Diet fads.

The Tapeworm Diet

“The tapeworm diet is a draconian way of losing weight,” March says. A tapeworm is a parasite. You can get tapeworms unintentionally from undercooked, contaminated meat, especially pork. Untreated, a tapeworm infestation can be lethal. In the 1900s, hucksters sold pills that supposedly contained tapeworms that would eat the food in your stomach. “It’s absolutely inadvisable to infect yourself with something that could be dangerous to you,” says March. Importing or selling tapeworms is illegal in the United States.

People actually bought pills with tapeworms in them to lose weight.

The Chewing Diet

This diet fad is attributed to Horace Fletcher, who sold art in San Francisco in the early 1900s. He advocated chewing incessantly, until the food was purified, and then spitting out what remained. He supposedly had many fans, including novelist Henry James, industrialist John D. Rockefeller, and cereal mogul John Harvey Kellogg. “This diet at least has some science behind it,” March says. “Studies show if you take your time and eat more mindfully, you will feel full with less.”

Chew Chew on the choo choo will cause you to lose traction.

Ear Stapling

Ear stapling involves having surgical staples placed in the inner cartilage of the ear. The staples are believed to stimulate pressure points that control your appetite, similar to acupuncture. But after a few weeks, they become ineffective as a weight-loss tool because your body gets used to them. “I don’t know of any science that says this will work,” March says. “It might have a placebo effect. Better to tie a rubber band around your wrist and snap it to remind yourself not to overeat.”

I hear this one works if you staple all four ears.


What we do to lose weight is hard. If only we did not put on weight. If only we exercised daily. If only I was six foot two. If only I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth and not in my behind. So many If’s.

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