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The 9 Weirdest Diets in History

From the poet's faddish potato diet to the Atkins, Dukan and current favorite the 5:2 fast, the search for effective weight-loss programs has been going on for centuries.

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7. Blood Type diet, 1997

In Eat Right for Your Type,  Peter D'Adamo, a naturopath, claimed that people should eat foods compatible with their blood type. Under his regimen, those with the O blood group, for instance, should follow a higher-protein/lower-carbohydrate diet, while those in the A group should be mainly vegetarian. He claims his diet will "lead you back to the essential truths that live in every cell of your body and link you to your historical, evolutionary ancestry".

8. The Dukan diet, 2000s

A French GP,  Pierre Dukan, developed his diet in the 1970s as a way of treating obese patients. But it was only in 2000, when he published his book in France (it was published in the UK in 2010), that the Dukan diet took off, selling around eight million copies to date. Like the Atkins diet, it involves four stages of weight loss and "stabilisation", with the final stage being a diet for life, including eating protein only one day a week.

9. The fasting diet, 2012

Fasting, sometimes known as the  5:2 diet (eat normally for five days; restrict calories to 500 for women, and 600 for men, on two non-consecutive days), is the current diet trend – though its supporters would describe it as advice for life rather than a fad diet – and there are claims it can reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. In the UK, the idea gained traction after Dr Michael Mosley took part in a  BBC2 Horizon documentary about the health benefits of fasting in 2012,  then published a book on the subject. Another book,  The 2 Day Diet, also advocating two low-calorie days per week, has just been published. Written by Dr Michelle Harvie, a dietitian, and Tony Howell, a professor of oncology at Manchester University, and based on their research, it gives weight to the 5:2 diet.

Emine Saner is a feature writer for the Guardian
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