Who’s Your Faddy?
Dan Malovany, editor
I must admit that I’m a fad diet-aholic. I don’t follow any of the celebrity-inspired, crash-and-burn books that make the nation’s best-sellers list because, uh, I’m cheap. Instead, I find it more economically feasible to make up my own ineffective weight-loss plans that are often so goofy that I think they just may work.
And I’m not alone. A recent study by Mintel, the Chicago-based research firm, shows that more than 80% of consumers make up their own diets. Moreover, nearly 70% “strongly disagree” that they are interested in what diets celebrities use. Less than 5% follow doctor-devised plans, and more than 60% are overweight. I guess it’s fair to say that most penny-pinching Americans, like me, are just too fat and stupid to listen to their doctor’s advice.
Not surprisingly, some 70% are dissatisfied with their diets. Count me in that group. In the past, I’ve been on the Air Diet, which is simply a stress-induced plan where you eat nothing because your life is a living hell. I’ve tried the Frozen Foods Diet, which provides portion control. That used to work when the entrees tasted as good as the boxes they were packaged in. However, the new frozen foods are so improved that most Americans now microwave two or three of them at a time, which defeats the purpose.
Currently, I’m on the Foods I Don’t Like regimen, which generally includes anything with tentacles, smells like lamb or tastes like a brown paper bag. This Pavlovian diet has worked quite well, mainly because it forces me to eat very small portions. If I eat too much, my body just tosses it, and I get to start all over again. Soon, all food tastes like doo-doo, and the pounds start flying off.
Speaking of lamb, cute, woolly creatures that graze on white clover can give the meat a “pastoral or poo flavor,” according to recent report by a New Zealand researcher who apparently can taste the difference between lamb and dung. A local processor is hoping to jumpstart imports to countries where the palates are “particularly sensitive” to this flavor. For me, that’s proof positive that there’s always a market, however small, for any product that taste like kaka.
Yes, people like me will do anything to lose weight. For years, some olfactory-challenged researchers touted the Cabbage Soup Diet, which is fine if you work outdoors, play the tuba or live in areas where people smoke like fiends and do not shower on a regular basis.
Personally, I like the All-Bean Diet because it offers more variety than cabbage and because it is partially based on sound science, which is critical to all unsuccessful fad diets. Yes, studies show that substituting beans for 10% of carbohydrates and using healthful fats such as olive oil can raise the level of “good cholesterol” and help moderate the level of high blood pressure, presumably because the body’s pressure is being alleviated in some other ways. For a few close friends, going on this diet added new meaning to the term “grip it and rip it” during our Saturday morning golf outings.
Moreover, according to a recent newsletter by the Institute of Food Technologists, “roughage keeps you regular,” and who am I to question this esteemed group? As these high-fiber foods work their way down the intestinal tract, they damage and tear cells, freeing up mucus and providing the necessary lubrication for you-know-what, which is more information than anybody needs to know about how the body functions.
Actually, if Americans like myself took a few minutes a week to understand how different foods impact our bodies, we may not be suckered into the latest fads such as the Maple Syrup Celebrity Diet, which includes a concoction of maple syrup, cayenne pepper and lemon juice, and supposedly helps shed pounds in a hurry, apparently by burning the bejeezus out of their gastrointestinal tracts.
Sure, I’ve tried them all and then some, and since none of these diets really actually works, I asked Judi Adams, registered dietician and president of the Grains Food Foundation, what she would recommend for anyone like me who’s battling the bulge.
“As far as I’m concerned, any diet is a fad,” she says. “People need to change their lifestyles by eating less and exercising more. That seems to be the only thing that keeps weight off. I know. Boring, boring, boring.”
Unfortunately, I’ll do anything to add some excitement to my life, so pass the bowl of beans and the remote control. I need a little entertainment.