Sand Diet

By Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am — Filed under:

This old advertisement has me perplexed.

Diet Sand

It reads:

Drugless Health. 3 1/2 lbs. DIET SAND. $1.00 plus postage. Advice 50c. Prof. Ayer, 217 1/2 Pike, Seattle, Wash.

Really?! Sand?! As far as quack theories go, it has to be at the top.

Coke ad by sparkle_lavalamp from FlickrPutting aside the risk of getting a parasite (like round worm) from the sand, what would happen if someone ate a lot of sand? Would it make them lose weight?

This article about preventing Sand Colic in horses gives us a glimpse into what would happen:

As the sand accumulates in the large intestine, it acts like sand paper and erodes the intestinal mucosa (lining of the gut). One of the large intestine’s functions is to absorb water. Due to the same accumulation and irritation to the mucosal lining, water is not absorbed well, resulting in watery manure. This same theory explains why horses with a lot of sand lose weight or are unable to gain weight well. The horse’s intestinal lining is damaged and does not digest nutrients as well. Because of the damage sand causes, this can cause discomfort and pain leading to depression, going off feed, or colic.

Remember that “watery manure” means painful diarrhea and “going off feed” is just a euphemism for “it hurts so bad that I don’t want to eat.” Many times, this gets so bad in horses that they need surgery to solve the problem.

If the horse has an enormous amount of sand and its pain cannot be medically controlled by a veterinarian, surgical intervention may be needed. This usually takes place on an emergency basis, when the horse is in extreme pain or can’t pass the sand with conservative treatment. The horse is sent to a referral surgical facility and the sand is “dumped” from the large intestine by a surgeon. Usually prognosis is good, but there is risk of the large intestine rupturing during surgery due to the heavy weight of the sand.

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that the Sand Diet isn’t healthy, but knowing the details of unpleasantness of it arms you against the next diet fad out there. If any diet guru out there jumps on the ancient Sand Diet bandwagon, remember the mommy from this video, “Yucky!”

Advert via: vintage_ads: Because ordinary sand is full of calories.


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