One of the many admirable people I follow on the Internet had her Twitter account hacked recently – on her birthday no less. And to what ends you may ask? Nothing more than to flog their bogus weight loss crap by PMing all of her followers.
This got me to considering how far we go to obtain that “perfect body” or become the “model of health” without thinking about the inherent dangers on the path. So let’s take a look at some of the finest in modern day Snake Oil.
The “Cabbage Soup” Diet
According to its supporters, The Cabbage Soup Diet is a seven-day dietary plan that claims that you will lose 10 pound by it’s end provided you stay on its feeding schedule with as many snacks of cabbage soup as you want. And while cabbage is certainly preferable to a bag of chips, there is a reason why we eat a wide variety of foods and not just bland cabbage broth.
The weight loss you’ll see is from water, not fat. This means that the weight will be back as soon as you go off the diet. Also, the lack of nutritional value in cabbage, which is low in protein and high in salt, can rob you of healthy fatty acids (yes, there are healthy fats) and complex carbohydrates leading to fatigue, urinary problems, light-headedness, and uncontrollable gas (ever hear of “Cabbage Farts?”).
The Low Carb/“Atkins” Diet
Most people know about how stupid this diet is by now, but that hasn’t stopped some people from attempting this overly-complex starvation process on themselves.
As mentioned above Carbohydrates are essential. They are the primary fuel source for the body. Without them, the body starts to consume your muscle mass – not your body fat – for energy which can further hinder your fat burning ability. Add to that the fact that low carb “meal replacements” often contain unhealthy additives and that these diets usually result in an increased risk for digestive and cardiovascular disorders resulting from low fiber intake and it’s a wonder anyone still swears by these monstrosities.
Here’s the great whopping hot mess that got this little conversion we’re having now started in the first place. The theory is that, “I must be fat because I eat to much. Lets trick my body into thinking it’s full.”
Most suppressants are chemically similar to most amphetamine drugs and carry the same dangers; nervousness, heart palpitations, high blood pressure and more. Plus, as I’m sure those who can follow a logical progression have already learned, not eating when you need to means you’re STARVING. And that means you suffer all the ill effects of that without knowing that all you need to stop the pain is a burger.
Oh, wow! A delicious and sweet-tasting soft drink with no calories? That sounds great!… Or it would be if you weren’t lying to my face.
The fact is that the artificial sweeteners used in diet sodas, namely aspartame and saccharin, actually INCREASE weight gain rather than halt it. It seams that nature and physiology have trained us to expect a lot of nutrition to accompany sweet-tasting food. However, since diet soda has no caloric value, our bodies instinctively start on a feeding frenzy to compensate for the confusion and get something worthwhile in our stomachs. Also, there’s reason to believe that aspartame is a known carcinogen just in case you needed another reason to avoid it.
The Final Point
Most of the commercial success of these fad diets and supplements comes from marketers and corporations feeding off of the most basic primal emotion of its consumer base: fear. We’re all afraid that if we don’t match some physical ideal, we will somehow become worthless to society.
What this fails to consider is that a) the physical ideal is a function of biology and environment rather than fashion, b) which fashions are physically appealing is a function of individual personality and psychology rather than group focus meetings, and c) even when the body is spent, the mind can still be useful and desirable.
Sooner or later, everyone will learn as I had to that the body can and will lose its luster over time and only personality and intellect will remain behind. However, they must be cultivated, trained, and routinely maintained. Stay healthy in body, but don’t do so at the expense of mind and soul. Also, make sure you’re actually being healthy.
- No, seriously: Diet sodas are terrible for you, too (today.com)
- Yes- There’s a Difference Between Dieting and Healthy Eating (healthcarespectator.wordpress.com)
- Does Someone Smell Feet? (athensmcminnlivingwell.wordpress.com)