In another one of those strange office debates that go on through digressions, segues, and tangents, we ended up discussing fiendish weight loss methods. For those interested in charting the course of how we got on that subject, it started with the subject old television commercials.
After Rodney Allen Rippy, and Clara “Where’s the Beef” Peller, we then went on to “what would you do for a Klondike bar?” This eventually devolved into “what would you do (have you done) to lose weight?”
Fats using protein derived from boiled animal parts, pig urine injections and tapeworms in capsules were the top ones I recall. The tapeworms required a visit to Urban Legends for some verification. Here is what they say on the matter….
Some versions of this legend [referring to ingesting capsules with tapeworm larvae for weight loss purposes] specify that once the vain one has lost all the extra poundage desired, she takes deworming pills to be rid of the tapeworm.
Origins: As unlikely as this must sound, there might be some reason to believe tapeworm diet pills were once marketed in the United States between 1900 and 1920. A number of sources have indicated encountering advertisements for such products, but whether the products advertised actually matched their descriptions would be difficult to verify. (That is, just because an ad for a diet pill proclaimed the product contained tapeworms doesn’t mean it really did — duping people into buying medicinal nostrums with all sorts of false and exaggerated claims was standard procedure in the days before government regulation of food and drug products.)
In the 1960s, memories of those ads resurfaced as appetite-suppressant candy came into vogue, prompting curious dieters to speculate on how they worked. By 1970, diet pills were all the rage, and amphetamines accounted for 8% of all prescriptions written that year. Simple reports about various wonder products evolved into appalling whispered-behind-hands tales about women so desperate to keep their figures that they routinely swallowed magic diet pills which were really tapeworms in capsules.
Sometimes the tidbits ended there as “Did you know . . .?” shared tales, but other times the buzz was expanded into tragic tales detailing the gruesome deaths that had befallen some beautiful but vain young things.
I’m now certifiably “cured” from weight loss “cures”!