How to lose weight in the USSR: the 5 most popular (and insane) diets of the Soviet era

At the disposal of modern beauties there are advanced achievements of dietetics, which our mothers and grandmothers could only dream of. But they also had their own, sometimes strange, but working ways by which they kept themselves in shape. We tell about the main ones in our material.

Как худели в СССР: 5 самых популярных (и безумных) диет советского времени

What distinguishes Soviet and modern man? First of all, physical activity. In the USSR, after all, people moved more. Just imagine: during the day, work, which was mostly reached on foot, in the evening — home life. Weekends were also spent actively — more often in the country, planting potatoes or shoveling snow. If there was no dacha, they helped the collective farms. During the summer holidays there were hiking trips and activities at sea, where the diet in sanatoriums excluded overeating. 

Today, we most often get to the office by car, and household chores are helped by robots-vacuum cleaners, washing machines, dishwashers and other gadgets. Plus a recumbent holiday in the country and hotels on the sea with “All inclusive”. 

All this, of course, makes life easier, but also leads to almost immobilization, which is the main factor in the discrepancy between the caloric content of the food eaten and the energy consumed. As a result, the launch of a metabolic syndrome that turns into obesity. For reference: in the USSR, 20-25% of the population suffered from obesity, currently this figure is close to 50-55%. 

Как худели в СССР: 5 самых популярных (и безумных) диет советского времени

At the same time, there were no such options as fitness clubs and massages in the USSR. Such methods of radical solutions to overweight problems as liposuction, gastric reduction, etc. were not used either. But there were other ways. We analyze the most famous of them together with nutritionist, therapist, Coral Club expert Elena Manovskaya.

The Pevsner Diet

In the USSR, girls mainly used diets developed by the nutritionist Mikhail Pevsner. He selected the composition of products that corresponded to the physiological needs for certain problems and diseases. To achieve a quick effect, a more aggressive method was also used — to eat what you want, but after eating, provoke vomiting to free the stomach from food. This, of course, provoked both psychological problems and gastrointestinal diseases. 


Mono-diets were also popular, when it was necessary to eat one product. Most often they “sat” on buckwheat or rice. Some chose to drink one kefir. The weight was going away, but such a diet was fraught with health problems associated with the accumulation of nutritional deficiencies. 

Как худели в СССР: 5 самых популярных (и безумных) диет советского времени

Strong tea with milk 

Quite strong green or black tea with milk without added sugar was also used for weight loss. Such teas reduced appetite, and also gave vigor and energy for the whole day. But even here unpleasant consequences could arise — overexcitation, which was replaced by weakness from exhaustion. Also, after a few days, the gastric mucosa reacted to such tea without products. 

Apple cider vinegar

Another way to reduce weight is to take a solution of apple cider vinegar before each meal. It was also often combined with an enema for intestinal lavage. Naturally, this led to intestinal damage, with which people often ended up in hospitals. 

Как худели в СССР: 5 самых популярных (и безумных) диет советского времени


The leaders of laxatives were castor oil, senade and buckthorn. Sometimes they were combined with diuretics (for example, furosemide). The method often led to a number of negative consequences that required medical attention.

Today, in order to lose weight without harm to health, it is better to contact the appropriate specialists. Nowadays, consultations with a nutritionist, endocrinologist and nutritionist will be useful. 

About the expert:

Как худели в СССР: 5 самых популярных (и безумных) диет советского времени

Elena Manovska

Nutritionist, therapist, Coral Club expert.

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