Diet fads come and go faster than you can say "juice cleanse," and the definition of healthy eating changes all the time. Case in point: One week, eggs are in because they're great sources of protein, and the next week they're out because they drive up cholesterol levels. From crazy cleanses to low-carb mania and oatmeal, here are the popular health foods and fads throughout the decades.
Grab your quinoa and kale salad, sit back, and take a look at the health foods of yesteryear.
Romantic poet Lord Byron made The Vinegar Diet popular. The diet consists of drinking–you guessed it—lots of water mixed with vinegar.
This was the decade that brought us flappers, penicillin, and The Grapefruit Diet. Essentially, the diet entails eating only grapefruit, lean protein, and vegetables for lunch and dinner. That may not sound totally horrible (and grapefruit can actually help with weight loss), but throw in the fact that you're allowed just a measly 800 calories a day, and you're veering into unhealthy territory.
The Cabbage Soup Diet became popular in the '50s. For an entire week, you could only consume cabbage soup, veggies, fruit, low-fat yogurt, tea, and coffee. (And yes, it was as smelly as it sounds.) Eventually the craze died, but regained a little steam in the early 2000s thanks to celebrities like Sarah Michelle Gellar and Jaime Pressly.
You likely know someone who has tried the Master Cleanse (or maybe you even tried it yourself). That's probably thanks to Beyonce, who revived its popularity in 2006 when she credited it for her 20-pound weight loss for her role in Dreamgirls.
But back in the '70s, a man named Stanley Burroughs popularized this extreme diet, which involves drinking "lemonade" made from water, lemon, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper.
The '70s way to health-ify your food? Put some wheat germ on it. While wheat germ is packed with vitamins and nutrients, sprinkling it over unhealthy food doesn't magically transform it.
Granola: the hippie food that gained major popularity in the '70s. Unfortunately, it looks like this healthy snack isn't really too healthy at all, as most store-bought versions are packed with sugar and calories.
In the late '80s, a study came out that showed eating oats could help lower cholesterol levels. Naturally, people then went nuts for oat everything.
Sushi became very popular in America in the ‘80s as well, in part because people began to pay more attention to the health benefits of food like fish and vegetables.
Is butter a carb? In the ‘80s, butter was pitched as a healthy food because it was low in carbohydrates. But margarine was actually what people were buying more of; it was touted as a healthier and less expensive version of butter.
To this day, we still have a love-hate relationship with frozen yogurt. It was—and still is—seen as the healthy, low-fat alternative to ice cream, which moves us into the low-fat craze that really took off in the '90s.
The decade that gave us N'Sync and S Club 7 also gave us the height of the low-fat craze. While minimizing unhealthy fats, like vegetable oil, is a good thing, low-fat items are often packed with added sugar to make up for the lack of flavor. While S Club 7 may be getting back together for a reunion, let's keep those low-fat, sugar-filled yogurts in the past.
In the '90s, you could tell someone was on Atkins by the bunless burger sitting on their plate. Tons of people were on the high-protein, low-carb diet. Now, when you see someone with a bunless burger, it's pretty safe to assume they're trying Paleo.
Keeping in line with the anti-carb sentiments of the '90s, the Zone Diet focuses on finding the right balance of carbs, protein, and fat to balance out hormones and trigger weight loss. Eating low-fat protein, like skinless chicken breast and fish, and avoiding high-sugar fruits and veggies are staples of this method.
Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna popularized the macrobiotic diet in the early 2000s. This philosophy of eating brought back the carbs that were frowned upon in the '90s, in the form of high-fiber foods like brown rice.
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