A Brief History of Extreme Diets
Tapeworms, cotton balls, and cigarettes—not exactly the breakfast of champions, but at one point these (and a dozen other items) were featured ingredients in the craziest diet menus of all time.
See also the never-eat-again diet.
1925 The Cigarette Diet:
Advertisements recommended smoking a cigarette to curb your appetite when hungry. Consumers followed suit.
1940 The Master Cleanse:
Disciples of Stanley Burroughs drank a mix of lemonade, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. It's still popular with the A-List crowd.
1954 The HCG Diet:
Brought back to popularity by Snooki in 2011, dieters inject themselves with a hormone found only in pregnant women that uses stored fat as nutrition—for the fake baby that your body thinks it's carrying.