The 10 Craziest Health Trends of the Past 40 Years
Illustration: David Wyffels
The Idea: Dr. Siegal's Cookie Diet started in 1975 and called for eating 6 specially formulated, hunger-controlling "cookies" per day, plus a sensible dinner, then watching the weight fall off. And it's still available, because who doesn't want to live on cookies?
The Problem: Figuring out what, exactly, is in the cookies and how they regulate your appetite is no easy feat, but, Scritchfield says they're likely highly processed, with added fiber to create a false sense of fullness. "This doesn't teach good habits, and there's no research to back it up," Aronne says. "Meal replacements like protein shakes can work for weight loss, but I wouldn't count these cookies as a nutritious meal replacement."
The Lesson: Cookies are not the basis of a well-rounded diet—even "healthy" ones. Note: We're open to reconsidering that stance if and when someone develops an ice cream– or cheese-based diet plan.