Linn Robert 1933 Creator of a 1970s fad diet that entailed fasting and consuming a drink called Prolinn

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R obert Linn is a doctor of osteopathy, and his diet was known as "The Last Chance Diet." Prolinn was a drink, consisting of animal hooves, hides, tendons, horns, bones, and other animal products, which people on the diet drank numerous times a day. In a day, this drink provided 400 calories. The Prolinn diet created a lot of controversy, and there were warnings issued about the drink and its lack of nutrients. At the time, many people thought that it could harm the kidneys due to the protein content. It has been estimated that 2 to 4 million people have tried the diet. While some people claimed to lose weight, at least fifty-eight people reportedly had heart attacks while on the diet. However, it is now thought that the drink itself was not dangerous; it was the fasting that caused health complications.

Linn also co-authored a book called The Last Chance Diet: A Revolutionary Approach to Weight Loss in which he presented his diet to the general public. There was, again, legal trouble when, in 1989, a lawsuit was filed against his publisher because someone had allegedly died while on the diet. The judge dismissed the suit on the basis of the First Amendment right of free speech. The court claimed that there was no warranty made through the publication of the book that the diet would work or, indeed, would not be hazardous to a person's health (Smith v. Linn; Anon. First Amendment Protects). Diet books are thus sheltered from any measure of the efficacy of their suggested methods, and subsequent authors have been free to promote ineffective and even dangerous dietary advice.

SLG/Mary Standen See also McGraw; Very-Low-Calorie Diets

References and Further Reading

Anon. (1989) "First Amendment Protects Deadly Diet Books:—Smith v. Linn, 386 Pa.Super. 392, 563 A.2d 123 (Pa.Super. 1989)," LSU Law Center's Medical and Public Health Law Site, available online at <http:// biotech.law.lsu.edu/obesity/cases/last_chance_di-et.htm> (accessed March 12, 2007).

Burros, Marian (2004) "Dieter Sues Atkins Estate and Company." Available online at <http:// www.newsmine.org/archive/nature-health/health/ obesity/atkins-diet-clogged> (accessed March 12, 2007).

CBC News Online (2004) "Diets: A Primer." Available online at <http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/food/ diets.html> (accessed April 5, 2006).

Linn, Robert (1976) The Last Chance Diet—When Everything Else Has Failed: Dr. Linn's Protein-Sparing Fast Program, Secaucus, NJ: Lyle Stuart.

Smith v. Linn, 386 Pa.Super. 392, 563 A.2d 123 (Pa.Super. 1989).

Stahl, Linda (2005) "A Who's Who of American Dieting History." Available online at <http:// www.courierjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/ 200 5ii03/FEATURES03/5ii030322> (accessed April 10, 2006).

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