Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Diet Book for Organic Lovers

O.K. I admit it. I'm a bit of a sucker for diet books. I guess I keep hoping each book is going to tell me I can eat whatever I want, when I want and I'll look slim and beautiful.

We both know any book that told me that would be lying!

My latest diet book is S.A.S.S. Yourself Slim: Conquer cravings, drop pounds, and lose inches by Cynthia Sass. It's... well... predictable.

It begins with a 5-Day, 5-Food Fast Forward. Basically for 5 days you eat spinach, raspberries, almonds, organic eggs, nonfat plain organic yogurt, and some seasonings. The author promises that eating these foods in various combinations will cause you to lose "up to 8 pounds."

I don't doubt this is true. It's called "water weight" and generally happens no matter what diet you go on. Frankly, after eating only those foods for 5 days I'd throw the diet out the window and binge on a hamburger and fries!

After finishing the 5 Day, 5 Food Fast Forward you begin the real diet. This plan calls for you to eat 4 times a day (breakfast, lunch, snack, supper) every 3-5 hours. Makes sense.

Every meal/snack should include: produce, whole grain, lean protein, plant-based fat, and SASS (seasonings). In other words, eat the food pyramid/plate according to correct serving sizes.

Overall I think S.A.S.S. is very basic and a common sense approach to dieting and nutrition. My frustration come from the menus she includes and her insistence on organic foods. She quotes a ton of "studies" to support her claims for organic food and different food combinations.

Warning: I'm climbing on a soapbox.

Folks, just because there is a study does not mean it is scientifically reliable.

If 25, 50 or 100 people were in the study THAT IS NOT A LARGE ENOUGH SAMPLE TO BE RELIABLE. It just isn't. Also, you need to read a study and see what the variables were in it. How did the researcher arrive at her conclusions?

For example, a couple of weeks ago our local news station shared a story from a nearby university in which there were 2 cages of pregnant lab mice. One cage had a turned off cell phone placed on top. The other cage had a turned on cell phone placed on top. After the baby mice were born they were observed for an undisclosed amount of time. The conclusion was that the mice in the cage with the cell phone ON were more hyper and ADD because of the magnetic radiation given off by the cell phone. The hypothesis was then made that if pregnant women spend a lot of time on their cell phones or with their phones on and near their bellies then their babies may be hyperactive.

The above example is terrible science! It didn't tell the distance from the phone to the mice, how the mice were observed or how it was determined that they were hyper. It also didn't test what happened when you used different sized/styles/brands of cell phones. Yet a conclusion was drawn from 2 cages of lab mice.

Most of the studies presented in diet books (and on Facebook!) are also terrible science, just like the cell phone-lab mice study. Be careful to read the studies your nutritional gurus are quoting. 

Climbing off soapbox.

So, what's my conclusion about S.A.S.S.?

If you enjoy eating organic, non-mainstream food (and your family does as well), then this is the diet plan for you. If you don't enjoy that kind of food, then I recommend you stick with the Food Plate, eat correct serving sizes and exercise. You won't drop the pounds overnight but you're more likely to keep them off long term.

What's your favorite diet/nutrition plan?

Disclosure: Thank you to the One2One Network for providing a copy of S.A.S.S. Yourself Slim to aid in my review. The above review is solely my opinion and was not influenced by anyone.

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