Extreme and ridiculous diets of old Hollywood: tapeworms and 8000-calorie sandwiches

Now many celebrities are addicted to gluten-free diets or switch to a raw food diet, but strange eating habits are not a new trend. If you go back 60-70 years ago, you can see that the stars of that time also used dangerous or simply absurd ways to lose weight. Marilyn Monroe drank raw eggs whipped with milk, and Elvis Presley could sleep for three days in a row to eat less. These methods were adopted by ordinary people, and completely insane diets appeared-from swallowing worms to chewing food 700 times.

Extreme and ridiculous diets of old Hollywood: tapeworms and 8000-calorie sandwiches

Food historian Helen Zoe Veit, who studied the twentieth century for 15 years, says that at that time there were a lot of funny and strange diets, because mass media was developing rapidly and people wanted to achieve the same figure as their idols from television and movies. "The rise of the culture of stars in our country is inseparable from the development of visual culture: suddenly, photographers, videos, advertising appeared simultaneously... In the 1920s and 1930s, photos began to be massively reprinted in cheap newspapers and magazines-so the cult of celebrities and thinness was born."

Extreme and ridiculous diets of old Hollywood: tapeworms and 8000-calorie sandwiches

Opera singer Maria Callas from 176 kilograms in a year reached 136. It is believed that she used a tapeworm for this. In the 1940s, this was a popular way to lose weight: you had to swallow a worm so that it absorbed the food that a person eats.

Extreme and ridiculous diets of old Hollywood: tapeworms and 8000-calorie sandwiches

When Callas entered the world of opera in 1947, she was pleased with her build, although by today's standards it is considered obese. But then the director Luchino Visconti gave her an ultimatum: they will not work together for "La Scala" until Maria loses at least 31 kilograms.

In Mexico, it is fashionable to use a tapeworm for weight loss, it can cost up to $ 1,500. Dr. Tanya Zuckerbrot, who has worked as a nutritionist with the stars for more than 20 years, says that the parasite seriously harms the body. If you eat undercooked meat of an animal infected with tapeworm, it can lead to cysticercosis — the disease has a toxic effect on the nervous system and can cause paralysis. The processes of digestion and absorption of nutrients in the small intestine are also disrupted.

Extreme and ridiculous diets of old Hollywood: tapeworms and 8000-calorie sandwiches

Although Callas has lost weight, she still has an insatiable appetite. The star adored cooking and continued to collect recipes from chefs around the world, even if she couldn't try them anymore: omelet with tomatoes, lemon cupcakes, custard donuts. According to biographer Callas, writing down recipes replaced the singer's pleasure from eating.

Having lost weight, she continued to arrange fashionable dinners, but carefully chose dishes for herself while the guests enjoyed the meal. The photo was taken in 1965, here Callas is sitting next to the millionaire Aristotle Onassis, who soon left the singer, and three years later married Jacqueline Kennedy.

By the 1950s, curvy women became fashionable, but extreme diets did not go away, and even Marilyn Monroe, who weighed 53 kilograms with a height of 166 centimeters, used tough methods of losing weight.

Extreme and ridiculous diets of old Hollywood: tapeworms and 8000-calorie sandwiches

Marilyn Monroe in underwear and a silk robe in an advertisement for the film "How to marry a millionaire", released in 1953.

Extreme and ridiculous diets of old Hollywood: tapeworms and 8000-calorie sandwiches

In September 1952, the actress told Pagrant magazine that she eats raw eggs shaken with milk for breakfast. "I was told that I have extremely strange eating habits, but I do not agree with this. I think this is the most nutritious breakfast for a working girl who is in a hurry — no doctor can advise anything better."

Extreme and ridiculous diets of old Hollywood: tapeworms and 8000-calorie sandwiches

For dinner, the star ate fried liver and raw vegetables (she especially loved carrots). But at the same time, in the evenings after classes at the theater school, the actress often went to the ice cream parlor for dessert with hot chocolate fudge. Monroe explains: "I am sure that I would not be able to afford this weakness if my usual diet did not consist of proteins alone."

Despite the ice cream in the evenings, the actress kept her waist with a girth of 62 centimeters. Perhaps it's a matter of daily ten-minute workouts: every morning, Monroe lifted a small load about 15 times — until she was "tired". She has never played sports seriously: "I can't stand training if it is too regulated. I have never been interested in sports, especially outdoor games. I never wanted to succeed in tennis, swimming or golf. I'd rather leave it to the men."

Extreme and ridiculous diets of old Hollywood: tapeworms and 8000-calorie sandwiches

Now famous men are expected to have a sporty, muscular physique, but in the 1960s, singers and actors aspired to thinness: for example, Paul McCartney weighed 68 kilograms. Elvis Presley at the beginning of his career weighed 77 kilograms with a height of 182 centimeters, but drug addiction and bad eating habits brought the star to 117 kilograms.

The singer could eat a whole loaf of bread without crumb, putting in a whole jar of peanut butter, a jar of grape jelly and half a kilogram of bacon. One such sandwich contained 8,000 calories, which is about three times the daily norm. According to Jenkins, Presley could ask her to make a sandwich at any time of the day: in the morning, as soon as he woke up, and even at two in the morning. The time and place didn't matter to Presley when it came to food: he even asked Mary to bring him junk food to the hospital when he had to adhere to a healthy diet. Once the singer admitted to his assistant that only food makes him happy.

To lose the gained 50 kilograms, the singer, according to rumors, used a "sleeping" diet. Its essence is that sleep time affects weight loss. Therefore, Presley could sleep for three days, just not to eat and then get into his trademark white suit. In the end, strange eating habits and drugs brought the star to constipation, glaucoma, high blood pressure, liver damage and an enlarged colon. On the last day before his death, the singer surprised the housekeeper by telling her that he did not want to eat. The next morning he was found dead.

Extreme and ridiculous diets of old Hollywood: tapeworms and 8000-calorie sandwiches

Elizabeth Taylor was a Hollywood icon, but after she was injured and bedridden, the star began to overeat fried chicken and intricate desserts. From 1951 to 1979, the actress gained more than 10 kilograms.

Extreme and ridiculous diets of old Hollywood: tapeworms and 8000-calorie sandwiches

After her seventh marriage, Taylor decided to go on a diet and switched to protein foods: cottage cheese with sour cream and steaks with peanut butter for dinner. She described her diet in the book Elizabeth Takes Off, published in 1988.

Keywords: Actresses | Hollywood | Diet | Marilyn monroe | Singers | Nutrition | Elvis presley | Elizabeth taylor

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