Shangri La Diet

Since Seth Roberts was kind enough to send me a copy of his new book, the Shangri-La Diet, I thought I might as well read it. It looked pretty short, and there were a few chapters of notes at the end that I figured I could skip. At first I was a bit put off by the “no hunger, eat anything weight loss plan" line, which sounds like something Suzanne Somers would say, but after reading the book I was relieved to find that it was actually unlike most diet books.

In fact, I would say the overarching feeling I got from the book was sincerity. It came across as if Seth Roberts stumbled across this interesting idea and wanted to share it with the rest of us. It worked for him and lots of other people, the science looked reasonable, and he just wanted to pass it along. The book is well written, interesting, and worth reading.

The other big thing I noticed about the book is the reliance on blogging. Roberts seems to have relied heavily on comments in blogs like Annie’s Shangri La Diet Blog. In fact, I found a couple of my own comments quoted, which was kind of a strange experience (guess that’s why he sent me a copy). I imagine this might be the first diet book to be researched and developed via blog discussions.

They say anecdotal evidence is the worst kind of evidence, so I’m still very skeptical of this diet. I know animal studies seem to support the idea, and I know lots of people have had success with the oil and sugar water, but when it comes to diets there are so many variables that come into play that I think it’s very hard to know why people lose weight.

I tend to think that much of the time the success people have from a particular diet comes from the novelty effect. Simply by doing something different, such as writing down what they’re eating, exercising, or drinking sugar water, people introduce an artificial element into their life that can give them a new sense of control (for a short time). Maybe the oil or sugar water have some kind of placebo effect? Maybe just by doing this weird thing they feel more obligated not to overeat? Maybe they just pay more attention to what they’re eating than usual?

I’m dubious, but interested. So I decided to try it for myself. I’ll describe my Shangri-la diet experience in a separate post.


Stephen said...

Just hoping you had good results with the diet. I did.

Dianne said...

I started doing Shangri La diet about a week ago. I follow the rules very stringently. Overall the effect has been pretty nil. But I'm going to keep trying as I'm desperate for it to work. I think the sugar water makes me hungrier (I've been using both that and the oil), so I'm switching to oil only starting tomorrow.

If anyone else has had a slow start, but then became successful, I'd love to hear about it.