The OMG Diet…Like Totes Made Me LOL

Want to lose 20 pounds of pure fat in just 6 weeks?!

This is a claim from the latest fad dieting craze. The OMG Diet is based off the sensationalist book, Six Weeks To OMG: Get Skinnier Than All Your Friends. Published in July 2012, it is written by British author, Venice A. Fulton. The book has been criticized for its unorthodox dieting and fitness tips with ideals suggestive to that of eating disorders.  He also stresses “competitive dieting” in order to be the skinniest of all your friends and have them saying “OMG, you look great!”

I scoured through the internet in an attempt to learn more about Venice Fulton, which is only his “pen name”. The author’s real name is Paul Khanna and, according to various sources, he reveals little about himself, his background, and his credentials. What I do know about him is that he hails from North London and has a bachelor’s degree in Sports Science from the University of Bedfordshire. He supposedly helps celebrities (who still remain unnamed) with drastic weight loss.

The author’s strange health tips go against most of the information I have ever learned in my six years of higher education in nutrition. They include:

1.)      Skipping breakfast –  Fulton says: “In the morning, your body has almost no blood sugar floating around, and you literally have once in a day opportunity to burn stored fat immediately.”

2.)    Certain fruits block fat loss – “Fruits and their spin offs like smoothies, certainly contain vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, but they also tend to be rich in fructose.” says Fulton.  “Fructose stops leptin, our body’s fuel gauge, from doing its job. With nothing telling us to pull the gas nozzle out, we keep eating.”

3.)    Snacking is evil – “There’s no such thing as a healthy snack,” says Fulton. “Anything that is consumed between major meal times is certainly unhealthy. And that covers every single thing that is regarded as a health snack. Your body must have long gaps between meals to live off its own structure.” “Snacking is holding back the whole globe. It’s wholly inappropriate for humans, unless you’re a baby.”

4.)    Exercise is most effective in the morning – Preferably prior to eating anything except a cup of black coffee.

5.)    Broccoli carbs are worse than soda carbs – Fulton says: “In some, the quantity of carbohydrate can itself determine their chance of skinny success, with the specific source of the carbs not making a noticeable difference.”

6.)    Guzzle down the coffee – “It encourages your body’s fat cells to open up and release their contents and you can use up more stored body fat as a fuel.” …Just remember to keep it black.

7.)    Cold baths – “Cold baths are a completely natural metabolism booster. The bath should be 68F/20 degrees celsius, which is room temperature water. If you sit in that water, your heart will beat 25 times faster than if you were standing normally in the room. That’s good because it forces your body to increase its metabolic rate. The effect can last up to 15 hours in some people. It’s incredible and a great way to eradicate a sluggish metabolism,” says Fulton.


So what CAN you eat on the OMG Diet??  Here are sample meal plans from two successful OMG-dieters. Doesn’t sound like much food does it? No wonder they lose weight.

Breakfast: Black coffee

Lunch: Tuna sandwich

Dinner: Grilled fish or pork with vegetables

Alcohol: Two pints of lager twice a week and ten pints on a night at the weekend


Breakfast: Diet Coke

Snack: Diet Coke

Lunch: Sandwich or salad with yogurt

Snack: Diet Coke

Dinner: Chicken with veg

Treat: Gin & Tonic every other night


So you’re telling me in order to lose 20 lbs in 6 weeks the only thing I need to do is wake up in the morning, skip breakfast, drink a cup of black coffee, exercise on an empty stomach, take a cold bath, avoid fruits and carbs, and never have any snacks throughout the day?

LOL … I think I would probably pass out from exhaustion and starvation. If I was trying to lose weight, I would try to do it in a healthy way. Yeah, this crazy fad diet might shed some pounds right away, but this type of lifestyle simply isn’t sustainable. Like most other fad diets, you’ll probably just end up gaining all the weight back (if not more).

Not to mention, breakfast is the MOST important meal of the day because it gets your metabolism revving from the get go.  You should eat 5-6 small-portioned meals a day in order to keep your metabolism continuously running.  Another problem I have with this diet is that carbs are NOT the enemy…50-60% of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates, preferably healthy ones such as FRUIT. Fruit is a great nutrient-dense, low-calorie source of vitamins and minerals. Yes, fruit contains fructose…but there’s nothing wrong with that because fructose is a natural sugar. Trust me, apples and bananas are NOT going to make you fat.  And when did the temperature of my shower effect my body fat? Pssh please. I like my showers steaming hot, thank you.

My opinion is pretty obvious here, and the name is exactly how I feel about this diet…OMG.



The Paleo Diet

Were our ancestors doing something right?

Lately, I have had several people ask me about the “Paleo Diet”.  After some investigating of my own, I realized this caveman-like diet is coming back into popularity.  This diet is based on the wild plants and animals that our ancestors ate during the Paleolithic Era, a period of 2.5 million years that ended about 10,000 years ago along with the human development of agriculture.  This diet was popularized in the 1970’s by gastroenterologist, Walter Voegtlin, who published the book, The Stone Age Diet: Based on In-Depth Studies of Human Ecology and the Diet of Man. The nutritional theory behind the Paleo Diet is that the human species has rarely changed genetically since the dawn of agriculture, and the best diet is that which was consumed by our ancient relatives.  Paleo supporters suggest that individuals who consume a hunter-gatherer type diet benefit from being generally free of modern diseases.  The Paleo diet is believed to possibly prevent “diseases of modern civilization” such as obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, colon cancer, and acne.

The Paleo Diet is high protein (19-35% of energy) and low carbohydrate (22-40% of diet) with the majority of energy coming from animal products (56-65%) compared to plant products (36-45%).  Sounds a lot like the Atkins Diet, right?  The Paleo Diet consists of foods such as grass-fed meats, seafood, eggs, insects, fruit, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fungi/mushrooms, roots, herbs, and spices.  Compared to the modern American diet, the Paleo diet is much less energy-dense and is mostly free of grains, legumes, dairy, salt, refined sugar, processed oils, food additives, and chemicals.  The Paleo diet is NOT the Raw Food diet…fruits and veggies can be cookedWhat about beverages? Not surprisingly, water is the only drink of choice, although tea is sometimes allowed.  Coffee, alcohol, and sweetened beverages are totally out of the question as well.

The Paleo diet also promotes an active lifestyle.  It is believed that ancient hunter-gatherers used about 1/3 of their caloric energy on physical activity (that is equivalent to burning around 1000 calories on a 3000 calories/day diet).  This is similar to the recommendation proposed by the World Health Organization that individuals should average about 60 minutes/day of moderate-intensity physical activity.

What are some potential benefits of the Paleo Diet?

  • Chronic disease prevention – This topic is debated among researchers, but the results seem promising.
  • Weight loss – Due to a mere lack of calorie density.
  • High in fiber – Found in high quantities in fruits, veggies, and beans.
  • Absence of allergens – The Paleo diet is naturally casein-free and gluten-free. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye and is the proponent of Celiac Disease that causes inflammation of the lining of the small intestines (causing bloating, abdominal discomfort, and poor absorption of nutrients).
  • High in omega-3 fatty acids – Found in fatty fish (such as salmon) and nuts, omega-3’s have been shown to reduce the risk for heart disease.
  • Satisfying for meat-lovers

Want to try a 1 week Paleo Meal plan (with shopping list)?  Paleo Meal Plan and Shopping List

What’s the risk for people starting the Paleo Diet?  Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are the major concern.  With little dairy being consumed, calcium needs to come from green, leafy vegetables (a hard thing for some people to do).  A high fat diet can also also be detrimental.  Even though some argue that the high omega-3 content of the diet can help in the prevention of heart disease, the Paleo diet is also moderately high in saturated fat.  Thus, dieters should try to buy leaner cuts of meat to avoid the saturated type of fat.  One of the things that concerns me the most is that this diet is extremely difficult to follow and stick to over a long period of time.  In today’s modern age, it is simply unrealistic to cut out entire food groups from your diet…not to mention this diet just doesn’t sound that palateable or tasty (I mean come on, who doesn’t love carbs and cheese?!).  And being that I am in grad school, cost is always weighing on my mind.  Constantly having to buy lean cuts of meat, fish, fresh fruits, veggies, and nuts is going to burn a whole in your wallet and have you running to the grocery store a few times a week. Who has the cash or the time for that? In fact, in 2011 The U.S. News and World Report ranked the Paleo diet dead last in a ranking of Best Diets Overall.  A panel of experts ranked the diets based on health benefits, weight loss, and ease of following.

The Paleo Diet sounds like it could work if someone is able to stick to it religiously and willing to spend money. But personally, it is just not realistic for me. What do you think of the Paleo diet?

Want to try to make a Paleo-inspired recipe at home?  There are numerous Paleo recipes and cookbooks on the market.  I thought this one sounded pretty simple…and it looks delicious!

Salmon with Cherry Tomato Salsa and Asparagus. Compliments of

Salmon with Cherry Tomato Salsa and Asparagus Recipe

Serves: 4

Salmon Preparation 


  • 4 wild salmon fillets, skin-on
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  1. Set your oven to broil.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, lemon zest, lemon juice and olive oil. Whisk well. Rub the salmon thoroughly with the mixture on both sides. Place in a covered dish to marinade in the refrigerator for about 35 minutes.
  3. Line a baking sheet with foil. Once the salmon has marinted, place on the baking sheet and place in the oven to broil for 8 to 10 minutes, or until pale pink and flaky.

Roasted Asparagus Preparation


  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 F.
  2. Remove the tough part off of the asparagus stalks. Spread the asparagus out on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Toss the asparagus to ensure it’s all evenly coated and cook for 10 minutes, flipping once after 5 minutes.

Cherry Tomato Salsa Preparation

  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
  1. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Whisk well. Add the cherry tomatoes. Toss the mixture together.
  2. Serve over the salmon once it’s cooked.

Good luck! Let me know if you try the recipe 🙂

FDA Approves New Weight Loss Drug, Belviq

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new weight loss drug, the first in the U.S. market in over 13 years.  The last weight loss drug, Orlistat (or generically Xenical), was approved in 1999 and worked by preventing the absorption of fats from the diet. On Wednesday the FDA approved the anti-obesity drug, Belviq (or generically lorcaserin).  Arena Pharmaceuticals attempted to have the drug approved in 2010, but scientists found tumors in animals taking the drug.  After some additional data was resubmitted, clinical studies in humans found the drug to be safe with no concern of tumors.  Typical side effects include depression, migraines, and memory lapses. It is expected to hit the market some time next year.

The FDA has approved the drug, Belviq, for weight loss. It is expected to hit the market in 2013. It is the first weight loss drug to be approved in the U.S. in over a decade.

With nearly 2/3 of the U.S. population being overweight or obese, the obesity epidemic in this country is staggering.  The drug allows doctors to prescribe a drug marketed for obese individuals (BMI of 30 or above) or overweight individuals (BMI of 27 or higher) who also present at least one comorbid condition related to obesity (such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol).  It is not meant to be used alone, however.  Patients should use the drug to supplement a healthy diet, regular exercise, and an active lifestyle.  Arena Pharmaceutical performed three randomized-control clinical trials consisting of over 8,000 participants  (diabetic and non-diabetic) lasting over 1-2 years.  Belviq showed moderate weight loss.  Patients lost an average of 3-3.7% of their starting weight over the course of a year.  Nearly 47% of diabetic patients lost an average of 5% of their starting weight, making it an effective weight loss tool for the FDA’s standards.  However, if individuals don’t see any significant weight loss in the first three months, it is unlikely that they will have beneficial results by continuing to stay on the drug.  The company is required by the FDA to conduct six more postmarketing studies to assess the drugs cardiovascular safety and the risk of stroke and heart attack.

How does the drug work?  The drug works by altering chemical signals in the brain that control appetite and hunger.  Belviq triggers the receptors for the neurotransmitter, Serotonin, which triggers feelings of fullness and satiety.  Taking Belviq can make a person feel fuller after eating smaller amounts of food, leading to a calorie deficit and eventual weight loss.  The drug works similar to the biochemical process that makes anti-depressants so effective – they prevent the reuptake of specific neurotransmitters.

Are weight loss drugs the answer to America’s obesity problems? Absolutely not. Unfortunately, however, this is the mentality of many people who are prescribed a weight loss drug.  Patients believe that this “magic pill” will suddenly melt the fat off their body and they can continue to eat and do whatever they want without putting in any work.  Therefore, the public needs to be educated on how to properly manage their weight with proper diet and exercise…and this is where dietitians come in! I also think diet pills can be beneficial for people who have been “yo-yo” dieting their whole life.  Individuals will try to lose weight for a short amount of time, and when they don’t see the results they want, they give up and go back to their old habits.  By “failing” at their weight loss goals, the lose their confidence in their ability to shed the pounds.  I think this is where anti-obesity drugs can be the most effective.  For people who have lost their confidence, a drug may spark some weight loss.  When patients see such positive results, they will begin to gain back the self-efficacy needed to maintain sufficient weight loss.  Eventually (and hopefully) people will learn to wean off the drug and be able to maintain their weight on their own…not to mention properly manage comorbid conditions like diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, and high blood pressure.

For more information on Belviq, check out the FDA report at:

Jenny Craig in America vs. France – Cultural norms make all the difference

In a recent article in The New York Times Magazine, “French Women Worry About Getting Fat, Too” , American dieting customs have moved from across the Atlantic and into Europe.  The article discusses how Nestle has established it’s Jenny Craig brand into one of the healthiest countries, France.  The fact that dieting plans, such as Jenny Craig, is being implemented in France is intriguing.  This is because France has an extremely low obesity rate (14.5%) and has the highest percentage of underweight people in Western Europe. However, the obesity rate has been on the rise. In fact, 15 years ago the obesity rate in France was only 8.5%.  Compared to America, these numbers are remarkable.  The obesity rate in America is around 35%. However, if you account for both overweight and obese individuals, this accounts for nearly two-thirds of the U.S. population.  So the question is: What is the French secret for staying thin? And how can Jenny Craig possibly be successful in a country that has such different culinary customs?

The “French model” of eating couldn’t be more opposite from the way Americans are used to eating.  First off, the French are very proud of their exquisite cuisine and cooking skills.  Whereas most Americans are used to eating convenient, processed foods that require as little time to prepare as possible.  Secondly, the French believe meals should be a communal and social experience. This is drastically different from the American way of individualistic eating and eating focused only on the “self”.  Maybe American’s shouldn’t be as concerned with what’s on the table and more focused on who is at the table.  I think this is a revolutionary and brilliant idea to help battle the obesity problem in the U.S.  People shouldnt’ be snacking mindlessly while watching TV, in front of a computer screen, or driving to work.  Meals should be a conscious experience employing all the senses (sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing) and stimulated with social interaction.

So what exactly is Jenny Craig?  Jenny Craig is a weight loss plan where clients receive frozen prepackaged meals delivered to their door or delivered to one of its many centers.  Meals are to be supplemented with fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. As the client gets closer and closer to their weight loss goal, the more non-Jenny Craig foods that can be incorporated into their diet.  Clients also meet individually with program consultants for education and support.  American consultants are required to be properly trained in the Jenny Craig mantra, whereas (interestingly) French consultants are required to be actual dietitians.  This is something I feel very strongly about. Maybe I am slightly biased because I am going to be a Registered Dietitian, but I think it is important for Jenny Craig consultants to have the proper nutrition education. (This would also offer up more jobs for RD’s!)

In France, however, it is not looked highly upon to be on a diet because, in theory, healthy foods and small portions should be a part of every day life (and not just a short-term answer).  French women who are on a diet tend to not mention it to anyone and instead just take smaller portions from the family style serving dish.  With this attitude towards dieting, it has been difficult for Jenny Craig to be successful in this country.

One of the most interesting cultural differences is the idea of snacking.   Americans are encouraged to eat six small meals a day, represented in the Jenny Craig program with “Anytime Bars”.  The French find the idea of snacking as preposterous and eat, at the most, three meals a day.  This stems from the French way of communal eating.  It makes sense…snacks are meant to be eaten by yourself and on the run. Something that the French simply don’t believe in.  Along the same lines, the French take on dessert consists mainly of fruit. Cakes, cookies, and other baked items are only for special occasions.

How has Jenny Craig attempted to carve its niche in French society? For one, the prepackaged meals offered in France are much more exquisite and tasty than the macaroni and cheese, cinnamon French toast, and chocolate cakes offered in the U.S.  Secondly, the packaging of the food is also more upscale.  The Jenny Craig meals in the U.S. are being delivered in cheap, white foam boxes while the French meals are served in a much more appealing and elegant patterned container (as shown below).

And lastly, the marketing scheme is being geared towards the French’s attitude and mindset toward life.  The French are traditionally very cynical and self-depricating, with one of the highest rates of depression throughout the country (based on medication usage).  Therefore, Jenny Craig has had to tweak its marketing plan towards a more pessimistic audience.  The French Jenny Craig website avoids slogans attempting to boost self-esteem, and instead focuses on more logical statements such as, “I did the Jenny Craig solution. It works!”

The food culture differences between the U.S. and France is completely fascinating.  Some people may be skeptical of the French’s approach to food.  However, when the statistics show the declining health of Americans are and the slimmer waist lines of the French, it’s pretty hard to ignore the facts.

For further reading on this topic, check out the book The French Don’t Diet Plan.