The Tapeworm Diet
Although the Tapeworm Diet was first popularized in the 1920s, it had a brief resurgence in the '50s, for reasons that are best not delved into here. Swallowing a tapeworm egg meant that you'd soon be sharing your calories with a new dinner guest.
The Prayer Diet
The 1950s not only introduced color TV and seat belts but a new Christian dieting trend: prayer. Books like "I Prayed Myself Thin" and "Help Lord — The Devil Wants Me Fat!" soon became high in demand — and low in effectiveness.
The Sleeping Beauty Diet
"If you're sleeping, you can't eat," was the theory behind this innovative plan. Elvis and "Valley of the Dolls" character Neely O'Hara swore by it, sleeping for days after heavily sedating themselves, presumably to shed pounds. Um, yeah, right.
The Calories Don't Count Diet
The 1961 national bestseller "Calories Don't Count" promised you could eat as much as you wanted, as long as you washed it all down with Dr. Taller's vegetable oil pill. Too bad Taller was convicted a year later for mail fraud and peddling safflower oil.
The Last Chance Diet
"The Last Chance Diet" (1970) by Dr. Robert Linn promoted replacing food with Prolinn: a concoction of crushed animal horns, hooves, hides and other broken down slaughterhouse by-products. If you're interested, the book's still available on Amazon starting at $0.01.
The '70s, along with its many other recreational drugs, brought diet pills ... and plenty of them. Side effects included vomiting, abdominal pain and a racing heartbeat.
The Cookie Diet
Dr. Siegal's Cookie Diet, created in 1975, consisted of eating six of his not-so-delicious cookies a day and a 300-calorie dinner. Six cookies a day might have kept the pounds away, but really, it didn't.
The Cabbage Soup Diet
Popularized in the '80s, the Cabbage Soup Diet left you gassy, unsatisfied, starving and, if you were lucky, a little bit thinner.
The Blue Shades Diet
Dieters wore these blue-tinted shades to make food look less appealing and — as the theory goes — eat less. Although the fad soon fizzled, people who tried it looked kind of cool.
The Cotton Ball Diet
This '00s diet claimed that ingesting cotton balls would fill you up more quickly without caloric consequences. We know, we can't believe this one really existed either.
The Ear Stapling Diet
This '00s acupuncture-inspired diet inserted a surgical staple into the inner ear cartilage, stimulating pressure points to suppress appetite. Side effects included severe infection and a repulsive fashion statement.
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