In order to understand the “shape” of weight-management, today, it’s helpful to know the evolution of the industry. World-wide obsession with dieting has been around for hundreds of years. The ideal figure has been sought since it was painted on vases.
Now, of course, it’s plastered on billboards and printed in magazines. The following is a recap of some of the more interesting and famous diets.
1917 Diet and Health is first published by Lulu Hunt Peters, a chronically overweight person. Peters teaches readers about “calories,” a term previously used only in physics, and advises a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet.
1930s Movie stars popularize the Hollywood 18-Day Diet. It consists of grapefruit, melba toast, green vegetables and boiled eggs.
1933 Mayo Clinic’s scientific diet, the Mayo Food Nomogram, is mistaken for a complicated word game and fades into obscurity.
1939 Miracle diet pills, a.k.a. amphetamines, generate sales of $30 million annually before the FDA steps in. Bathing-suit ad slogan: “Suit by Jantzen. Body by Dexaspan.”
1943 Metropolitan Life publishes Ideal Weight Table for women.
1947 Psychoanalyst Hilde Bruch says the glandular theory of obesity is not true. “The blubbery patient belongs not in the gym, but in the psychiatrist’s office.”
1951-1952 The New York Times claims overweight is our number-one health problem. Reader’s Digest admonishes wives to “Stop Killing Your Husband.”
1959 The New York Times now reports that Americans suffer “a dieting neurosis.” Gallup Poll finds 72 percent of dieters are women. Metracal, the first liquid diet proclaims: “Not one of the top 50 U.S. corporations has a fat president.” Girdle sales reach record highs.
1960 Stillman Diet, requiring eight glasses of water and filet mignon every day, is introduced. Overeaters Anonymous, inspired by AA is founded.
1961 A Queens, New York, housewife, Jean Nidetch, starts dieting discussion group. Seventeen years later, sells her Weight Watchers empire for $100 million.
1963 Coca-Cola introduces TAB. However, men won’t drink from a pink can.
1966 Atkins Diet published in Harper’s Bazaar. Eggs, bacon even pork rinds allowed; broccoli is restricted.
1967 Twiggy, 5’7″ and 91 lbs., appears on cover of Vogue four times.
1970 Seventy percent of American families using low-cal products; 10 billion amphetamines manufactured annually.
1977 Liquid protein diets banned after three deaths.
1979 The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet becomes a best-seller. Success is short-lived for creator, Dr. Herman Tarnower.
1982 John Hopkins University researchers calculate that Americans have swallowed more than 29,068 “theories, treatments and outright schemes to lose weight.” NFL endorses Diet Coke for men.
1990 Oprah Winfrey loses 67 pounds on Optifast; one year later, Oprah gains back 67 pounds and declares, “No more diets!”©Copyright 2010 / 2011
1992 The National Institutes of Health champions moderation and daily exercise as the best diet. Extreme obesity declared a disease.
1995 Fen-Phen (fenfluramin and phentermine) introduced to the market place as the new magic pill solution to weight-loss.
1997 Mayo Clinic releases report claiming fen-phen causes heart valve deterioration and possible permanent brain cell damage. Manufacturer voluntarily withdraws fen-phen and Redux from the market.
2000 American Home Products continues to defend against more than 2,000 class action suits brought against the company by parties claiming damaged from the company’s fen-phen-based products. Weider Nutrition settles with the FTC for “Unsubstantiated Claims for Dietary Supplements” for its Phen Cal products.
2002 Atkins returns along with South Beach as they and other low-carb diets become the new trend in weight-loss. Body Solutions, another quick-fix diet pill, file bankruptcy.
2003 Ephedra-based products are banned in California and other states as research points to overuse and abuse
causing serious injury and or death. Obesity reaches highest levels in U.S. history.
2004 Cortislim is charged by the FTC for “claiming, falsely and without substantiation, that their products can cause weight loss and reduce the risk of, or prevent, serious health conditions.
2005 Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig continue to dominate the commercial weight-loss industry with new claims and new games. The USDA introduces the new MyPyramid. It creates even more debate among food experts and fitness professionals.
2006 Hoodia, a plant-based appetite suppressant, begins heavy marketing to U.S. markets without much success. Jenny Craig introduces new weight-loss programs starring celebrities including Kirstie Ally, Vallerie Bertinelli and Queen Latifah.
2007 TrimSpa agrees to pay $1.5 million in January to settle allegations of false and misleading advertising brought by the Federal Trade Commission. In February, TripSpa spokesmodel, Ana Nicole Smith is found dead from a drug overdose.
2008 NutriSystem introduces new Advanced Program with pre-packaged foods delivered to consumers’ doors. Endorsees include former Miami Dolphins Quarterback, Dan Marino, Coach Don Shula as well as several other sports celebrities.
2010 Weight Watchers, NutriSystem and Jenny Craig continue to dominate commercial weight-loss industry. Bariatric or Lap Band surgery increases to become almost mainstream with its advertising campaign: Let your new life begin with 1-800-GET-SLIM. Several insurance companies cover the procedure. New diet drugs awaiting FDA approval include: Lorcaserin, Qnexa and Contrave. Obesity reaches new record levels in U.S. as 12 million Americans are considered severely obese, defined as more than 100 pounds overweight. Costs are estimated at $147 billion per year.
©Copyright 2010 / 2011
Arthur I. Rothafel, Inc, MediCorp
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