The tragic history of Metrecal shakes

Inna D

* Author used AI in the creation of this article

Metrecal shakes, introduced in the 1960s, were a popular weight loss and nutrition product. These meal replacement shakes gained immense popularity among those seeking convenient and effective solutions for shedding pounds. Their commercials boasted thin skiers who drink Metrecal milkshakes for lunch.

The Metrecal diet plan had people consume four shakes (or cans) of Metrecal a day, with each can containing 225 calories for a total of 900 per day. For reference, the average woman should eat 2,000 calories a day, and a man 2,500 calories. Flavors included original vanilla, chocolate and butterscotch. Eventually the product line expanded to Metrecal cookies, clam chowder and tuna with noodles. Many people did not agree with the taste, calling it "vile-tasting". Even with this, the product was still popular as it did show weight loss.

However, their success was halted when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) linked the shakes to a series of unfortunate incidents. In 1978, the FDA linked Metrecal shakes to 59 deaths, raising concerns about their safety and effectiveness. The agency discovered that the formula contained a significant amount of potentially harmful ingredients, including partially hydrogenated vegetable oil and excessive amounts of vitamins. This can cause a variety of issues including kidney damage, high blood pressure, or heart problems. These findings prompted the FDA to recall Metrecal shakes.

Even though many products are marketed towards "fast weight loss", ultimately these products in excess may not be safe. It is always encouraged to do your own research and always consult with your doctor. This incident stands as a reminder of the importance of diligent research, comprehensive testing, and responsible marketing within the health and nutrition industry.

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