1886 Medical Journal – Authorities Recommended Low-Carb Diets

While searching for sources related to obesity from the 19th century I stumbled on this. I found this fascinating and wanted to share. Thank you Google Books!

Page 561 of “The Medical News: A weekly Journal of Medical Science” dated November 20, 1886 hosts a paper titled “On Insufficient Diet, and the hygienic treatment of obesity” by Prof. DuJardin Beaumetz, M.D.

The five page write-up from 1886 discusses what is believed to cause obesity and how it can be dealt with. The authority to which Banting’s diet was based is mentioned, as are other authorities, all of whom recommend a diet low in carbohydrates. The following is a table which shows the authoritative diets being much lower in carbs compared to the “Normal Ration” of the obese.


A nice paragraph from the article summarizing the various diets is found on the fourth page:
“In a word, what you have to do is, by some one of the approved means, to diminish the alimentation of the obese, and especially to reduce to the minimum the quantity of amylaceous and hydrocarbonaceous elements of the dietary. It is for you to choose the regimen which seems most appropriate for the case which you have to treat.”

There is also an interesting transcription of what Hippocrates said about “corpulence” on the second page:
“Fat people, and all those who wish to become lean, should do much hard work while fasting, and should take their meals while still fatigued, and without resting, and after having drunk a little weak wine : their meats should be prepared with sesamum and suitable seasoning, and should be fat ; in this way appetite will be satisfied with a smaller quantity. The obese person should eat but one meal a day, should not bathe, should sleep on a hard bed, and should walk as much as possible.”

As I found this fascinating, I look forward to your comments! 🙂

More Information:
On Insufficient Diet, and the hygienic treatment of obesity