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1952 ad with Hedy Lamarr

Ayds Reducing Plan Candy (pronounced as "aids") is a discontinued appetite-suppressant candy that enjoyed strong sales in the 1970s and early 1980s and was originally manufactured by The Carlay Company.


Ayds was available in chocolate, chocolate mint, butterscotch, and caramel flavors, and later a peanut butter flavor was introduced. The original packaging used the phrase "Ayds Reducing Plan vitamin and mineral Candy"; a later version used the phrase "appetite suppressant candy". The active ingredient was originally benzocaine,[1] presumably to reduce the sense of taste to reduce eating, later changed in the candy (as reported by The New York Times) to phenylpropanolamine.[2]


The product was introduced by the Carlay Company of Chicago. A U.S. trademark was registered in 1946 claiming its first use in commerce was in 1937.[3]

In 1944, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission objected to the claim that the product could cause the user to "lose up to 10 pounds in 5 days, without dieting or exercising".[4][5]

The Carlay Company later became a division of Campana Corporation of Batavia, Illinois. Then Campana bought Allied Laboratories of Kansas City in 1956. After that, Campana was bought by Dow Chemical and its president, Irving Willard Crull, was president of Dow for less than six months, during which time he engineered the sale of Campana to Purex in the 1960s. He again became president of Campana while serving as a vice president of Purex, which allowed Campana to function as a separate division.[6][7] Crull also relied on socialite and Hollywood friends like Bob Hope and his wife Dolores Hope, Tyrone Power and his wife Linda Christian, and others to promote the Ayds Reducing Plan Candy line. A Cosmopolitan magazine article in November 1956 reported that Crull had already recruited a number of his friends amongst socialites and Hollywood celebrities to promote the Ayds Reducing Plan weight-loss regimen.

In 1981, Purex sold the rights to the Ayds name to Jeffrey Martin Inc. In 1987, Jeffrey Martin, Inc. and its product line (including Ayds Appetite Suppressant and Compoz Sleep Aid) were acquired by the Dep Corporation (sometimes written DEP).[8]

Relations with AIDS[edit]

By the mid-1980s, public awareness of the disease AIDS brought notoriety to the brand due to the phonetic similarity of names and the fact that the disease caused immense weight loss in patients.[9] Initially sales were not negatively affected; in a September 1985 interview, the president of the company that manufactured it stated that sales had increased as a result of this connection.[10] Early in 1986, another executive of the manufacturer was quoted, "The product has been around for 45 years. Let the disease change its name."[11]

In 1988, when the product and its name had been sold to the Dep Corporation, company leadership announced that the company was seeking a new name because sales had dropped as much as 50% due to publicity about the disease. Attempts to rebrand as Aydslim (in the United Kingdom) and Diet Ayds did not stop the eventual phasing out of the product.[12][13]


  1. ^ Beverly J. McCabe; Jonathan James Wolfe; Eric H. Frankel (2003). Handbook of Food-drug Interactions. CRC Press. p. 234. ISBN 9780203490242. Archived from the original on 2023-04-02. Retrieved 2011-10-13.
  2. ^ Lindsey Gruson (1982-02-13). "A Controversy Over Widely Sold Diet Pills and not the disease". New York Times. Archived from the original on 2010-08-31. Retrieved 2011-10-13.
  3. ^ USPTO.gov. Latest Status Info: AYDS Archived 2011-08-30 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed on June 2, 2009.
  4. ^ "FTC: Advertising Cases Involving Weight-Loss Products and Services 1924-1997". www.nutriwatch.org. 15 May 2000. Archived from the original on 12 August 2019. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  5. ^ "Annual Report 1945". Federal Trade Commission. June 11, 2013. Archived from the original on August 12, 2019. Retrieved August 12, 2019.
  6. ^ "Suburban Life -". Archived from the original on 2005-09-24. Retrieved 2006-03-04.
  7. ^ "Batavia Industries". Archived from the original on 2006-02-06. Retrieved 2006-03-04.
  8. ^ "History of DEP Corporation - FundingUniverse". Archived from the original on 2017-11-27. Retrieved 2020-04-18.
  9. ^ "Ayds - Epic, embarrassing product failures - CBS News". Archived from the original on 2020-12-08. Retrieved 2020-11-29.
  10. ^ "AIDS has aided Ayds". Tampa Bay Times. 1985-09-23. p. 58. Archived from the original on 2021-06-25. Retrieved 2020-09-21.
  11. ^ "Ayds name won't be suppressed by AIDS". The Central New Jersey Home News. 1986-02-04. p. 9. Archived from the original on 2021-06-25. Retrieved 2020-09-21.
  12. ^ "Diet Candy Seeking Name". The New York Times. March 4, 1988. Archived from the original on August 31, 2016. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
  13. ^ Mahdawi, Arwa (2016-02-03). "Saying Tata to Zica: when brand names go wrong". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2024-04-22.

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