A Letter on Corpulence

corpulence-acrafrerWithin the last few decades, several obesity-reducing low carbohydrate diets have come to the public’s attention. What few realize is that these are all the grandchildren in thought to William Banting, an undertaker who, in 1864, wrote one short book that launched the first incredibly popular diet for obesity. Banting was immortalized by having his name enter the English language as a verb. Three examples include an Irishman, Captain Boycott, whose name entered the language in the 1860s. Another was Louis Pasteur, and the third was William Banting, a man who came to have a great impact on many peoples’ lives and waistlines….

To this day, to bant (as a verb), or to engage in “banting” is built into the language in many countries, including the UK, South Africa, and Sweden. It can be hard to see where one is going without a sense of context of history, and this applies to dietary advice as it does with all matters.

Listen to the original pamphlet that started it all, and hear Banting’s takes on corpulence and obesity, some early history of fat shaming, why he was in favor of before and after pictures, and his altercations with the medical authorities of the 1860s.

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