In ancient times, when food was simple and healthy, humanity did not know the problem of excess weight, on the contrary, it was often problematic to feed the family. Our ancient ancestors made an enormous amount of effort to get food, and ate only to get energy. Excess weight simply nowhere to take. The word "diet" denoted then the "way of life", and the need for special nutrition arose only in the case of diseases. With the growth of the welfare of the society, the food gradually improved, the food became more accessible, and people were able to pamper themselves: new overseas products appeared and sophisticated methods of cooking, exciting appetite, but leading to a decrease in the useful properties of products. All this led to the fact that in the 19 century, mankind first encountered the problem of excess weight, though at that time it was the privilege of the nobility. The beginning and middle of the 19 century can be considered the time of the appearance of diets in the modern sense of the word. Since then, mankind has come up with a variety of ways of eating, many of which can cause only a smile of a nutritionist. Nevertheless, knowledge about the diets of the past will help you not to fall for the bait of modern scammers.
The first author's diet dates back to 1087 year. Her inventor was William the Conqueror, King of England. Finding that no horse can withstand his weight, he completely refused food, replacing it with wine and beer. As far as such a diet proved to be effective, it is not known, since soon its inventor died, having fallen from a horse.
The first documented sample of a fairly consistent diet is found in the biography of Lord George Gordon Byron. Being quite well-nourished, he sought to lose weight and achieve "noble pallor." For this, as well as to compensate for congenital lameness, he engaged in sports and refused meat, which only added to him blush. Then Lord Byron began to drink vinegar before eating and even soak the food in it. His main meal was rice, and drinking – water with vinegar. Mysterious pallor and weight reduction Byron achieved, but lived after this for long. At the age of 36 he died after a long fever, and an autopsy revealed that his internal organs were badly worn.
What caused Byron to resort to vinegar? He probably knew the works of Hippocrates, who wrote about the benefits of vinegar in the treatment of joints and problems with digestion. For weight loss vinegar was used due to its properties to break down fat. The Byron vinegar diet has found a new life in America in the 1970. Her supporters drank a few spoons of apple cider vinegar before eating to suppress the appetite. There were even vinegar tablets for those who could not stand the taste of vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is quite useful – it contains traces of minerals and vitamins, stimulates digestion and even prevents the formation of cholesterol plaques, but using an acetic diet to get rid of excess weight, we expose the organism to increased danger: useful properties are only natural apple cider vinegar that is easily confused with acetic essence. To achieve results, the vinegar diet provides a balanced diet and exercise. As for suppressing appetite, the same effect has a glass of clean water, drunk before eating, so that the properties of vinegar are greatly exaggerated.
In the 1830-ies, the American Presbyterian preacher Sylvester Graham developed a kind of diet, aimed primarily at eradicating the sins of gluttony and adultery, and the loss of extra pounds was foreseen as a bonus. Graham's diet excluded meat and other products of animal origin, as well as alcohol, tea, coffee, salt and other spices, as they cause appetite and other carnal desires. The preacher considered the main food of the Christian the bread of coarse grinding and even developed a recipe for fresh crispy loaves, which still bear his name – Graham. Graham was one of the first to oppose the usual practice at that time of adding chlorine compounds to the bread for bleaching flour, which aroused the anger of corporations producing bread and baking.
It is interesting that the preacher's works formed the basis for a traditional American breakfast – sweet instant flakes. Spouses Kellogg, followers of Graham, in an effort to suppress carnal desires developed a recipe for porridge from ground wheat, corn and acorns. Naturally, such a dish was not in demand, but soon John Kellogg in his dream opened a way of making flakes by soaking and flattening the grains. After much experimentation, he managed to make thin crunchy flakes of wheat and corn, but as is usually the case in America, the pursuit of profit destroyed the idea: John Kellog's brother, far from struggling with human passions, began adding sugar to the flakes, so that they sold better. In the first year, a huge amount of sweet corn flakes was sold, and the brothers became enemies for the rest of their lives.
At the end of 19 – the beginning of the 20 century in America and Europe, hunger disappeared, completeness ceased to be perceived as a sign of affluence, and a fashion for slenderness appeared. Roles have changed: wealthy people have now become slender, and the poor – complete. Among the wealthy people spread the "theory of long chewing", developed by British politician William Gladstone and Dr. Fletcher. Fletcher's method included chewing each piece of food at least 32 times and mixing all the liquids entering the body with saliva for better digestion. To this method, Rockefeller and cadets of military academies resorted. By the way, Fletcher himself also became a millionaire due to the high sales of his books.
Then, at the end of the 19 century, a sugar substitute, saccharin, was invented, which allowed not only to produce cheap sweets, but also to use them without fear for a figure. The appearance of saccharin can be considered the beginning of the slimming industry. In the absence of state control, numerous charlatans offered wealthy citizens "miracle" means for losing weight: soda, strychnine, mercury, arsenic in a beautiful package. One businessman, disguised as a means of not limiting himself to food, sold capsules with tapeworm larvae. The dietlessness of the beginning of the century ended only with the outbreak of World War I.
Right after the First World War and before the Great Depression in America, the so-called cigarette diet was in vogue. Cigarettes Lucky Strike in 1925 were advertised with the slogan: "Take Lucky instead of candy" ("Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet"). The effectiveness of the cigarette diet was explained by the fact that nicotine suppresses the appetite. We do not need to talk about the consequences of such a diet for health, we think, it is not necessary.
The Eskimo Diet
Villalmur Stefanson, an ethnographer studying the peoples of the Arctic, offered the world the so-called Eskimo diet (Inuit Diet) in 1928. After spending a lot of time with the Eskimos and eating their traditional food, the researcher noticed that their diet is good for a white man. Although Eskimos almost do not eat plant food, they do not have avitaminosis and many diseases that have become typical for Europeans. The reason for this – in a large number of fresh fish, rich in fatty acids. Since the amount of fats in the diet of Eskimos is small, and carbohydrates are almost absent, a day consumes an average of about 1200 calories, which contributes to the rapid disposal of excess weight. The only problem is that residents of modern cities do not have the opportunity to eat freshly caught fish and meat that has not been frozen, so the Eskimo diet will quickly lead a white man to sluggishness and illness.
In 1934, Dr. George Harrope developed a very attractive diet for sweet tooth, consisting of bananas and cream (Bananas & Skim Milk Diet). It was, in fact, a hidden advertising banana company United Fruit Co, designed for those who want to lose weight. Although there is nothing dangerous in bananas and cream, but on the contrary – easily digestible proteins, potassium, calcium, vitamins – it is not necessary to talk about the effectiveness of such a diet in combating obesity, not to mention the ethics of such advertising.
The first weight loss pills
In 1930, American doctors noticed a reduction in weight in warehouse workers dealing with paints, insecticides and explosives. It turned out that all these products contain dinitrofrole – a substance that enhances metabolism, and therefore – burning body fat reserves. After discovering these properties of dinitrophrine, the Soviet Army began experiments on its use to increase the tone of soldiers, and in the United States this substance was widely used for weight loss. Around 100 000 people took advantage of the new tool. Its further spread prevented several cases of vision loss and several deaths associated with overdose.
Cabbage Soup Diet
In the 1950, the so-called cabbage soup diet was also very popular, also known as the "heart's diet", "military diet", "Russian peasant diet" and even "General Motors diet". This diet is based on the fact that cabbage is one of the most low-calorie foods. According to the developers, for a week on such a diet you can lose up to 5 kg, while eating as much cabbage soup as your heart desires, and sometimes allowing yourself a little meat and vegetables. However, nutritionists say that such a diet leads to a loss of fluid, rather than fat, and a lack of protein in a few days can lead to serious consequences. In addition, the side effect of the cabbage diet is increased gassing and aversion to cabbage for life.
Hollywood or grapefruit diet appeared in 1930-x, but became popular only in 1970-x. This diet provides for the consumption of grapefruit or grapefruit juice with each meal and reduce the diet to 800 calories per day. The grapefruit diet promises to get rid of 4-5 kg for 10 days, which may well be true, however, the danger of this diet is that increased acidity is harmful to the enamel of the teeth and the mucous membrane of the stomach and intestines.
Many of these diets appeared before important discoveries were made in dietology, so something seems naive and even stupid. In the second part of the article you will find out what methods of combating excess weight are offered to a modern person, and make sure that, in spite of scientific progress, there are no fundamental differences, and everything new is a well-forgotten old.
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