The Weight of History

A sensible serving of dieting highlights.

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1963: Weight Watchers founded by a Queens woman whose friends helped her curb cookie cravings.

Martini Glass

1964: The Drinking Man’s Diet advocates martini lunches, sells 2.4 million copies in 13 languages.

1972: Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution is published.
The American Medical Association calls it a “serious threat to health.”

1977: Slim-Fast promotes its “shake for breakfast, a shake for lunch, and a sensible dinner” mantra.

The Last Chance Diet recommends abstaining from all food except a protein drink of ground animal horns, hooves, hides, tendons, and bones. It sells 2.5 million copies.

Slim Fast

1980: Dr. Herman Tarnower, the creator of the wildly popular Scarsdale Diet, is murdered by his lover.

1981: Fruit-heavy Beverly Hills Diet craze attracts followers such as Jack Nicholson, Jodie Foster, Maria Shriver, and crooner Engelbert Humperdinck.

1988: A 145-lb Oprah displays 67 lbs of animal fat—equivalent to the weight she lost on a liquid protein diet.

1992: Oprah hits 237 lbs, hires fitness guru Bob Greene.
Oprah Winfrey
Dr. Atkins releases his New Diet Revolution, one of the top 50 best-selling books of all time.

1996: Fat substitute olestra hits the market amid reports of “anal leakage.”

2002: 280-lb Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee is told he has 10 years to live. He loses 110 lbs, starts anti-obesity crusade.

2004: Bill Clinton says he lost 35 lbs with the South Beach Diet and “working out with a German man.”

2005: Atkins Nutritionals declares bankruptcy.

2007: US diet industry reaches $58 billion.

2004: Americans spend $46 billion on diet products.

2004: 13% of Americans try low-carb diets. Krispy Kreme blames its losses on Atkins. A Florida man sues Atkins for a blocked coronary artery.

Slim Shady

2008: Eminem, a.k.a. Slim Shady, turns down Slim-Fast’s offer to be its spokesman.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

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