In the mid-19th century, a British undertaker by the name of William Banting was struggling to shed some pounds despite having tried every diet known at the time.

He tried fasting, exercise and cutting back on his meals without much success — until he came across a method involving limiting his starch and carbohydrate intake.

"Of all the parasites that affect humanity I do not know of, nor can I imagine, any more distressing than that of Obesity," Banting, who went from about 92 kg to 72 kg in a year, wrote in his 1863 book titled "Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public."