Diet Fad Insanity

Here's a couple of articles that came to me by way of email (thanks Karen & Jim).

100-calorie nibbles

For the dieter who's looking to lose a few, the market wants to help you.

For the past couple of years, certain companies have offered small portions of snack foods bundled in 100-calorie packs. Roughly 175 products — among them Nabisco's Oreos and Teddy Grahams, Hershey's Dark Chocolate and, yes, even Hostess' Twinkies, in the form of Twinkie Bites — come in small sizes. Do they work?

Weight loss surgery's complications devastate some patients

Sandi Krueger of Turlock dropped 120 pounds with weight-loss surgery, but she is hardly a success story.

The 2002 surgery led to chronic malnutrition and anemia. As the pounds melted away, so did her life.

With a sunken face and protruding collar bones, she is too weak to work and spends most afternoons on the couch wrapped in a blanket.

She has thoughts of giving up, but wants to be there for 12-year-old daughter Megan and 19-year-old son Dustin.

"It's not acceptable leaving me like this," said the 103-pound Krueger, who at 38 looks closer to 50. "I've gone to doctor after doctor and basically they don't help me."

This is a very tragic story and I consider Ms. Krueger and victim of people who should have taken care of her.

Wouldn't it just be so much easier to eat all the meat, natural fat (animal, coconut, olive), vegetables (swimming in fat is A-OK too), fruit (smoothies blended with eggs and lots of fat — heavy cream and/or coconut milk — is also A-OK — (are you detecting a theme, here?)) that you want, get the highest nutrition possible, and watch the pounds melt away, widespread inflammation reduce, and moderate of correct most health problems, particularly those of an autoimmune nature?

Do you know why America is fatter than ever? It is squarely and precisely because its fear of fat is greater than ever. Fat (natural fat) is king. Once you learn this, everything falls right into place.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Ann on January 27, 2009 at 11:22

    I tend to agree but I also wonder what effect soil (and therefore nutrient) depletion has on people's hunger levels? I would think it would leave people chronically hungry & (even on a "good" diet) slightly overweight.

  2. Monica on January 27, 2009 at 13:48

    You may be right, Richard… but if the animals we are eating are eating mineral deficient food, I wonder whether we're getting adequate trace mineral nutrition from the animals we eat, either (depending on where they were raised)?

    I honestly don't know. It's something I'd like to do some research into but haven't had time yet. 🙂

  3. Madmax on January 28, 2009 at 00:57

    On the other hand, Stallone has maintained his muscle mass. But its obvious, its done with the use of steroids. He's 62, but I wonder what kind of longevity he will have.

  4. J on January 27, 2009 at 18:57

    Richard, great post. It is incredible, I was at my fitness center today and they were talking how it was SO important to CUT OUT THE FAT in the diet. Even Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel approve of their low fat diets. I used to eat chicken, fish, choke fulls of oatmeal, veggies and protein shakes, for "2,000 calories worth" and was carrying 4% more body fat at optimum. I felt hungry so all the time that I eventually gave up altogether and probably added a good 20 lbs of fat.

    Today, I could down a ribeye without guilt and guess what, I am in the best physical condition I have ever been….too bad this natural food diet is a secret to the general public.

    Richard, the low fat diet worked horribly for me, but how come it actually works for many. Why do models, body builders, and celebrities have so much success with it?

  5. Richard Nikoley on January 27, 2009 at 12:08

    I think soil depletion is a red herring, particularly in comparison to an optimal nutrition, Paleo-like diet. Be sure to check that "highest nutrition possible" link. When you're getting from 150 to 1000 times RDA in virtually everything, soil depletion becomes a non-issue in my book.

    Or, another way to think of it is if I ate lots of flour and sugar heavy products, as most Americans do, then perhaps soil depletion is an issue. Of course, correcting that would only marginally improve the nutrition. For real improvement, bump flour and sugar entirely.

  6. Madmax on January 27, 2009 at 21:08

    "Why do models, body builders, and celebrities have so much success with it?"

    I don't think they do have success with it. They starve themselves to look good at a particular time; for a model shoot or for a movie. But then they gain that wait back or they constantly battle food addictions and hunger.

    Take for example Gerard Butler of the movie 300 or any of the actors of that film. They worked out intensely and dieted with a low calorie diet for 2-3 months to strip their fat and get into the great shape they were in for that movie. But have you seen any of them lately? They put all that weight back or reverted to their less than stellar bodies. Butler himself looks decent at best and occasionally a little overweight.

    As for Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Beil. Reynolds lifts weights so he gets some good gene expression. But lets see how he looks in his mid 30s. Take a look at Jessica Beil lately. All that low fat dieting is making her look gaunt and run down. She is aging quickly. She is not as "fresh" as she was 4 and 5 years ago.

    Bottom line is low fat dieting does NOT work. In the end it catches up with everyone; Hollywood celebrities included.

  7. Monica on January 27, 2009 at 21:40

    "Richard, the low fat diet worked horribly for me, but how come it actually works for many. Why do models, body builders, and celebrities have so much success with it?"

    J, I actually did have some weight loss success with a lowfat diet in the past. However, I was younger. I was also hungry all the time and tired of counting everything on Weight Watchers.

    I am losing a bit more slowly now on a natural diet for two primary reasons, I think. First, I'm older. Second, I've yo yoed back and forth 30 pounds about five times. At least eating the foods I eat now, I feel like my diet is sustainable. Meaning I will be able to eat this way for the rest of my life, no problema with practically zero cravings for sugar, baked goods, etc.! It's wonderful. Those things do tempt me from time to time but I find it very easy to resist. I don't think anyone on a typical weight loss diet (Jenny Craig, WW, The Zone, South Beach, whatever) can really say that honestly.

  8. J on January 27, 2009 at 21:48

    good reply. I think Gerard Butler is a great example…He is jacked to shreds in 300, but he is definitely soft looking now. It sort of fits in with the title of this post really. People "fad diet". They need to lose weight for spring break, social gatherings, but then they go back to their bad ways.

    Its funny bodybuilders will carry 15% body fat in the offseason and as little as 3% in season. You look at guys like Keith Norris, Super Mike(55 year old from Devany's sight), Mark Sisson, and Arthur Devany himself, these guys are happily carrying around sub 10 percent body fat all year round.

    Sure, it may take more time to lose all that fat, but it stays off. It has taken Richard a long time to lose the fact, but in the end….sometimes the long haul is the safest way.

  9. Richard Nikoley on January 27, 2009 at 13:58

    Frankly, I know not whether I'm right or wrong, although I'm certain that allowing fields to lay fallow and replenish would be a good thing. It's just that there are so many HUGE issues (like frankenfood) that it just seems to marginalize some of the others, relatively.

  10. Richard Nikoley on January 28, 2009 at 14:16

    Yea, and the thing is that on a paleo-like diet, it takes very little working out to maintain a lean, healthful look.

  11. Richard Nikoley on January 28, 2009 at 14:22

    You are exactly right, J. In May, I will have been at this 2 years. Right now, I'm at about 43-45 pounds of net weight lost. Recently, some people asked for a photo update, I was going to do another set on my b-day, but I'm not down to 180, yet (currently bouncing 185-187). So, I'm just going to wait and see how the new crossfit routines and a couple of other adjustments work.

    The cool thing is that this has never felt like anything but a perfectly sustainable deal. Once I get down to <10%BF the only thing that will change is I won't fast as much. Otherwise, nothing changes, and that's far more important than the speed at which fat is lost. I have stalled for as much as two months. However, just keeping on the same track has always eventually cause the weight loss to kick back in again.

    Even still, I'm taking it off about 10 times faster than I put it on.

  12. Andy on January 29, 2009 at 20:52

    A common theme reported here and one that I've heard from many who have seen the Paleo light is how this way of eating is sustainable. (I hesitate to call it a diet, since that has other connotations).

    It is so simple, but many view it as a fad diet. Whatever. All I know is that I eat like a horse and don't watch one calorie or count one point and my body fat is down from close to 20% to hovering around 10%. This is from following a Paleo plan for less than a year. I don't get crazy with hunger and a lot of other health issues seem to disappear.

    People often say to me "well you don't need to watch your calories." I try to explain to them that it is not how many calories I eat but the QUALITY of the calories. Real food people – not frankenfoods.

    Keep up the good work Richard.

  13. J on January 31, 2009 at 10:23

    Andy, I feel very similar to you and my body fat percentage through a similar trend…What Richard emphasizes over and over again, is gene expression, and HORMONEs determine what happens to your bodies. Calories to some degree matter, but I eat like a horse too. I can put away 4,000-5,000 calories some days. I think its also important to see that the fasting takes care of the excess calories. Insulin levels(on a natural food way of eating) are constantly low, whether eating or not eating, and then put in full body compound movements in there, and your body is a muscle building, fat burning machine.

    If there has been one thing hat has taken my body composition to new heights, it would definitely be Richard's ideas of a 24 hour fast. Devany recommends only a 15 hr extended one, but when I started reading Richard's site, I have seen the best body comp that I have ever seen doing longer ones.

    Richard, where did u get the idea of applying the 30 hour intermittent fast? I never go to 30, I stop at 24, but where did u get the idea about 30. Brad Pilon recommends 24…i know, but what's your take?

  14. Richard Nikoley on January 31, 2009 at 11:37

    It was quite by coincidence. I began fasting some time before reading Brad's book, and I reasoned at the time that the fast really doesn't begin until about 6 hours after the last meal (when you normally would eat, again). So, to get a full 24 hours, I decided to go 30 hours meal to meal.

    Then I read Brad's book, wherein he claims that the fat burn kicks into high gear at 18 hours and increases up to 30 hours and so that kinda confirmed my method. Some of my fasts now are only 24, some 22. But I still try to get in a 30-hr once per week.

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