In any area of life, there is always something that sets the bar. Diets are no exception. Diets are full of fads and trends that seem to vary with the direction of the wind. The truth of the matter is that Americans spend upwards of $50 billion dollars a year on diet products. That is a lot of cash and makes fad diets a hot topic no matter what the temperature. Being the beginning of a new decade, let’s take a look at some of the hottest diet trends of the past century. Maybe we can figure out what is hot enough to keep, and what really needs to be thrown into a black hole of centuries past.
The roaring 1920’s, 1930’s to 1940’s. Times were good, minus a few wars, and the Great Depression. Skirts were short, and if you wanted to lose weight, your best advice was to smoke or try The Master Cleanse. Unfortunately, while curbing hunger, smoking causes all kinds of health issues, not the least of which is cancer and addiction, and ironically enough, the Master Cleanse has come back to life in 2010 as one of the diet trends of the year! Thank goodness we finally have no smoking laws. I actually read somewhere that some of the smoking companies ran campaigns about smoking instead of eating. We have come a long ways in 80 years.
The 1950’s: The world was still reeling from two world wars and a recovery was in place, at least in the U.S. I guess it makes sense that the biggest fad of the 1950’s, when it came to diet, was to pray for your diet to work. I am not going to step on this one too much. If you want to pray for your diet, pray away. I believe in the power of prayer, but as a fad? However, you are reading this right, the fad of the 1950’s for dieting was to pray for your diet rather than drink green tea.
1960’s: We still have these two around today. I have tried them. I don’t think the Cabbage Soup Diet holds much merit; but back in the 1960’s it was a big hit. Also introduced in the 1960’s were support groups such as Weight Watchers and Overeaters Anonymous. While considered fads, these groups are still around today, and have helped millions of people lose weight and keep the weight off. So, while said to be a fad, I call this one a stickler and something to keep “fadding” on.
1970’s, 1980’s, 1990’s: Oh the days of no bread and swallowing pills! The Atkins Diet and all of those yummy, healthy, diet pills hopped on the market. One of the problems with the diet pills was that they contained the drug phenylpropanolamine. This was a powerful appetite suppressant that had huge side effects on some people and was pulled from shelves. The Atkins Diet did work for some, but if you like bread, this one was not for you. The Atkins diet is all about protein-which is not a bad thing, but as I have said before, the best diets are about balance, and Atkins fails miserably in balance. Yet, it stuck around, and reemerged in the 1990’s.
2000’s: The 2000’s started out all about prepackaged meals to go. Healthy Choice, NutriSystem, the list goes on and on. It seems though, that the idea of eating smart, exercising and balance really is catching on for 2010. The idea of food being fun instead of the enemy is starting to make its way back into the mainstream. That’s a healthy trend that if it sticks, will be known as a fabulous fad for the 2000’s.