The Diet Scam

Diets (according to the public relations industry and mainstream media) are all about losing weight. Losing weight requires consuming fewer calories. Losing weight according to mainstream propaganda requires eating foods and drinks that are low in calories.

“Lite” foods typically cost the same as regular foods but have fewer calories. Thus in order to get the same amount of calories one must spend more on food when on a diet. This often has a dramatic effect, especially in foods that are otherwise high in fat, which are calorie-rich. Here’s an example of how the scam breaks down:

Old daily diet:
7.6 oz. ground beef – 605 calories – 38g fat – 27 g carb – 35g prot
1 cup yogurt – 260 calories – 6g fat – 46g carb – 6g prot
1 can soda – 151 calories – 0.1g fat – 0g carb – 0g prot
10 oz. ice cream – 381 calories – 39.7g fat – 71.4g carb – 15.9g prot
fruits and vegetables – 200 calories
pasta/rice – 400 calories

New daily diet:
7.6 oz chicken breast – 304 calories – 3.8g fat – 0g carb – 60.8 prot
1 cup non-fat yogurt – 140 calories – 0g fat – 22g carb – 10g prot
1 can diet soda – 0 calories – 0g fat – 0g carb – 0g prot
10 oz. no-fat ice cream – 120 calories – 0g fat – 28g carb – 2g prot
fruits and vegetables – 200 calories
pasta/rice – 400 calories

These diets have roughly the same cost (the “healthy” diet may be a bit more expensive) but have vast differences in calorie in-take. The former diet is 1997 calories, about the recommended adult in-take. The latter diet is 1164 calories, a bit over half of what an adult needs to sustain his or her body. So what happens is that the person makes the diet change, realizes he needs to eat more food, then he spends more money to make up the calories he lost from the diet switch. Not only money but also time becomes an issue, as healthy eaters spend a lot more time eating because they are literally eating much more food, since the food they eat has far fewer calories per gram and per serving.

While this is a clear scam I often wonder about the Atkins diet. Protein is much more expensive per calorie than either fat or carbohydrates, regardless of the source. Carbohydrates are the cheapest source of calories which is why so much of the world consumes so many carbohydrates. I find it curious that Atkins emerged in popularity almost overnight and while the meat industry was “under siege” from environmentalists. The mainstream media was pushing the Atkins diet to an unbelievable extent, never a good sign.

The scam has a secondary function – to enhance the reputation of the companies that produce this food. So not only are they getting people to spend more on food they can claim to be providing consumers the service of “healthier” food.

In terms of wealthy people who have the time necessary to spend much more of it eating, it’s a good idea to eat healthy. But I also find it quite curious that poor Americans are so often criticized for an unhealthy diet when they literally cannot afford to eat healthy, either in money or in time. If America was serious about good health, all Americans would have their diets fully subsidized.

It’s amazing how different America looks when one opens up the hood and tinkers with the parts.

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