Yesterday I read a New York Times article about a new fad diet that is sweeping the UK. (The article showed up on the “recommended for you” part, and I read it as soon as I got over the NYT making a fat joke.)
The diet, called the “Fast Diet” was developed by a British doctor who was showing the beginnings of health problems (prediabetic, etc.) and began experimenting. Based on the research and studies he conducted (with himself as the subject) he came up with this genius diet, and enlisted the help of a popular food and fashion writer to write a book that has been the biggest seller on England’s Amazon.com. Basically, people love it.
The diet is built on the idea that fasting is healthy, and that a day of fasting turns on the body’s fat-burning response system. So, essentially, this doctor suggests we all eat whatever we want for five days of the week, and the remaining two days are fast days, wherein you eat two small meals totaling 500 or 600 calories for women or men, respectively. The example the article uses to demonstrate how much food that is, is: two eggs and a slice of ham for breakfast, and a plate of steamed fish and vegetables for dinner. Nothing more, nothing less.
The diet boasts that it isn’t “another fad diet,” and that it will guarantee weight loss very quickly and it’s sustainable as a long-term diet plan.
I hate when doctors endorse crazy, pre-eating disorder diets. Now, I can’t really get into the health reasons of why this is incredibly unhealthy, other than to suggest malnutrition. But, I have problems with this diet for a multitude of reasons. Nowhere in the article does the diet seem to include any mention of exercise. Any diet that is not focused on changing lifestyle patterns is incredibly dangerous. Yeah, sure, you might drop 15 pounds starving yourself twice a week, but as soon as you start eating seven days a week again, you will gain that weight back and then some, because while on the Fast Diet, you didn’t learn what was healthy and what was not. During the five days where you can “eat whatever you want,” you are still eating exactly what got you into the weight-gain trouble in the first place.
Losing weight is hard and there is no quick-fix or magic diet. It’s crazy that this doctor and writer are now incredibly wealthy from selling books to people that are frustrated and tired of putting in the work to change their habits. Good for them, I guess.
The book is being released in the US this week, so expect to see a copy on every best-seller rack for the next year or two.