Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Library of Congress: Weight Loss Through the Ages

150 years of dieting fads and still no quick fix. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1/26/2011)

Excerpt: Before there was Dr. Atkins, there was William Banting. He invented the low-carb diet of 1863. Even then Americans were trying out advice that urged fish, mutton or "any meat except pork" for breakfast, lunch and dinner — hold the potatoes, please.

It turns out our obsession with weight and how to lose it dates back at least 150 years. And while now we say "overweight" instead of "corpulent" — and obesity has become epidemic — a look back at dieting history shows what hasn't changed is the quest for an easy fix.

"We grossly, grossly underestimate" the difficulty of changing behaviors that fuel obesity, says Clemson University sociologist Ellen Granberg, after examining archives at the Library of Congress. She believes it's important to show "we're not dealing with some brand new, scary phenomenon we've never dealt with before.

Fat-Fighting Fads Through the Ages. (ABC News)
Annals Of Weight-Loss Gimmicks: From Bile Beans To Obesity Soap. (NPR)
Decades of dieting delusions on display at the Library of Congress. (USA Today)

A hipper approach.

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