“Fad” or Fact: Low-carbohydrate eating and health

8 Jan

Since 1863, following the writing of William Banting’s Letter of Corpulence, physicians would advise their obese patients to avoid carbohydrates, particularly sweets, starches, and refined carbohydrates, and this would continue for the part of the twentieth century. The Stanford University School of Medicine described the diet they prescribed for obesity in 1943, and it was almost the same as the diet prescribed at Harvard Medical School in 1948, which was the same as Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago in 1950, and at Cornell Medical School and New York Hospital in 1952. The “general rules” were:

1. Do not use sugar, honey, syrup, jam, jelly, or candy.

2. Do not use fruit canned in sugar.

3. Do not use cake, cookies, pie, puddings, ice cream, or ices.

4. Do not use foods which have cornstarch or flour added such as gravy, or cream sauce.

5. So not use potatoes (sweet or Irish), macaroni, spaghetti, noodles, dried beans or peas.

6. Do not use fired foods prepared with butter, lard, oil or butter substitutes.

7. Do not use drinks such as Coca-Cola, ginger ale, pop or root beer.

8. Do not use any food not allowed on the diet and only as much as the diet allows [referring to any other food’s use].

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