When a California doctor, Lulu Hunt Peters introduced the idea of calories with her book Diet and Health, with the Key to the Calories, first published in 1918, she sold somewhere between 800,000 and 2 million copies (depending on who you believe) and her book was the number 4 best-selling nonfiction book in 1923, according to Publisher’s Weekly.
With books on dieting selling like that, no wonder so many got on the band wagon of writing diet books. Since then there have been thousands of books on dieting published. People have been so aware of being overweight that they will try anything.
Weight-loss quackery began showing up in newspaper ads as early as the late 1800’s. Already there was an awareness that fat is not good. There was also awareness that being fat was already a problem. Search on weight-loss quackery and it will amaze you what they sold to the public to get the weight off. Soaps to wash it off, clothing to hide fat (still being sold), and all kind of elixirs (weight-loss supplements) were just some of the things sold to a public who wanted to reduce their fat.
Which came first, recognizing we were fat or being told we were fat? Who knows, but apparently society was getting fat and the health experts were seeing more problems arising from the fat. “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to your trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called” (1 Timothy 6:20).