Americans spend over $61 billion a year on diet products. Why do they spend so much money on diet pills, diet books, diet sodas, diet meal replacement products, diet foods, and diet fads designed to help them lose weight? Fitness and health have often taken a back seat to an all-consuming need to look a certain way or weigh a certain amount. Let's take a look backward in the infographic below at the often sorry history of dieting in Western Civilization to see if you can separate the fads and scams from the practical and scientific. Be sure to read our comprehensive article on the History of Dieting to get a full picture of how we've struggled to find answers to obesity for centuries.