Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Reader’s Digest new fat-melting diet

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I was pretty excited when one of the doctors at my temp job gave me the latest copy of Reader’s Digest to trash it. I know that he intended for me to throw it out but I wanted to trash it figuratively first. How could I not, with a headline like this?

The article touts the weight loss of Reader’s Digest staff after being on the diet for three weeks. The article states: “We lost 151 pounds in 3 weeks!” I’m not even going to get into how poorly the staff at the magazine must normally eat if they all saw double-digit weight loss over the course of 21 days. The fact that it’s a 21-day plan is a concern to me. It reeks of the dreaded “D” word. I wouldn’t be surprised if most, if not all, of the staff had regained the weight by the time the issue hit the newsstands. Sorry, but we all know that diets don’t work. If you want to see sustainable results, you need to makes sustainable changes.

Continuing on, there’s information on “13 essential fat releasers”. Supposedly the calories in these foods actually “thwart your body’s desire to hold on to fat, so you lose weight quickly and without hunger.” I’m not going to get into specifics on each of these foods as that would just take up way too much space and time. Suffice to say, there are no magical fat-loss foods. All of the foods mentioned in the article are certainly healthy choices. However, the benefits that the staff saw from them were not due to their magical properties. They were a result of switching from calorie-dense, nutrient-poor eating habits. One staffer is quoted as saying: “I used to inhale four cheeseburgers in two minutes. Now I’m satisfied by a 35-calorie piece of cheese.” Do we really think his 26-pound weight loss was due to special fat-releasers in the foods he ate? I’m fairly confident that his weight loss was due to the fact that he had a lot of extra weight to lose to being with and from switching from a very high calorie diet to healthier, lower calorie foods in smaller portions, not as a result of magical fat-releasers.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but there’s no magic foods you can eat to “release fat”. If you want to lose weight (and keep it off) you’re going to need to do some work.

Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people see food and nutrition from a different perspective and understand that nutrition and health are not necessarily a result of personal choice.

One thought on “Reader’s Digest new fat-melting diet

  1. I am SO GLAD to hear someone finally say it. I knew it had to be BS about the “fat releasers,” but I’ve scoured the web for a critical review of the claim, and you’re apparently the only other person out there who has questioned it. If RD says a food is magic, most people assume it must be so. The magazine should be sued for using their high profile to take advantage of their fat, overly optimistic readers.


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