What’s all the fuss about the OMG diet?

Following on from my last post about my interview on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire about fad diets I thought I would expand this week on the current fad diet getting all the attention.  It is the ‘Six Weeks to OMG – Get Skinnier than all your Friends’ diet book.  It has sold FIVE times more copies than the popular Dukan diet.

The reason the OMG diet has been in the news recently is because the ASA (Advertising Standards Agency) banned a run of advertising that the publishers had booked on the London Underground.  There were a number of reasons why the adverts were banned but the main one that struck a chord with me was the one that stated that the title implied that ‘being skinny is desirable’.  Whilst ‘being skinny’ may be a motivating factor behind why some people want to lose weight the fact that this book is advocating being skinnier than your friends is worrying as it could encourage competitive dieting.


Using this type of language is dangerous because it sounds as if it is deliberately trying to appeal to teenage girls and as I said in my radio interview if you develop an unhealthy relationship with food in your teens it can be very difficult to overcome this as an adult.  The author of the book refutes that he is targeting teenage girls and says he has no intention to make dieting competitive between women.

Venice A. Fulton (aka Paul Khanna) claims to have studied more than 25,000 research papers and did his Sports Science degree at the same university I went to!  He states that the emotive style of language used in the book is purely to make all this scientific research simple for everyone to understand.

If the media is to be believed the book is all about drinking coffee, having cold baths, not eating breakfast and avoiding fruit.  Whilst there ARE studies that show each of these techniques could help to burn fat by either manipulating hormones or raising the metabolic rate; taken out of context they are at best completely useless and at worst dangerous.  As Deanne Jade from the National Centre for Eating Disorders points out “Teenagers will try anything, they will sit in a cold bath for hours’.

The problem is that you can pretty much find a study out there that will prove anything you want to find justification for and whilst Khanna claims to just be simplifying the research how does anyone know that the studies he chose to back his theories are the most scientifically robust?  We can’t know that without looking at the research papers ourselves and most people aren’t going to do that.

Defendants of the book say that once you have read it you will find that the author does not insist on some of the stricter measures (such as the cold baths) and that the main premise is to cut out processed and junk food.  Khanna himself says that the book is designed to educate people but the problem is that the media have latched on to the more sensational parts to the diet and just reported on those.  I imagine a lot of people won’t actually bother to read the book they will just read the (many) news stories and maybe try adding one or two of the things they pick up.

Imagine doing nothing to improve your diet and then just adding coffee (which most people drink anyway) and then skipping breakfast – that would be a sure fire way to put body fat on, not lose it!

I believe that with a common-sense approach to food you can achieve your weight loss goals whilst building habits that will last a lifetime, ensuring you live a full and vibrant life.  We all need to eat real food that nourishes us and allows our bodies to function as they are supposed to – when you are healthy you won’t store excess body fat – simples!

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