I’ve been writing about dieting and bad food choices for some 14 years now and if there’s one thing I am sure of – people will do the damnedest things for weight loss and publicity.
A week or so back this headline grabbed my attention: Twin Brothers Put Diet Crazes to Ultimate Test.
In a nutshell – with the emphasis on “nut” – twin brothers Chris and Alexander van Tulleken set out on a month-long radical experiment to try to put the debate to rest over which is worse: fat or sugar.
"Chris adopted a super-low-fat diet, allocating only 2 percent of his total daily intake of fat, the minimum required to maintain his health. Alexander opted for a high-protein diet that ditched all forms of carbohydrates, from table sugar to flour to fruit," the feature noted.
Oh, brother… here’s what the twins discovered.
Alexander: His breath stank and he felt constipated. Moreover, he was sluggish and tired, and his brain was in a fog.
Chris: Lost a little weight, but without the added fat, even supposedly decadent foods, such as pasta, tasted like cardboard. He also experienced a constant gnawing hunger.
Both lost some weight but neither would declare their diet the “winner.”
So, what went wrong? eDiets chief nutritionist, Susan Burke March, chimes in:
“In this extremely non-scientific ‘study’ we find that neither the no-fat nor the no-carb diet works better, but both are boring and the no-carb plan gives you a giant headache and bad breath. Cutting all the fat out is totally out of favor! All fats are not equal, and some fats are health-promoting and certainly, your food is almost tasteless when stripped of the ‘mouth feel’ that fat brings to food. Besides, fat-free doesn't mean calorie-free, and those ‘non-fat’ baked goods may be textured with added sugar – and other nonfat foods like nonfat cheese taste like rubber.
“All diets work, if by ‘diet’ you mean changing from what you usually eat to a more structured program. Hey, your usual diet is what made you overweight to begin with, so eliminating whole food groups is a tempting, although temporary, way to lose weight.
“Boys, get with the program – and make your diet one that you can live with permanently.”
Good advice from a great nutritionist.
Now, let’s turn our attention to a diet that’s just MAD…
Karen Wheeler has written a book called The Marie Antoinette Diet: Eat Cake and Still Lose Weight. We kid you not.
Marie Antoinette is the long-ago French queen best known for her lavish lifestyle and her oft-quoted utterance, “let them eat cake.” She wasn’t being nice when she said that. No, Marie, who would literally go on to lose her head, was referring to her nation’s masses of super-poor peasants who at the time couldn’t even scratch up a crust of bread.
To name a diet after such a woman is indeed MAD.
The “original” Marie Antoinette diet reportedly started with a pastry with coffee or hot chocolate for breakfast. Lunch would include pate, oysters and lobster as appetizers. That was followed by scallops, duck, salmon, breaded fois gras, or hare stew. The queen had a habit of snacking throughout the day on cheese along with macaroni cooked in cream, petits fours, crystallized fruits and exotic desserts. Her meals were washed down with a steady supply of champagne.
As appetizing as this sounds, it is doubtful one would – or could – lose weight by dining this way. However, some folks want to buy in to the “French paradox” – the claim that French women do not get fat…. No matter what they eat. It supposedly has something to do with the timing of your meals.
Important fact: Wheeler is neither a doctor nor a dietitian. She’s a fashion journalist living in France.
As the original feature I stumbled upon noted: “There’s no scientific evidence to suggest that the diet works, but there’s a lot of snob value involved in telling people you’re on the Marie Antoinette Diet, or the MAD diet, if you prefer.”
Mr. Bad Food has made it his mission to seek out the worst of the worst foods so others can lead a healthier lifestyle. His new columns only appear here at eDiets!