‘FastDiet’ is now available in the US — and it’s another ineffective fad

By Georgia Clark-Albert, Special to the BDN
Posted March 11, 2013, at 1:29 p.m.

The Fad, I mean “the FastDiet,” written by Dr. Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer, a food and fashion writer, has been the No. 1 bestseller on the British Amazon.com site since it first debuted for publication in January 2013. The U.S. edition has arrived. Promoted as the guide to “Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, Live Longer,” who could pass it up? Perhaps you should hold off buying your copy unless you want to be the owner of just the newest fad diet on the market — designed for what else but to make money for the authors. Add this to the long list of diet books that come out each year, each designed to rob you of your hard-earned dollar.

But wait — this book is selling like hotcakes in Britain, so there must be something to it. Why is it so popular?

First, let’s just take a look at the research behind it — the scientific principles that guide health care-related standards. The book is based on the “research” of Dr. Michael Mosley. He “researched the science of the diet and its health benefits” by filming a documentary of himself through a regimen of intermittent fasting — five days of eating and two days of fasting. Sounds like credible research to me. Mosley has stated that he has always been into self-experimentation. He decided to start this process because he wasn’t “feeling well” last year. He admits he was suffering from high cholesterol, high blood sugar and visceral fat inside his gut. Could he really feel that visceral fat?

As part of his research, he interviewed scientific researchers about the positive results of fasting on rats, and in some cases on human volunteers. His most astounding results, however, were his personal success. He lost 20 pounds in nine weeks, an average of 2.2 pounds/week, and his glucose, cholesterol, and percent body fat were decreased. This weight loss is what is easily obtainable by someone who watches their intake and exercises three or four times per week.

According to the book, the secret to weight loss is to eat and drink what you want for five days and then have two days of fasting. A fasting day would consist of two meals, each about 250 to 300 calories. Mosley’s first attempt was just eating a small amount of soup every 24 hours for four consecutive days. He found this to be extreme and not sustainable, so gave it up. He looked for a less painful option that wouldn’t interfere with his social life or work.

“There is nothing else you can do to your body that is as powerful as fasting,” Mosley states.

I must admit that the pictures of the food displayed in the book are very appealing. They are colorful and eye catching, such as a plate of cottage cheese, figs and pears; a breakfast of oatmeal and blueberries; an evening meal of a chicken stir fry with vegetables; a dish of fresh raspberries that looks just scrumptious. These are all wonderful, nutritious foods — and that is just the point. Eat nutritious foods daily. If you truly decide to eat what you want for five days and then fast for two, you are not guaranteed weight loss. Total caloric intake is what rules here. If you overindulge during the first five days, you won’t lose weight.

The one part of Mosley’s book that I completely agree with is his statement, “We shouldn’t have a fear of hunger if it is just temporary.” After about 10 or 15 minutes, that feeling of hunger goes away if we get involved in something.

Don’t waste your money on this 200-page paperback. Instead, commit yourself to eating nutritious foods in moderate portions, seven days a week.

Georgia Clark-Albert is a registered dietitian and adjunct nutrition instructor at Eastern Maine Community College who lives in Athens. Read more of her columns and post questions at bangordailynews.com or email her at GeorgiaMaineMSRDCDE@gmail.com.

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/03/11/health/the-fastdiet-is-now-available-in-the-us-and-its-another-ineffective-fad/ printed on July 24, 2014