Weight for it! The new dieting vogue is a retro shake-up, 80s ...

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Weight for it! The new dieting vogue is a retro shake-up, 80s style

Likened to food rehab and gastric bypass, the soup-and-shake plan can fight diabetes, too, we’re told

Helen Chandler-Wilde

Long before there was the Atkins, the Dukan or the Paleo, there was one diet favoured by anyone looking to lose weight fast: the liquid diet.

The 20th century had its fill of them: the cabbage soup diet (which promised a sulphurous detox and fewer than 100 calories per bowl), the apple cider vinegar diet (when sipped before every meal it nixed your appetite and stripped your tooth enamel) ... even the milk diet, whereby followers downed four pints of semi-skimmed a day. But then in 1988, chat show host Oprah Winfrey announced she had lost 30kg by drinking Optifast – a “meal-replacement” shake similar to SlimFast, which was launched a decade earlier – and celebrated by dragging a wagon full of that much fat across her studio set.

Now, ultra-low calorie soups and shakes have been pulled out of the diet archives and are being touted as an effective way to rapidly lose weight and even reverse type 2 diabetes, which studies show can increase the severity of a bout of coronavirus...

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