1963: Weight Watchers founded by a Queens woman whose friends helped her curb cookie cravings.
1964: The Drinking Man’s Diet advocates martini lunches, sells 2.4 million copies in 13 languages.
1972: Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution is published.
The American Medical Association calls it a “serious threat to health.”
1977: Slim-Fast promotes its “shake for breakfast, a shake for lunch, and a sensible dinner” mantra.
The Last Chance Diet recommends abstaining from all food except a protein drink of ground animal horns, hooves, hides, tendons, and bones. It sells 2.5 million copies.
1980: Dr. Herman Tarnower, the creator of the wildly popular Scarsdale Diet, is murdered by his lover.
1981: Fruit-heavy Beverly Hills Diet craze attracts followers such as Jack Nicholson, Jodie Foster, Maria Shriver, and crooner Engelbert Humperdinck.
1988: A 145-lb Oprah displays 67 lbs of animal fat—equivalent to the weight she lost on a liquid protein diet.
1992: Oprah hits 237 lbs, hires fitness guru Bob Greene.
Dr. Atkins releases his New Diet Revolution, one of the top 50 best-selling books of all time.
1996: Fat substitute olestra hits the market amid reports of “anal leakage.”
2002: 280-lb Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee is told he has 10 years to live. He loses 110 lbs, starts anti-obesity crusade.
2004: Bill Clinton says he lost 35 lbs with the South Beach Diet and “working out with a German man.”
2005: Atkins Nutritionals declares bankruptcy.
2007: US diet industry reaches $58 billion.
2004: Americans spend $46 billion on diet products.
2004: 13% of Americans try low-carb diets. Krispy Kreme blames its losses on Atkins. A Florida man sues Atkins for a blocked coronary artery.
2008: Eminem, a.k.a. Slim Shady, turns down Slim-Fast’s offer to be its spokesman.