Diet Spin

by F.

Seth Roberts is an Assistant Prof of Psych at Berkely and through self-experimentation has come up with a diet that seems to work. It’s not for everyone. It’s fairly weird, in fact. So weird that it seems like the sort of thing I might try if my inner Mr. Creosote ever reappears again.

I’ll let you learn about it from Roberts’ website, but here’s where we get to the interesting part. Woman’s World did a piece on Roberts’ diet. They sort of got some things wrong in a predictable way. Fortunately, Roberts has annotated the claims of the Woman’s World article. A comparison of what WW said and what Roberts said is quite education. From his blog:

The next issue (Oct 3) of Woman’s World, already available many places, has a lovely cover story (pp. 18-19) about the Shangri-La Diet with the funny title “Instant Willpower!” The article is very accurate and reasonable but I have a few comments.

“Lose 7 lbs a week!” (cover and p. 19). Average weight loss is 1-2 lbs/week.

“Makes your body release stored fat!” (cover). Clever. I would have said something plodding like “lose body fat.”

“Roberts says refined walnut oil and light olive oils are best” (p. 18). Refined walnut oil is hard to find. I buy Spectrum refined walnut oil at Whole Foods. The Spectrum Organics store locator will find stores that carry Spectrum products but not all carry refined walnut oil. In Berkeley, most don’t. You may want to call ahead.

“When reading scientific journals to prepare for a lecture, Roberts had a eureka moment. . . Turning this interesting idea into practical weight-loss advice took lots of trial and error. . . . In short order, he was 35 pounds slimmer” (pp. 18-19). I lost 35 pounds using sugar water, not oil. It took three months. The turning point in going from theory to practice was a strange experience in Paris, described in the book. Also crucial was Emily Mechner’s observation that if my theory was correct, flavorless oils should work as well as sugar water. All in all, though, this is a good summary.

[to make this plan work even better] “Stick with your normal foods” (p. 19). No, I think the diet works better if you start eating foods that are new to you — foods with unfamiliar flavors.

Roberts’ full post is here.