Fad diets are nothing new. In fact, people have been trying wild ways to lose (or, back in the day, gain) a few pounds since time immemorial, and have resorted to some outrageous diets over the years. Here are five of the funniest and most bizarre fad diets in history.
The Cigarette Diet
Cigarettes suppress the appetite, so some early advertisements for them took that fact to its logical conclusion and actually attempted to sell cigarettes as a diet product. Then the Surgeon General came knocking!
The Vinegar Diet
Back in the 1820s, poet Lord Byron (who also happened to be anorexic and bulimic), attempted to popularize the vinegar diet, in which large quantities of vinegar and water were consumed every day, along with tea with a raw egg mixed in. The end result? Severe gastrointestinal issues, which did indeed result in weight loss.
The Cabbage Soup Diet
The cabbage soup diet claims to help you lose 10 pounds in a week… because you’re essentially eating nothing but cabbage soup and fruit, with very little in the way of protein. It’s been largely discredited by doctors (if any weight is lost it’s just water weight), but it amazingly still has plenty of followers.
The Inuit Meat and Fat Diet
In the 1920s, an Arctic explorer named Vilhjalmur Stefansson spent some time living with the Inuit, and noticed that they were quite healthy even though they subsisted mostly on raw fish, caribou, whale blubber, and little to no fruits or vegetables. He actually came back to New York and lived on this diet for several months while under observation at Bellevue Hospital, and in the end was declared perfectly healthy.
The Prolinn Diet
Do ground-up slaughterhouse byproducts like bones, horns, hooves, hides, and tendons, mixed with artificial flavors, colors, and enzymes, sound delicious to you? If so, then you could have jumped on the Prolinn diet, created by one Dr. Roger Linn, back in the 1970s. We wouldn’t recommend it, though: the vile-sounding drink provided only 400 calories and nothing in the way of nutrients, and nearly killed many of its adherents.