64 The QUEE NS Courier • wellness • SEPTEMBER 17, 2015 for breaking news visit www.queenscourier.com wellness s It’s just a FAD By Doris A. Black The desire to lose weight and be thin is nothing new. Throughout history humankind has come up with some extreme measures involving specific foods as a means of obtaining the so-called ideal weight. In other words, fad diets have been around forever. One of the oldest recorded means of losing weight dates back to 600 B.C. It was a diet dependent strictly on a regime of fruit and vegetables. Still practiced today, we call it vegetarianism. Unlike vegetarianism, most fad diets promise quick weight loss but are seldom nutritionally balanced and are designed to be employed for only short periods of time. In the 19th century, some believed that consuming molasses in large quantities would result in weight loss. Others thought large doses of apple vinegar would do the trick and poured it over every meal. The poet Lord Byron is said to have subscribed to this method. Still others had their own ideas of the perfect diet. In 1938, Dr. George A. Harrop declared that a liquid diet of skim milk and fresh bananas would make a person lose weight and feel full at the same time. In the 1880s, the Banting diet was all the rage. It consisted of eating soft-boiled eggs, vegetables, lean meat and dry toast. Many fad diets seem to focus on one particular food. For example, in 1996, it was the cabbage diet that somehow contained the world’s answer to weight loss. Then there was the grapefruit diet, which consisted of not only eating grapefruit but taking grapefruit pills, too. Some people found success with these options, but most experienced intestinal gas. Green tea seems to be the modern weight-loss miracle. Some even subscribe to placing tea bags on the skin instead of ingesting it as a means of achieving weight loss. Liquid diets have been around for centuries. It is said that William the Conqueror in 1087 tried to lose weight by drinking only liquor and Dr. George Cheyne drank only milk to shed pounds in the 1700s. The Metrecal diet started in 1959 and was followed by Carnation’s Slender and today’s Slimfast products. All have met with some success, but the short duration of such diets makes permanent weight loss impossible. Eventually people realized that the means to losing weight was through changing eating habits and one of the earliest proponents of this idea was John Kellogg. Kellogg of Kellogg cereals practiced “Fletcherism,” a weight loss method developed by Horace Fletcher involving chewing food into obscurity, causing a person to eat more slowly and eat less in the long run. Kellogg was also a promoter of vegetarianism, and of course, expounded on the healthy benefits of his own cereals. They were declared to help a person achieve the perfect weight and excellent health. Others have since developed many methods of losing weight involving not just the ingestion of a single food but observing certain eating patterns throughout a lifetime. The first of such diets to become nationally popular was the Atkins diet. Although the Atkins diet has really taken off in the last year or two, it isn’t new at all. Dr. Robert Atkins introduced his high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet in 1972. A few years later, the Scarsdale diet hit the streets, promoting high protein and low calories. In 1979, low fat was the big motivator with Nathan Pritkin’s diet. Then, in 1981, the all-fruit diet was introduced by Judy Mazel. It was called the Beverly Hills Diet. This year, the South Beach diet is hot. Today we know that the best way to lose weight is to eat sensibly and exercise. There is no one magic food or diet plan that will work for everyone and there are no miracle pills. The best advice is to watch what you eat and take care of your body so you don’t gain the extra pounds in the first place.
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