Calories & Corsets, By Louise Foxcroft
Arifa Akbar is literary editor of The Independent and i newspapers. She has worked at The Independent since 2001 as a news reporter and arts correspondent before joining the books desk in 2009. She was a judge for the Orwell Prize for books 2013, and the Fiction Uncovered Prize 2014.
Saturday 12 January 2013
This history of dieting proves that the ancient Greek concept of "diatetica" - eating for health and wellbeing - has not yet been perfected by two centuries of rabid dieters.
The fad diet is tracked back to the 19th century when body-size became connected to celebrity and fashion.
The roster of "miracle" cures have ranged from the ancient Greek liking for vomiting to eating soap, manic mastication and, most amusingly, the dieter's prayer of 1967: "I promise not to sit and stuff/ But stop when I have had enough." If only.
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