"A diet is the penalty we pay for exceeding the feed limit” (or, “Dieting is the penalty for exceeding the feed limit") is a food pun on the familiar “exceeding the speed limit.” William Brady, a doctor who wrote a syndicated “Health Talks” column for newspapers, mentioned “feed limit” in two 1919 newspaper columns.
New York City comic Henny Youngman (1906-1998), the “king of the one-liners,” said the full quote in 1952: “Dieting is the penalty for exceeding the feed limit.”
‘This diet is the penalty for exceeding the feed limit.’
28 September 1919, Idaho Statesman, “Health Talks” by William Brady, M. D., second section, pg. 4:
You have told me many times, and all for nothing, that I eat too much (for I am 40 pounds overweight). But here lately I began to have indigestion, and consulted a doctor who gave me an examination lasting nearly an hour. Then he told me I eat too much—and soaked me $10. Now I believe it. Perhaps my case points a moral. (F. D. A.)
Answer—You were fined for exceeding the feed limit. That does stop some reckless feeders.
20 October 1919, Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Evening Gazette, “Health Talks: The Stout Florid Woman” by William Brady, M. D., pg. 4, col. 3:
She is merely being punished for exceeding the feed limit.
8 February 1921, Naugatuck (CT) Daily News, pg. 4, col. 3:
A Motorist’s Diagnosis.
Doctor Karr—“What are your symptoms?”
Mr. Gormand—“Lassitude, doctor—a feeling of fullness and a general disinclination to do anything.”
Doctor Karr—“I see; you’ve been exceeding the feed limit.”
15 January 1923, Ogden (UT) Standard-Examiner, pg. 5, col. 3:
“My husband is laid up for repairs.”
“Exceeding the speed limit?”
“No, exceeding the feed limit.”
23 November 1932, Kokomo (IN) Tribune, pg. 4, col. 4:
I won’t advise you not to eat too much (on Thanksgiving—ed.), because I knw it wouldn’t do much good. But I’d just like to throw out a general warning about exceeding the “feed limit.”
17 November 1951, Chicago (IL) Tribune, “In the Wake of the News” by Arch Ward, part 3, pg. B1:
Many of us would live longer by not exceeding the feed limit.
11 November 1952, Winona (MN) Republican-Herald, “It Happened Last Night” by Earl Wilson, pg. 4, col. 3:
Henny Youngman, eating sparingly at Majors Cabin Restaurant, complained, “Dieting is the penalty for exceeding the feed limit.”
21 September 1954, Chicago (IL) Tribune, “In the Wake of the News” by Arch Ward, part 4, pg. C1:
Overeating-Exceeding the feed limit.—The Farmer’s Daughter.
19 August 1956, Chicago (IL) Tribune, “Radio-TV Gag Bag” by Larry Wolters, magazine, pg. F33:
Paul Fogarty on Your Figure, Ladies: “The penalty for exceeding the feed limit is nine days of diet and ninety days of exercise.”
25 October 1957, Petersburg (VA) Progress-Index, “It Happened Last Night” by Earl Wilson, pg. 4, col. 6:
EARL’S PEARLS: Dieting is the penalty for exceeding the feed limit.
Handbook of Humor for All Occasions
edited by Jacob Morton Braude
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall
Dieting: the penalty for exceeding the feed limit.
2 August 1966, Chicago (IL)
In Fort Wayne, at prescription drug-store, “Diet—Penalty for exceeding the feed limit.”
Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet
By Herman Tarnower with Samm Sinclair Baker
New York, NY: Bantam Books
I read somewhere that obesity is the penalty for exceeding the “feed limit.”
Women and Food
By Sally Cline
Published by Deutsch, 1990
A diet is the penalty for exceeding the feed limit.
New York City • Food/Drink • (1) Comments • Friday, February 06, 2009 • Permalink
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