In 1929, rumors went around about a diet in which Hollywood stars lost a pound a day for 18 days. Women who wanted to look like a movie star were avid to get the details for months before the actual diet was published by entertainment columnist Louella Parsons. Every meal for the 18 days was spelled out, but they contained little food, even less nutrition, and almost every meal required grapefruit. Every day started with a breakfast of grapefruit, melba toast, and coffee. It worked for Ethel Barrymore, who was desperate to lose the weight her studio demanded for a movie role. Be that as it may, the diet’s 500-600 calories a day was neither healthy nor sustainable for the many women and a some men who followed it. Actress Marietta Milner was on the diet when she contracted tuberculosis and died. Lesser-known women were passing out and even dying from the restrictive regimen. Read about the rise and fall of the 18-day diet at Mel magazine.
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