The Virgin Diet: calories don’t count

Calories don't count!

Calories don’t count!




It’s January, and the fad diets are coming out of the woodwork.  Exhibit A: The Virgin Diet.  The premise: you are a victim.  Fat is not your fault:

In this groundbreaking program, nutrition and fitness expert JJ Virgin reveals the real secret behind weight gain. It’s not calories, carbs or fat grams. It’s food intolerance.

Wow, way to refute the basic rules of physics.

Poor you!  You’re suffering from various food intolerances that are causing inflammation.  And it’s inflammation, not calories, which magically makes you gain fat.  It has nothing to do with how much you eat or how much time you spend sitting around all day.  Somewhere, Albert Einstein is laughing at this idea.

SIDE NOTE 1:  How come people with actual real inflammation (Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, severe infectious disease) lose weight?

SIDE NOTE 2: In fact, most health experts recognize that obesity causes inflammation, not the other way around.

But if you are determined to fork over money and embark on another fad diet, the Virgin Diet book and videos will teach you how to avoid all those supposedly inflammatory obesity-causing foods, such as soy, corn, gluten and the usual suspects.  If you remove all these foods, you’ll be magically cured.  You’ll also have to drastically re-arrange your food choices, and the inevitable result is you end up eating less food and less calories.  Leading to weight loss.

So if you follow the Virgin Diet, you might lose weight, thanks to calorie deficit.  If results are your goal, you might think this diet is a great idea, even if the premise is downright silly.  But if you simply swap a high calorie junky diet for a gluten-free/soy-free/etc-free high calorie junky diet, you won’t lose weight.  It’s the calories.

One of my colleagues, Janet Helm RD, recently lamented that the top 3 diet searches for 2013 New Year’s resolutions were Paleo, Atkins and Gluten-Free.  She wished the searches were for “healthy habits” rather than fad diets.  I agree.  Fad diets haven’t helped us lose weight in the decades since they became big business.  We’ve only gotten fatter.  Yet diet insanity continues: people keep grasping at ineffective fad diets, expecting a different result.   But the fad diet promoters are raking in the buck$, including Ms. Virgin.  And a year from now, no one will be thinner and we’ll be talking about the next fad diet.

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