The practices of fasting and cleanses have been diet and health methods for centuries.
In the early 1900s, Linda Burfield Hazzard, a.k.a. Dr. Hazzard, took these practices to an extreme in Washington state. She was basically convinced that every ailment, from baldness to cancer, could be cured through extreme fasting.
Her patients would fast for as many as 50 days, consuming nothing but a couple of cups of broth each day. In the most extreme cases, her patients weighed as little as 50 pounds, and it is assumed between 20 and 50 people died from her treatment.