The View is no stranger to”did they really just say that?” moments (remember Sherri Shepherd’s claim that not only she did not know whether the Earth was round or flat but had no time to find out because she was too busy raising her children?).
This past Friday, what could have been your typical weight-loss-in-the-coming-year segment made my jaw hit the floor and my eyebrows catapult to the ceiling.
Rather than bring on an expert (imagine that — someone who knows what they’re talking about!) to discuss three or four often-overlooked healthy changes that could make a real difference in people’s lives, producers thought it would be better to instead expose millions of viewers to five gimmicky diet plans that only further confuse the public.
Oh-so-coincidentally, View co-host Whoopi Goldberg is on one of them right now.
The first recommended diet? None other than Dr. Segal’s Cookie Diet, which consists of “eating low-calorie cookies and one healthy meal a day.”
Really, producers of The View? That is what you consider groundbreaking and news worthy? A diet plan that first made the rounds approximately five years ago?
Despite the frothy advertising, there is no secret here. This nonsense is nothing else than extreme caloric restriction that fools people into thinking they are being indulgent because they get to munch on a a few cookies a day.
I’m surprised no one has come up with the “Ben & Jerry’s Diet” yet. You know — eat nothing but a tablespoon of Ben & Jerry’s every three hours and a sensible dinner, and you’ll be at your goal weight in no time!
Up next — Melissa Bowman Li’s Physio Cleanse, which Whoopi Goldberg is currently on and raving about.
I was very surprised to learn Ms. Bowman Li is a Registered Dietitian, because the program relies on distracting gimmicks.
For example — you start off with a 28 day “cleanse”, in which alcohol, caffeine, sugar, gluten, and dairy are off-limits.
News flash: it is completely possible to avoid that entire list and still overeat, just like it is possible to eat all those items and lose weight.
Even more annoyingly, Bowman Li claims this particular diet helps the body “eliminate toxins through the lungs, skin, kidneys, and bowels.”
Perhaps Ms. Bowman Li has forgotten basic human physiology — the human body does that on its own. A cup of coffee and a bowl of Greek yogurt are not toxin-releasing roadblocks.
Once again, the real “secret” here is a meal plan high in whole foods and fiber and low in processed foods. The removal of caffeine and dairy is irrelevant.
The Perfect 10 Diet and the 7-Day Energy Surge were also featured, but are so vague and general in their descriptions that they aren’t even worth discussing. Both employ your usual terminology of “key hormones”, “feel at your peak” and promises of “jumpstarting weight-loss” and “reducing stress” “in minutes.”
By the way, why do so many diet books contain numbers in their titles? Is it solely to make you feel like a complete loser if it takes you nine days to get that “energy surge” (oh, how awful!)?
The absolute worst of this lot, however, is Jorge Cruise’s Belly Fat Diet, which is nothing more than Atkins revisited (again!).
According to Cruise, his plan allows you to “lose troublesome belly fat without counting calories or going to the gym.” A couch potato’s dream — and such a hokey late-night infomercial pitch!
Like Atkins, Gary Taubes, and countless others, Cruise claims “belly fat” is all about “keeping insulin low by limiting carbohydrates and sugar.”
This, says Cruise, is much more effective than simply eating less and exercising more. In fact, Cruise considers calories absolutely irrelevant.
Despite claims that you will not eat less on this plan, this “groundbreaking” diet is also about limiting your calories.
For example, one popular tactic provided by Cruise is to ditch the hamburger bun and wrap your burger in a lettuce leaf.
Yes, certainly a lower-carb option, but also one that decreases calorie content by anywhere from 200 to 300 calories!
Oh, but, no, Cruise says “carbohydrate [content is] the only number you need to know”.
Of course, there are plenty of head-scratching tips. While Cruise shuns dairy products and whole fruits because of their naturally-occurring sugars, he finds it perfectly okay for people on his plan to eat French fries and dip them in ketchup. Huh?
There’s also a pulled-out-of-who-knows-where concept of “carb servings”. According to Cruise, a “carb serving” consists of anywhere from 5 to 20 grams of carbohydrates. THAT is how you determine whether a meal is “belly good” or “belly bad” — by the number of “carb servings”.
As a result of all this carbphobia, Cruise would much rather you drink a Diet Snapple (artificially-colored water spiked with artificial sweeteners) than an iced low-fat latte.
It is a true shame that The View decided to devote camera time to these baseless diets that rely on gimmicks and hype, rather than factual information that can actually — gasp — help people lead healthier lives!
Many thanks to New York City Registered Dietitian Elisa Zied for making me aware of this TV segment via Twitter.