February 13, 2013

Tired Of Diet Fads That Don’t Work?

Recently, CNN posted an article about different diets throughout history. It listed diets that have had a positive and healthy impact, those that have been decidedly unhealthy, as well as those somewhere in between. So I thought a blog about the good, the bad, and the in between would help readers avoid the bad diets that do not work.

I am a fan of ending on a good note, so let’s look at those diets that have been less than positive in one way or another, move onto the in between diets, and end with good diets.


Of all the diets on the CNN listed, one stood out to me as particularly dangerous. In 1925, the Lucky Strike cigarette brand created a diet for sweet lovers. It launched its “Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet” campaign focusing its diet plan on nicotine’s appetite-suppressant capabilities. The worst part of this diet is obviously the damage to the lungs and hearts that we now know smoking causes, followed closely by the fact that this diet pushes not eating and smoking instead.

Another pretty dangerous diet came about in 1979 in the form of Dexatrim, a diet drug that contained phenylpropanolamine (PPA). However, in 2000 PPA was linked to an increased risk of stroke thus Dexatrim changes its formula. Obviously, any diet drug that increases risks of stroke is not a diet we should consider.

Like PPA diet drugs including ephedra also saw their fare share of interest; that is, until 2004 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the sale of diet drugs and supplements containing ephedra because studies linked it to heart attacks. Ephedra was thought to speed up the metabolism, but it really hurt the heart. Bad diet drug.


In the 1930s the Grapefruit Diet — also known as the Hollywood Diet — becomes popular. The Grapefruit diet combined low-cal meals with the requirement that one eats a grapefruit with every meal.

Similarly, in the 1950s, the Cabbage Soup Diet hits the market. This is another low-cal diet that requires eating limited calorie meals and cabbage soup every day.

1992 birthed the Atkins’ Diet, which combined high-protein with low-carb for weight loss. On the whole, this is a good diet for many; however, participants must be sure that they are eating healthy proteins, plenty of fruits and veggies, and still making sure they get their grains, though in severely limited portions.

Another In Between diet like the Atkins’ Diet is The South Beach Diet. This is a more moderate version of the Atkins’ Diet and has seen a more balanced approach to low-carb dieting.


American’s started the low-calorie diets in 1991. As we know, to lose weight we must take in less calories than we expend. Of course, we must be careful to take in the calories we need.

Weight Watchers landed on the scene in 1963. Since then it has seen success all over the place. Some of the famous users include Jennifer Hudson and Jessica Simpson, who both recently lost over 50 pounds using the famous plan. But the rich and famous are not the only ones who have had success with Weight Watchers. The general public also sought out the plan and lost their wanted pounds through the Weight Watchers regimen.

And other Good Diet plans came in the form of aerobics and Jazzercise. These diets combined exercise with watching what we eat to help us lose weight and have a healthier lifestyle.

The third Good Diet move happened in 1994 when the Guide to Nutrition Labeling and Education Act passed. This act requires food companies to include nutritional information on nearly all food packaging. This allows consumers to see what nutrients they are getting in the foods they eat. It also helps people to count carbs, proteins, and calories.

The CNN article listed several other diet fads, both successful and flops. Just a little bit of knowledge of what diets worked and what diets were dangerous will help us all to eat better, lose weight, and stay healthy.

Image Credit: Jaimie Duplass / Shutterstock

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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