Dieting and Weight Loss

The Shipwreck Diet

Studies conducted by the U.S. Army in the late 1940s sought to determine the minimum amount of food a person would need to survive if they were shipwrecked on a desert island.

One of the oddities the researchers discovered was that if, for some reason, the shipwrecked person had to choose between steak and water, they should choose the water: "Protein has the effect of drying up the body. Therefore eating a steak on a desert island with little or no water available would probably be worse than eating nothing, depending upon how long rescue took."

"Shipwreck Diet: One of eleven Army volunteers who for six weeks will live on biscuits and water at the Metropolitan Hospital, New York City, to determine a human survival ration."
Newsweek - Mar 15, 1948

Waterloo Courier - Nov 16, 1949

Posted By: Alex - Mon Nov 16, 2020 - Comments (4)
Category: Food, Nutrition, Experiments, 1940s, Dieting and Weight Loss

Trim Reducing-Aid Cigarettes

The Cornell Drug Corporation came out with Trim Cigarettes in 1958, claiming that smoking three of them a day would reduce appetite and thereby help with weight loss:

Smoke a TRIM reducing aid cigarette and you'll be amazed to find yourself shaking your head as the food is passed around. There'll be no argument, you won't have to close your eyes and grit your teeth, you just won't want!

The FDA promptly banned them. More info: wikipedia

Miami News - May 16, 1958

Posted By: Alex - Sat Nov 14, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Smoking and Tobacco, 1950s, Dieting and Weight Loss

Roy Mack’s milk-diet tour

Roy Mack set off from New York on May 2, 1939, intending to walk to San Francisco. To make this more of a challenge, he decided to do this while living on a diet of only milk — about six quarts of it a day. He said he wanted to "prove you can live on milk." The media dubbed him the "human milk bottle."

By August he had reached Oklahoma City and had also lost 10 pounds in weight. He maintained this was due to all the exercise, not his milk diet.

I have no idea if he ever did reach San Francisco, because I can't find any news reports about him after Oklahoma City. Perhaps the milk diet got the better of him.

Pittsburgh Press - June 3, 1939

Posted By: Alex - Fri Oct 30, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Food, Publicity Stunts, Travel, 1930s, Dieting and Weight Loss

Bitten desserts in advertisements

Do consumers find images of desserts in advertisements more appealing if the desserts are whole, cut, or bitten?

The answer: it depends on whether or not the consumer is currently on a diet. That's according to research conducted by Donya Shabgard at the University of Manitoba for her 2017 master's thesis. From the thesis:

While participants without any dieting experience seemed to be unaffected by the bitten dessert, those with dieting experience who viewed the bitten dessert responded more favorably (higher purchase intentions, desirability evaluations, etc.) than those who viewed the cut and whole desserts. These findings were expected as research has shown that dieters differ from non dieters in their responses to food cues (Frank, Kim, Krzemien, & Van Vugt, 2010)...
These findings explain that the bitten dessert is percieved as more real and authentic in comparison to the cut and whole dessert, and, thus, these perceptions of realness resulted in its positive evaluations. After the bitten dessert, the cut dessert was perceived as being the next most real, with the whole dessert being viewed as the least real of the three.

via Really Magazine

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jun 02, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Food, Advertising, Psychology, Dieting and Weight Loss

Howard Obesity Ointment

The application is simplicity itself. You merely apply the ointment to the part you wish reduced, then literally, "wash the fat away" without injury to the most delicate skin.

I can't find any description of what was in this ointment, but it sounds like something out of a horror story.

Munsey's Magazine - vol 29, 1903

Posted By: Alex - Tue May 05, 2020 - Comments (4)
Category: Health, Advertising, 1900s, Dieting and Weight Loss

The Tummy Tutor

It also went by the name "Belly Beeper". The idea was that if you slouched or let your stomach out, it would start beeping. Supposedly this would train you to always keep your stomach muscles tensed and not slouch.

Either that or it would train you to avoid wearing it.

The Miami Herald - Oct 7, 1973

Posted By: Alex - Tue Apr 21, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: Inventions, 1970s, Dieting and Weight Loss, Stomach

Slimming Insoles

Created by Dr. Robert Metz, Slimming Insoles were advertised as “the first and only massage insole in the world which reduces weight and regulates the digestion system.”

Here’s a link to the 1997 FTC complaint against Metz and his company. It noted that, “In truth and in fact, scientific studies do not demonstrate that Slimming Insoles cause significant weight loss without changes in diet or exercise."

And yet, Slimming Insoles are still being sold. I'm not sure if Dr. Metz himself is selling them. But you can buy some at Amazon, and they make specific claims about causing weight loss: "These slimming magnets emit magnetic waves which weaken fat cells in your body... Lose weight by walking with magnetic insoles."

St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Mar 3, 1996

Posted By: Alex - Wed Dec 04, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Shoes, 1990s, Dieting and Weight Loss

Anti-Eating Face Mask

Patent No. 4,344,424, granted to Lucy L. Barmby of Sacramento, California in 1982. From the patent description:

a primary object of this invention is to provide a new and novel device for preventing the consumption of food by an individual.

It goes into more detail about who the invention might benefit:

The temptation to eat which leads one to eat excessively is ever present and the ready availability of attractively prepared, taste-tempting foods makes the temptation to eat and therefore to over eat virtually irresistible. Frequently, this temptation is so great that compulsive eating is not uncommon and many persons are virtually without the strength of will to resist overeating. The average person, therefore, does have a problem as to the over consumption of food but, even worse, when certain individuals are exposed to food constantly such as chefs, cooks, restaurant personnel or the like, it is a foregone conclusion that these individuals will consume far more food than is proper particularly when such food is usually readily available at no cost. Typical of such groups of individuals is the housewife who must frequently cook meals during the day which generally includes the preparation of such fattening foods such as pies, pastries, and the like. During the preparation of such meals not only is there the temptation to nibble on the food being prepared but it is generally necessary that the food be tasted during preparation thereby constantly stimulating the appetite and promoting the consumption of large quantities of food.

I'm imagining a husband preparing to go to work and strapping the anti-eating face mask on his wife before he leaves.

But couldn't the wearer just lift the mask off? Nope. It's locked on, though "under emergency conditions, the strap may be cut and the face mask of the invention removed."

Edmonton Journal - Oct 8, 2006

The invention reminds me of the Scold's Bridle, aka 'muzzle for ladies,' that some women were forced to wear back in olden times.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Nov 20, 2019 - Comments (5)
Category: Inventions, Dieting and Weight Loss

Flexitarian Sausages

Last year, New Zealand sausage maker Beehive debuted a line of sausages that it claimed were 'flexitarian'. This term describes a diet that is semi-vegetarian. So, a plant-based diet that only occasionally includes meat.

What made Beehive's sausages flexitarian? According to the company, it was because they were only 80% meat, and contained 20% plant-based filler.

By that standard, you might qualify as flexitarian if you only eat 4/5 of a sausage, instead of the whole thing.

More info: Beehive on Facebook, newshub

Posted By: Alex - Mon Aug 05, 2019 - Comments (2)
Category: Food, Dieting and Weight Loss

Page 1 of 3 pages  1 2 3 > 

weird universe thumbnail
Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

Contact Us
Monthly Archives
May 2021 •  April 2021 •  March 2021 •  February 2021 •  January 2021

December 2020 •  November 2020 •  October 2020 •  September 2020 •  August 2020 •  July 2020 •  June 2020 •  May 2020 •  April 2020 •  March 2020 •  February 2020 •  January 2020

December 2019 •  November 2019 •  October 2019 •  September 2019 •  August 2019 •  July 2019 •  June 2019 •  May 2019 •  April 2019 •  March 2019 •  February 2019 •  January 2019

December 2018 •  November 2018 •  October 2018 •  September 2018 •  August 2018 •  July 2018 •  June 2018 •  May 2018 •  April 2018 •  March 2018 •  February 2018 •  January 2018

December 2017 •  November 2017 •  October 2017 •  September 2017 •  August 2017 •  July 2017 •  June 2017 •  May 2017 •  April 2017 •  March 2017 •  February 2017 •  January 2017

December 2016 •  November 2016 •  October 2016 •  September 2016 •  August 2016 •  July 2016 •  June 2016 •  May 2016 •  April 2016 •  March 2016 •  February 2016 •  January 2016

December 2015 •  November 2015 •  October 2015 •  September 2015 •  August 2015 •  July 2015 •  June 2015 •  May 2015 •  April 2015 •  March 2015 •  February 2015 •  January 2015

December 2014 •  November 2014 •  October 2014 •  September 2014 •  August 2014 •  July 2014 •  June 2014 •  May 2014 •  April 2014 •  March 2014 •  February 2014 •  January 2014

December 2013 •  November 2013 •  October 2013 •  September 2013 •  August 2013 •  July 2013 •  June 2013 •  May 2013 •  April 2013 •  March 2013 •  February 2013 •  January 2013

December 2012 •  November 2012 •  October 2012 •  September 2012 •  August 2012 •  July 2012 •  June 2012 •  May 2012 •  April 2012 •  March 2012 •  February 2012 •  January 2012

December 2011 •  November 2011 •  October 2011 •  September 2011 •  August 2011 •  July 2011 •  June 2011 •  May 2011 •  April 2011 •  March 2011 •  February 2011 •  January 2011

December 2010 •  November 2010 •  October 2010 •  September 2010 •  August 2010 •  July 2010 •  June 2010 •  May 2010 •  April 2010 •  March 2010 •  February 2010 •  January 2010

December 2009 •  November 2009 •  October 2009 •  September 2009 •  August 2009 •  July 2009 •  June 2009 •  May 2009 •  April 2009 •  March 2009 •  February 2009 •  January 2009

December 2008 •  November 2008 •  October 2008 •  September 2008 •  August 2008 •  July 2008 •