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The Diets That Time Forgot Reality Show

The Diets That Time Forgot

A hundred years ago, women's waists were 10 inches smaller, and the average man was 20 pounds lighter. Most people died of infectious diseases such as scarlet fever and cholera. But today, self-inflicted deaths such as heart disease caused by obesity are to blame. What tricks did our ancestors know that we've forgotten about? Historian Sir Roy Strong set out to find out with nine overweight volunteers. In the British reality show The Diets That Time Forgot, the participants were split into three groups, with each team following a different diet and fitness regime from the past.

  1. Victorian Diet known as the Banting Diet (1860s): a diet of mostly meat and low in carbs, strict portion sizes, no beer, no sugary foods, similar to the Atkins Diet
  2. Edwardian diet known as the Chew Chew Diet (from 100 years ago): allowed to eat whatever they want but must chew each bite 32 times. Whatever food didn't slide down the throat when the participant tilted their head back had to be spit out.
  3. 1920s diet known as the Lulu Diet (from 80 years ago): calorie-controlled diet consisting of mostly fruits and veggies, only 1,200 calories a day

The nine participants moved into a magnificent Victorian country home for 24 days and wore clothes from the period of the diet they followed, including waist-cinching corsets and thigh-squeezing girdles. Aside from their strict diets, they also underwent bizarre fitness plans that included posture lessons, ice cold baths, and military drills.

Did these diets from the past work? You can find out by watching the six-episode series yourself. To see a video clip of the show,



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inlove23 inlove23 6 years
Defiantly interesting, yet all these diets (regardless of the time periods) are screaming fad diets. I'm really interested in seeing how it plays out though!
Spectra Spectra 6 years
I'm pretty sure a lot of why people back in the day were thinner than we are today is because they weren't eating 24/7. If you think about it, people in today's society are programmed to eat at every possible moment. Our relatives and ancestors ate two or three times a day and the food was probably not as great-tasting as it is now (they didn't add MSG and HFCS to everything).
runswimmerrun runswimmerrun 6 years
I was reading my grandmother's diary (she passed a few years back and I inherited it). In 1942, she frequently would mention someone passed out at school, or even a football player that just fainted during a game. I asked an old coworker (born 1930) about this and he said, most people didn't have that much food, yet.
GirlOverboard GirlOverboard 6 years
lol - In total agreement with all three of the above commenters! I don't know that anything in the show would really be a good guideline for good health, but I'm certainly interested in seeing it!
rach1007 rach1007 6 years
at first glance, this reminded me of the Michael Pollan Food Rule that says "don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food". I believe the reason men and women weighed less is because they were more active (no cars, etc), and didn't have processed food to eat. This could have been such a better program if they really tried to teach healthy habits. But in my opinion, a fad diet is a fad diet, whether it's from today or the 1800s!
runningesq runningesq 6 years
Whatever food didn't slide down the throat when the participant tilted their head back had to be spit out. Would not make you popular at dinner parties !
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 6 years
"What tricks did our ancestors know that we've forgotten about?" Famine?
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