At the beginning of time, malnutrition was the bane of humanity. Thanks to the 1800s, technology made food more accessible and exciting. But people also began to disregard their health out of will or ignorance, unwittingly creating another imbroglio. Thus, obesity was born! While there was so much to learn about the disease at that time, Victorian women were more radical in finding a cure. After all, they were struggling beneath their corsets! The salve? Tapeworms.
Created by a lady doctor in Scheffield City in Yorkshire, England, the tapeworm diet consisted of swallowing a pill filled with tapeworm larvae. Once the eggs hatched, women counted on them to eat whatever they put in their mouths and waited for the weight to come off. Indeed, there was no question about the magic of tapeworms in depleting the body’s nutritional stores, but the idea was as disgusting as it was dangerous—if only they knew it then. Doctors today are quick to warn against the potential complications of the tapeworm diet, including blocked bile ducts, respiratory failure, and dementia, among others. Unbelievably, the practice is still alive today.