BBC History Revealed

PROLINN

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Prolinn was a less-than-400-calorie drink that claimed to help you lose weight. For a while it was hugely popular, with more than two million people trying the diet, but did it work?

EXPERT ADVICE MICHAEL SAYS:

Osteopath Robert Linn launched the notorious Last Chance Diet in the 1970s. Along with his book you could also buy his miraculous “liquid protein diet”, Prolinn. An array of celebritie­s endorsed the product, claiming that dieters could lose up to 10lb 4.5kg) a week.

After initial success, however, The Last Chance Diet began to live up to its name when reports of related deaths prompted the FDA to investigat­e. Although some of the fatalities seem to have been people with already advanced heart disease, there was evidence in a few cases that the diet itself may have caused damage to the heart through “protein-calorie malnutriti­on”. The low-quality protein in Prolinn came largely from collagen, obtained from the tendons, ligaments and skin of animals, enhanced with artificial flavouring­s.

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