Sub-titled The No Hunger Eat Anything Weight-Loss Plan, this short book (157 pgs. plus notes and index) by Seth Roberts, PhD explains how he discovered a new weight loss secret. It is an odd approach, and one many (diabetics especially) will want to avoid. Roberts’ theory concerns taste and his method involves drinking sugar water an hour or more before eating, or drinking extra-mild virgin olive oil. Ugh, I cannot even fathom drinking oil under any circumstances but many people do regularly so I can’t discount it.
I tried the “plan” adding four tablespoons of plain white sugar to my water bottle and drinking it throughout the day. It didn’t affect my appetite but it did make me feel edgy and out of sorts. I didn’t like the way I felt so stopped my test after the first day. The sugar water stuck around and I sipped it a couple times. Funny how closely it tasted like a Coke even without the flavor.
The main premise is to consume 100 calories (or more) of flavorless sugar water (or oil) every day at least one hour before or after a meal. “The more calories you consume this way, the more weight you will lose–odd as that sounds,” writes Roberts. Roberts continues throughout the book to say he doesn’t know why this works and that it doesn’t make sense. Then he repeats blog posts from successful losers as if to say, it worked for them, so why not try it yourself? Roberts writes that, “Foods with strong flavor-calorie associations are more fattening than foods with weak flavor-calorie associations … because they raise your set point more.”
Drinking the sugar water with lessen your appetite, you’ll eat less and naturally lose weight. Roberts must not have heard of people who eat regardless of appetite. In the chapter, Extra Credit: Six More Ways to Lose Weight, we find 1) Try new foods. It can be true that getting into a food rut, always eating the same unhealthy foods day after day makes it harder to stop eating them or to cut back when you do, so trying something new and different is a reasonable idea. Next comes 2) Cook more. No, not cook your foods more but cook more yourself, at home, in the kitchen. Good advice that. Then 3) Add random flavors. Here we’re told to place several shakers with herbs and spices then randomly sprinkle them in different combinations on whatever you’re eating. The premise that these new and different flavors will keep the flavors from becoming familiar. 4) Eat one food at a time, ala food combining, or what he likes to call food separating. 5) Eat foods that digest slowly. This should be eat complex carbs but he separates based on the glycemic index which considers ice cream superior to carrots. 6) Eat foods with less flavor. Doesn’t that fly in the face of No. 3?
Freakonomics.com wrote an article about The Shangri-La Diet and invited Roberts to blog while he wrote his book. Comments from that blogging are included in the book which shows the balanced approach Roberts attempted to take. Some people liked it, some did not but apparently enough had success that it bolstered Roberts belief that his diet plan is effective.
Familiar flavors cause weight gain says Roberts, and that is the basic premise of The Shangri-La Diet. Consume up to 400 calories daily of sugar water (no flavor) and stay away from familiar flavors (favorite flavors?) is basically The Shangri-La Diet. I do agree that switching up what you eat would help break bad eating habits (especially fast food–get a taste in your mouth for a burger or taco and what happens? You head for the border). This is an interesting concept and The Shangri-La Diet is a book worth reading.