I'll admit I have gone on a few crash diets in my time, and yes they were a little crazy.  I cannot imagine going on some of the ones from the past.  Sheesh! 

#1.)  The Vinegar Diet. It was popular in the 1800s, and basically consisted of drinking massive amounts of vinegar, which resulted in vomiting and diarrhea.

--It was made popular by the poet Lord Byron, who suffered from severe anorexia and bulimia.

#2.)  The Chewing Diet. In 1903, a San Francisco art dealer claimed that he dropped 40 pounds by over-chewing his food.  And he said anyone could do it, just by chewing each bite at least 32 times.

--After chewing, you were supposed to let the food "trickle" down your throat instead of swallowing . . . which sounds like a major choking hazard.

--Then if any pieces of food were too big to "trickle", you had to spit them out in your napkin . . . which is just nasty.

#3.)  The Tapeworm Diet. This one was popular in the early 1900s, and the crazy thing is, it works.  If you ingest a tapeworm, it'll live in your stomach, feed off the food you eat, and make you lose up to one or two pounds a week.

--On the downside, you've got a worm living in your stomach that could eventually KILL you.  And it's so dangerous, the importing and selling of tapeworms is illegal in the United States.

#4.)  The Cigarette Diet. In the 1920s, cigarettes were also marketed as appetite suppressants, and Lucky Strike ads included the line, "Pass me a Lucky . . . I pass up the sweets."  The main side effect of the diet:  cancer.

#5.)  The Slimming Soap Diet. In the 1930s, special soaps were sold that could allegedly WASH your fat away.  Long story short, they didn't work.

#6.)  The Drinking Man's Diet. A book called "The Drinking Man's Diet" came out in 1964, and it was a hit with chubby alcoholics everywhere.  In two years, 2.4 million copies were sold, in 13 languages.

--It's basically all about avoiding carbs.  So it's like the South Beach diet, but you also have to drink hard liquor with every meal.

--Some people still swear by it, but that much drinking can obviously lead to OTHER problems in your life.

#7.)  The Cotton Ball Diet. Rumor has it, models still use this one to stay skinny.  It involves soaking cotton balls or tissues in water, then eating them before meals so you feel full on less food.  But it can seriously damage your digestive tract.

--Plus, you can accomplish the same thing by drinking a big glass of water before dinner, or eating sugar-free Jell-O . . . which tastes a lot better than cotton.


Eating a cotton ball?  Wouldn't this make a good story for My Strange Addiction?  I eat cotton balls to stay thin.