Food historian Adrienne Rose Bitar says this vintage eating plan isn’t an oddity. She says a lot of these get-thin-quick schemes are laughable, but that “we’ve been going back and forth on the same diets for the last 160 years.” Here’s where some of our modern crash diets got their start.
The original juice cleanse - Victorians tried to cleanse the body because of dirty thoughts and swore off solid foods and drank seltzer waters and vinegar tonics. Then the Master Cleanse came along in the 1970s, convincing people to consume nothing but tea and lemon water spiked with maple syrup and cayenne pepper for 10 days.
The original indulgence diets - Bitar points out dieting is an industry and sometimes people come up with crazy ideas, that’s where indulgence diets come in. Makes sense, who wouldn’t want to sip wine or eat ice cream with hopes of shedding pounds? Domino - the sugar company - marketed the sweet stuff as a weight-loss aid back in 1950 and Robert Cameron came out with the “Drinking Man’s Diet” in 1964. It had you eat red meat, creamed spinach and lots and lots of booze. A great follow up was 1966’s “Martinis and Whipped Cream” diet, which also didn’t really work.
The original potato diet - Spuds as a weight-loss superfood isn’t a new idea. For a while, Lord Byron ate nothing but potatoes soaked in vinegar. There was the potato-and-milk diet in the 1930s and rumor has it Jackie Kennedy subsisted on one baked potato stuffed with Beluga caviar and sour cream a day.
The original 5:2 diet - The idea is you feast for five days then starve for two. Back in the day, Hollywood starlets followed the calorie slashing plans for three, five, or 10 days to drop pounds fast.
The original Paleo diet - Shunning gluten for health has a long history. A book published in 1825 warned starches, sugars, and flour-based foods make you “become ugly, asthmatic, and finally die in your own melted grease.” And the meat-heavy Stone Age Diet became popular in the 1970s, especially with men, who could “assert their masculinity while still losing weight.”
Source: New York Post