Crazy Fad Diets Of The Past

Girls in 1965 testing the electric vibro-massaging machines which aid slimming. (Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

Western beauty standards demand slimmer figures than come naturally to many of us, turning the diet industry into kajillion-dollar empire. Today's dieters might hop on the keto craze or the paleo bandwagon or even try some intermittent fasting, but those options seem as tempting as a double cheeseburger compared to the fad diets of the past.

The Tapeworm Diet

Wouldn't it be nice if everything we wanted to eat just magically disappeared from our stomachs before it had a chance to be processed and stored as fat? That was the promise of one of the more disgusting fad diets of the early 1900s, the tapeworm diet. According to vintage advertisements promoting this weight loss technique, a dieter just had to swallow a pill containing a tapeworm egg that would hatch in their stomach and eat up all the food they did. This wasn't a gimmick to hawk placebos to a gullible populace—it actually worked. Of course, it was also outrageously dangerous. The tapeworm could grow up to 25 feet long and caused seizures, cysts, meningitis, anemia, blindness, and liver failure. You're much better off just choking down that salad.