What should Fat Betty do From the baby formula diet to safflower oil shots, how women kept their weight down in the Sixties
21:02 GMT, 16 April 2013
21:51 GMT, 16 April 2013
Though she may no longer be quite so 'Fat Betty', Mad Men's Mrs Francis is still trying to 'reduce' in the newest episodes.
And it seems that in the late Sixties, when the current season is set, there were some bizarre ways of doing so.
According to Today.com, a diet of shakes based on baby formula was a popular means of dropping pounds, as was one bestselling low-carb regime called 'Calories Don't Count' that required one to do 3oz safflower oil shots before each meal.
'Reducing' – Sixties-style: Though she may no longer be quite so 'Fat Betty', Mad Men's Mrs Francis is still trying to cut back on calories in the newest episodes
Other diets required dieters to drink nothing but buttermilk or only eat a half-pound of meat a day – both formed part of a series of diets by Brooklyn-based doctor Irwin Maxwell Stillman.
Equally extreme was Dr Stillman's 'semi-starvation diet', which is much as it sounds with a daily intake of just one
hard-boiled egg, 8oz milk, 3.5oz salad without dressing and
eight glasses of water 'for as long as you could take it.'
The 'baby formula diet', though, was by far and away the most popular. The Slim Fast of its day, Metrecal was originally developed as baby formula, though when dieters started drinking it to drop pounds, it was repackaged as a weight-loss formula in 300-calorie cans.
Eat your heart out, Don: A Sixties ad for Metrecal – a diet of shakes based on baby formula that became a hugely popular means of dropping pounds
Steak substitute: Metrecal, seen in a 1969 ad, was so popular, even the White House lunch room served it
'It caught on tremendously. It became one of the biggest diet crazes of all time,' Susan Yager, author of The Hundred Year Diet, told Today.
interesting about the Sixties is dieting was a solution without a
problem, because Americans weren't very heavy'
House lunch room served it, and Trader Vic's offered a 325-calorie
“lunch,” which was 1.5 ounces of rum mixed with nutmeg, and Metrecal.'
One Sixties diet certainly would have appealed to real-life Don Drapers with a title like The Drinking Man's Diet – it was hugely popular, selling 2.4million copies when it was released in 1964.
'The deal with the Drinking Man's
Diet is as long as you have no carbs, you can have all the alcohol you
want,' Ms Yager said. 'Alcohol has calories, but, he said, they're not bad
calories, they're good calories. And that was wildly popular. I wouldn't be
surprised if Betty did start that.'
Extreme: The Drinking Man's Diet would have appealed to real-life Don Drapers (left). Doctor Irwin Maxwell Stillman wrote the Quick Weight Loss Diet (right), as well as the 'semi-starvation diet' and the buttermilk diet
Other diets were more familiar. Groups such as Weight Watchers and its ilk (one was called Overeaters Anonymous) became more popular. Indeed, in Mad Men we even see Betty attend a Weight Watchers meeting after realizing her eating habits were spiraling out of control when she ate whipped cream from the can.
One weight-loss trend that was
experiencing a dip in the Sixties was that for amphetamine-based diet
pills. Ms Yaeger explains that they had been prescribed by doctors since
the Thirties, but due to a number of related deaths, popularity had
Guilty pleasure: In Mad Men season five we see Betty attend a Weight Watchers meeting after realizing her overeating was spiraling out of control when she squirted a can of whipped cream into her mouth
with America's obesity rate at about 13per cent (compared with today's
37.5per cent), the Sixties diet plan had a limited market.
interesting about the '60s is dieting was kind of a solution without a
problem, because Americans weren't very heavy,' Ms Yaeger said.
'Poor “fat Betty” . . . she didn't have a
lot of company. Someone like Betty, especially this
beautiful former model . . . would've been very unusual in suburban