Weight loss through history: The good, bad and scary

Updated 12:39 PM ET, Tue July 7, 2015
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Fad diets come and go, but the idea of dieting itself has been around for centuries. From President Taft to Victoria Beckham, and the Grapefruit Diet to Slim-Fast, here's a look at some of the most famous (and infamous) moments in dieting history. Getty Images
1820: Lord Byron popularizes the Vinegar and Water Diet, which entails drinking water mixed with apple cider vinegar. Getty Images
1925: The Lucky Strike cigarette brand launches the "Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet" campaign, capitalizing on nicotine's appetite-suppressing superpowers. Stanford University
Mid-1950s: Urban legend has it that opera singer Maria Callas dropped 65 pounds on the Tapeworm Diet, allegedly by swallowing a parasite-packed pill. Getty Images
1963: Weight Watchers is founded by Jean Nidetch, a self-described "overweight housewife obsessed with cookies." Getty Images
1970: The Sleeping Beauty Diet, which involves sedation, is rumored to have been tried by Elvis. Getty Images
1977: Slim-Fast -- a shake for breakfast, a shake for lunch, then a sensible dinner -- becomes a diet staple. Getty Images
1978: Dr. Herman Tarnower publishes "The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet." Two years later he is shot to death by his girlfriend. Getty Images
1982: The aerobics craze steps into high gear when Jane Fonda launches her first exercise video, "Workout: Starring Jane Fonda." Her catch phrase: "No pain, no gain." Getty Images
1983: Jazzercise, founded in 1969 by professional dancer Judi Sheppard Missett, hits all 50 states. Corbis
1992: Dr. Robert C. Atkins publishes "Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution," a high-protein, low-carb plan. Getty Images
1999: Victoria Beckham starts the blink-and-it's-gone baby weight trend following the birth of her first son, Brooklyn. Corbis
2004: "The Biggest Loser" makes its TV debut, turning weight loss into a reality show. Getty Images
2006: Beyonce admits to using the Master Cleanse, a concoction of hot water, lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper, to shed 20 pounds for "Dreamgirls." Getty Images
2012: Jessica Simpson loses 60 pounds of baby weight on Weight Watchers. Getty Images