The theory goes like this. If you are sleeping you aren't eating. Therefore, sleep as much as you can. Of course in Elvis' case all that sleep was aided by heavy doses of sedatives.
6. Tapeworms
Enough said. Yum.
  7. Wine and Eggs
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Helen Gurley Brown, the editor in chief of Cosmopolitan magazine for decades, developed this diet in 1962. Breakfast was a cup of black coffee, 1 egg and a glass of white wine. Lunch was a cup of black coffee, 2 eggs and 2 glasses of white wine. Dinner was a cup of black coffee, a steak, no eggs and finish the bottle of wine. Think I'm joking? Look it up. 
These all sound ridiculous to us now, but they would have all seemed plausible at the time and probably had millions of proponents. It will likely turn out that many of the things you hear "experts" say now will turn out to be just as dumb and ineffective as the things above.
For instance, there are at least 3 celebrity diets popular right now that are every bit as crazy as the ones above. Many of today's super skinny runway models are big fans of the cotton ball diet which instructs you to dip cotton balls in juice or other liquids and swallow them. The idea is that the cotton balls will expand in your stomach and make you feel full. Speaking of models, the Victoria's Secret Diet involves consuming nothing but protein powder and powdered egg. And then there is, of course, Kourtney Kardashian's favorite method of weight loss- eating your own placenta. 
Other current diets that may be destined for the trash heap of history are:
  • Eat for your blood type
  • Raw food diet
  • Alkaline food diet
  • Bone broth
  • Intermittent fasting
  • Ketogenic diet
  • Juicing
  • The "Master Cleanse"- Gwyneth Paltrow is a big fan of this and Gwyneth Paltrow is a little, well...., a little nuts.
  • Cinnamon, cayenne pepper, grapefruit, and other miracle foods
  • Anything Dr. Oz says
While we have much to learn yet, there are things we do know at this point. I'm pretty darn sure that swallowing tape worms is not a good idea. The "secret" to weight loss is probably a lot simpler than we ever realized. Try to follow 3 rules.
1. The vast majority of your calories should come from the perimeter of the grocery store (fruits, vegetables and lean protein).
2. Keep your calories at about 40% from lean protein, 30% from carbs and 30% from fat. (When we say carbs, we mean fruits and vegetables. Not bread, pasta and cereals.)
3. Avoid alcohol most nights of the week.
Unless your metabolism is completely wrecked, if you do these 3 things it is basically impossible to not reach a healthy weight.
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David J. Barnes, DO
Medical Director, Weight Loss Rx

Contact me:
630-870-1842 (call or text)

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