Today marks the anniversary of the beginning of the Diet of Worms in 1521. Despite the intriguing name, It’s really quite prosaic: ?Worms? is a city in what’s now Germany, ?Diet? refers to a meeting of the heads of the Imperial States of the Holy Roman Empire, and the 16th-century assembly itself discussed the heavy historical and spiritual matters related to Martin Luther. Yet despite the historical significance, it’ll be always be most memorable to history students because of its odd and slightly disturbing name. However, even if the name were literal, it wouldn’t be the first bizarre diet; many have sprung up over the years. Here are a few of the strangest.
This time, actual worms. It’s believed that in the early 1900s, tapeworms in a capsule were peddled to those seeking a quick route to weight loss. While many of the sellers may have been quacks, some people do willingly infect themselves with tapeworms in order to lose weight, and there’s a booming business selling giant intestinal worms in Hong Kong. The science behind it: the tapeworm will consume some of the food you eat. Just reading about it is an appetite suppressant in itself!
Looking for a high-protein source That’s low in fat, easy to digest, and more environmentally sustainable than meat? Here’s a hint: you might have just hit one with your fly swatter. Researchers at Wageningen University in the Netherlands are investigating the logistics of changing from a Big Mac to a ?Bug Mac? in order to ensure adequate food supplies for the future.
The premise of this diet is simple: you fill up on cotton balls. As in, the kind from the drugstore. Sometimes they’re soaked in gelatin in order to ease digestion. Unbelievably, this diet is actually used, including, allegedly, by some modern celebrities.
Forget the liquid diets and their weak offerings of grapefruit juice and carrot smoothies. The original liquid diet, used by William the Conqueror before the year 1100, involved drinking nothing but . . . alcohol. Problem: alcohol is high in calories. It also impairs judgment. William died shortly after beginning his diet, when he fell off his horse.