Weight Loss Scams: A Systemic Problem...
One of the most common complaints I get from people is that there is so much conflicting information available online it seems impossible to parse out the good from the bad. Between well-meaning friends on Facebook who share nutritional information that's more concerned with going "viral" than it is with actually sticking to the facts (you won't believe what [insert commonly eaten food here] is doing to your body!), and the shady "insta-trainers" who are eager to make a quick buck by convincing you that buying their detox, "fit tea" is going to make you look like them, it's pretty hard to know who to trust.
Lots of noise, not so much signal...
So today I thought it might be fun to shed a little light on the basic "ingredients" of a weight loss scam using an obviously silly example.
Enjoy, and please (for the love of God), do not take this seriously.
Fact: Only 3% of Japan's population are obese (compared to ~34% in America).
Fact: Many Japanese people use CHOPSTICKS to eat.
Conclusion? Chopsticks cause weight loss!
The Diet: Eat all your meals with chopsticks this week and I guarantee you'll lose weight!
How does it work?
The fine motor skills required to operate the chopsticks send a unique signal to the cerebellum in your brain. And what does the cerebellum do? It coordinates and regulates muscular activity! Using chopsticks flips the "on-switch" in your brain so that it thinks you're EXERCISING rather than eating.
Now all the carbs you eat are preferentially stored as glycogen to keep your muscles full of energy.
Congratulations. You are now a fat-burning NINJA.
This approach marries the wisdom of the East with the latest modern scientific principles.
But what do you do when weight loss stalls?
Don't worry! Nothing works forever. When weight loss stalls, it's time to take things to the next level with...
After countless failed prototypes, we've finally designed the perfect weight loss chopsticks. These chopsticks have been engineered with precise specifications to send the most POWERFUL signal possible to your cerebellum to MAXIMIZE fat burning.
They are also made from 100% organic, non-GMO Japanese bamboo. The natural antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties found in this bamboo will protect your body from harmful toxins and will preferentially target the "bad" bacteria that is RUINING your gut health.
Say goodbye to your bloated stomach!
These chopsticks are available for a limited time only. The special bamboo used to make these takes a long time to grow and is VERY rare.
Get them today for only 5 easy payments of $19.99 (while supplies last).
Now Let's Break It Down...
Okay, enough of that. It should be pretty obvious how ridiculous the claims above are, but trust me, I could have just as easily written something more subtle and convincing that would have been just as wrong.
Diet fads and scams like the one written above use a combination of spurious correlations, facts taken out of context, "science," name dropping, logical fallacies, and a little sprinkling of fear mongering thrown in for good measure (TOXINS omg).
And here's the ingenious nature of these scams:
They DO work (sometimes).
For example, if the average American ate solely with chopsticks for an entire week, there's a decent chance they WOULD lose weight! But not for any of the reasons mentioned above...
They'll lose weight because most Americans are pretty terrible at using chopsticks. So now you have to focus and slow down as you eat each meal. And guess what happens when you slow down and take your time when eating instead of shoveling the food down your mouth like it's a race?
You tend to eat less!
And, believe it or not, eating less tends to result in weight loss!
This is literally how EVERY SINGLE one of these fad diets work.
If you do get results, it's simply because (in one way or another) you end up consuming fewer calories than you were before. Why all the smoke and mirrors?
Well, it's kind of hard to sell "eat less and move more." And by keeping you in the dark they are able to up-sell you on all sorts of nonsense.
So, please, don't fall for these kind of gimmicks!
If it seems to good to be true, it probably (definitely) is.
One last thing, if you found this information useful, please "like" and "share" this post. I don't know about you, but my social media feeds are full of people sharing detox scams, 30 day "cleanses," miracle berries, and alarmist headlines from the media.
Let's balance the scales a bit.
- Kevin Finn
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Let me just come right out and say it...
For most people in most circumstances, worrying about the glycemic index of a food is a pointless endeavor.
The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of a carbohydrate’s glycemic response, i.e. the extent in which it affects blood sugar levels after eating it. In general, we are told that lower GI foods are better for us.
Here’s the problem with using the GI to determine “good” and “bad” foods though...
The GI of a food is determined by eating said food in isolation after an overnight fast. I don't know about you, but I usually don't chow down on a carbs-only breakfast with nothing else...
But guess what happens when you eat a high GI food during the day as part of a normal mixed meal?
The fiber, fat, and protein contained in the other foods will greatly reduce the speed in which your meal is digested—which will lower the GI of the meal as a whole. Essentially, if you’re eating your carbs along with foods containing fat, protein, and/or fiber, the differences in GI between something like white rice or brown rice are totally washed out.
It’s much more important to pay attention to your total energy balance, your total carb intake (in relation to protein and fats), and your level of physical activity than it is to nit-pick carb choices using the GI.
I think it was Dr. Mike Israetel who raised the excellent point that Ben and Jerry's ice cream is a low GI food. That alone should tell you something...
- Kevin Finn
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