On Google video there are a couple of commercials from the early 80s touting a weight-loss product called Ayds
. (An Ayds radio commercial
can be heard here.) The name of the product is so unfortunate, that it makes the ads sound like Saturday Night Live skits, with lines such as: "Ayds helps you control your appetite so you lose weight... Why take diet pills when you can enjoy Ayds?... Ayds helps you lose weight safely and effectively!"
However, the ads are totally real, as was the product. Many of you might even remember it (though I don't). Ayds was an appetite-suppressant candy that came in chocolate, butterscotch and caramel flavors. During the 70s it was one of the top-selling weight-loss products. But then along came AIDS. In 1983 Time Magazine reported
retailers as saying that "the disease is not hurting the product... Ayds sales have never been better."
However, by 1988 the Associated Press was reporting that Ayds sales were down 50 percent, because of the similarity between its name and AIDS. This prompted the maker of the candy to change its name to Diet Ayds. The AP reported "Dep chairman Robert Berglass told the AP the company wanted to soften the name without completely changing it and losing identification. Sales were moving back up, he said, but he was reluctant to predict a full recovery."
Evidently the candy didn't make a recovery, but I can't find any record of exactly when it ceased being sold.
It's revealed that he lost a lot of that weight because he had a couple of aides.. and in fact, he thinks everybody should get aides to help them lose weight and feel great!
My sister (Ayds!)
My uncle and my cousin and her best friend (Ayds! Ayds! Ayds!)
The gays and the straights
And the white and the spades
Everyone has Ayds!
Ayds! Ayds! Ayds! Ayds! Ayds!
I also remember, somewhat less vividly, several organizations with names having the acronyms "AID" or "AIDS", most of which ended up changing their names by the end of the 1980s, because (1) there was a serious stigma attached to having AIDS in the early years of the pandemic, and (2) the names were confusing for organizations that had nothing to do with preventing or treating HIV infections.
Ayds dates back to at least 1944, assuming that I am reading the page correctly and that it is correct. Ayds has Benzocaine in it, which is a topical anaesthetic (it numbs the point of contact). Presumably the idea is that the Benzocaine will numb your stomach, although I would expect this to actually increase your appetite, as you would feel less full.
I assume the act of eating anything shortly before a meal would make you feel less hungry, which might explain why people continued taking Ayds. Have a cup of tea instead.
It's also worth noting that Cancer is a sign of the Zodiac; they haven't changed the name yet, but it can only be a matter of time. I have spoken to a man called De'Ath.
By the way, I found a box of 1950s Ayds on Ebay for 14.99. Sheesh!
Posted by Elizabeth in MA on Wed Feb 22, 2006 at 11:41 AM
I remember them as well, and I remember the rumor about their containing tapeworm eggs!
I also grew up in MA, so perhaps it was a Massachusetts urban legend.
I'd forgotten all about "Ayds."
Bring back AYDS!
I remember the product Ayds, but it seemed that it was already fading before the AIDS epidemic became widely known. If that percepetion is incorrect, it seems silly that they didn't simply change the name to something completely different.
I'd forgotten about these things -- too funny to bring it up in today's context!!!
I found that they held a secret to losing weight. I don't think I lost any, but still I liked eating them and thinking I would lose weight.
When the aids epidemic came into being in the mid eightees, sadly I did put the two together.
I wonder where they are now? Under some new name selling diet pills instead?
like Ima, my grandmother also had those little packages. i guess that's why i attach such good thoughts and nostalgia to them. they remind me of my grandmother.
i miss Ayds. only newbies associate AIDS with Ayds.... but then, there are older timers who remember Burma Shave and Lucky Strikes with the warm glow of nostalgia, too. i'm a newbie, too. so it's all good. it'd be better if someone brought Ayds back, though.
Of course you'd have known this if you had bothered reading the article.
So, I suggest everybody get out there and get Ayds and die(t)! 😉
I wish I knew. Im gonna research this and see if any diet supplementary companys have anything like this out. I cant take anything that has caffiene or energy boost as with high blood pressure you cant take certain things.
Dont think id by that box on ebay tho .. may be outdated * wink