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How To Create a Fad Diet

Discussion in 'Dieting / Supplement Discussion' started by miaou, Jan 5, 2015.

  1. miaou

    miaou barely keeping it together

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    I thought this was both a pretty funny article and impressively on point. The author is a clinical neurologist and assistance professor of neurology at Yale (he is also pretty active against pseudoscience), so it's not just some random bloke.

     
  2. KILL KILL

    KILL KILL Gold Belt

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    That sounds on point.
     
  3. RafailNadull

    RafailNadull Brown Belt

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    Lol'd, which is anti-inflammatory so can afford to eat more carbs today
     
  4. Seriously-Dead

    Seriously-Dead wubbalubbadubdub

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    I know he's trying to make fun of fad diets, but I just can't help think about how he's actually pointing out everything fad diets do right to hook people, that people in the evidence-based medicine/fitness crowd fail to do.

    Cause really, all of these can be incorporated into an attractive and reasonable (!) diet plan:
    1) A sellable, identifiable, name
    2) Promise of a better life, achieving goals, success, etc.
    3) Testimonials and success stories
    4) Something unique about the approach
    5) Research backed (which invariably means taking RISKS on what research to rely on as the "seller" because the state of nutrition and fitness research is garbage and evolving).
    6) Scientific rationale
    7) Bad/Good foods (again, this means taking RISKS as the seller because the research is garbage)
    8) Defend your product/attack others who threaten it

    If the evidence-based fitness/nutrition crowd took a lesson from the all the popular fad diets, they'd take a few extra risks and do what the fad diets do -- but better. But they don't, because most of the people in this crowd suck at what they do, and are more content complaining about shit on their blogs and Facebook. Guys like Novella should be embarrassed fucking morons like Asprey and Food Babe are out-doing them. I certainly am, everyday.
     
  5. miaou

    miaou barely keeping it together

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    100% disagree with you there, man. The way to counter the "Food Babe" isn't to outdo her marketing strategies, it is to educate people.

    If you made a diet using your guidelines, then you're just entering the "who has the best marketing" competition. People who don't know any better would have no reason to prefer your diet over any other shitty fad diet with a sellable/identifiable name.

    Novella is actually trying to teach people how to think critically. He's trying to provide people with the mental tools to recognize empty marketing and bs claims.
     
  6. Pathogenic

    Pathogenic Wo Cao Ni Ma

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    While you know for a fact that I agree with you in principle (and I also find the article hilarious), I have to say that I greatly admire select fad diets for their ability to do exactly what SD mentioned.

    The best diet, in my own personal opinion, is the diet that produces the highest possible level of compliance with the least amount of thinking on the dieter's part. People online can educate others all they want about the real facts of calories and macronutrients, but the average person just wants to look good in a bikini, have abs, or make their ex jealous when they go to a mutual friend's wedding. They don't want to think. Most people are completely averse to things that involve effort or conscious thought, especially when it comes to food and exercise.

    Just as an example: I've been coaching people through novice lifting programs like SS for years, and everyone loves it because it's so simple and mindless. However, I always make the perilous mistake of assuming that enthusiasm is equally correlated with curiosity. Thus, when the time comes to talk about dieting, and they see a food scale or a couple of formulas, they run like crazy.

    I have successfully brought about 20 of my friends through SS (a mindless, cookie-cutter program with a cult-like following), but I've only ever successfully gotten about 8 to follow my much more detailed dieting approach. This is despite the fact that most of these people are my closest friends, and they know that I know what I'm doing. One of my best friends, who was a groomsman at my wedding, has been hearing me tell him that he needs to eat more to grow for two years, but he never listened to a single word of my advice. It was only when I uttered the words "whole milk, a scoop of dextrose, and protein twice a day" that he even began to think about making changes. That's the problem that everyone like us has when it comes to training other people. We lose sight of the fact that people really don't care to think about that stuff.

    Take paleo, for example. I fucking despise paleo zealots and all of their food fascist comrades and sympathizers, but I love how well people comply with the diet. "No starches, no peanut butter, no processed food, and no sugary drinks. Oh, by the way, don't our models look great? This could be you!" will cause orders of magnitude greater compliance than the million or so words that truly knowledgeable people have wasted trying to people to follow them. It will probably cut their calorie intake in half, on average, too. This has frustrated me many times in my life, and I was actually planning on a career as an economics professor, so all of the teaching motivation was there. Paleo doesn't require a PhD. It doesn't even require a third grade education to follow it OR write about it. It's just trendy, well-marketed, and simple as fuck, and that's how people like it. It doesn't need to be good for it to work.

    As people who try to help people, we don't need to worry so much about TOT (total impact of treatment on the treated), but rather about ITT (intent to treat). If you were to subtract my dropouts then I'd have an unblemished record in helping people diet.
    It's much easier to hook someone first and fine tune the diet to their goals as they get more advanced than it is to throw a book and some math at them right away.

    No soda, more protein, black coffee, light cardio, and squats. That's how I start them off nowadays.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2015
  7. Codger

    Codger Brown Belt

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    It's not surprising that it's easier to sell empty dreams than the hard truth. That's not anyone's fault but human nature.

    I respect Novella as an individual. He's a pretty amazing guy. As well has being professor of neurology at Yale and a clinical neurologist, he finds time to run the Skeptics Guide to the Universe, blog on Neurologica, run the Science Based Medicine blog, talk around the world, produce a course for the Great Courses, run the New England Skeptics Society.

    When I hear him argue a point I'm impressed with his condensed thinking where he can cut through a lot of information to find the salient points almost instantly.
     
  8. Seriously-Dead

    Seriously-Dead wubbalubbadubdub

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    This is a highly relevant article:
    http://bigthink.com/think-tank/the-backfire-effect-why-facts-dont-win-arguments

    It really is, unfortunately, about marketing. Food Babe and Dr. Oz are so much more popular than Novella and Science Based Medicine/Skeptics Guide to the Universe. Not only that, but Novella is literally wasting thousands of hours of his life -- which is a huge shame, considering he's a obviously a smart guy who could be doing more productive things like practicing medicine, doing research, and educating people in his field. For the most part, SBM/SGU are just preaching to the choir and aren't reaching new audiences.

    I mean, just look at the trends right now. Food Babe, Dr. Oz, and Tracy Anderson are demolishing the field right now:
    http://www.google.ca/trends/explore...od babe, tracy anderson, doctor oz&cmpt=q&tz=

    This why I'm happy to see guys like Alan Aragon and Lou Schouler (two guys who are sane) write a book called "THE LEAN MUSCLE DIET" backed by Men's Health magazine. They're finally realizing that if you want educate more people than the "idiots", and you want people to listen to you instead of the "idiots", you've gotta take what the "idiots" are doing successfully and adapt it to your needs. Aragon still has his research review, and still gets to keep making fun of guys like Asprey and Food Babe, but at least he'll reach a broader population this way (and if you look on google trends, "lean muscle diet" has now surpassed the popularity of Science Based Medicine -- and it only took one month since the book release to do it!).
     
  9. Pathogenic

    Pathogenic Wo Cao Ni Ma

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    Lean Muscle Diet is awesome. I believe Alan actually posted about beating bad science by getting something accessible and trendy out there. Good marketing and simple techniques are all it takes.
     
  10. RafailNadull

    RafailNadull Brown Belt

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    Marketing is exploiting cognitive biases and fallacious thought processes to sell your shit. Great if your goal is selling your shit. Could be a good thing to do if what you're selling is good stuff. But it's anathema if your goal is teaching what evidence is and isn't.

    And tbh, promoting critical thinking likely has a higher social value than getting people to do the lean muscle diet instead of whatever it is the quacks are trying to sell anyway.
     
  11. Codger

    Codger Brown Belt

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    That's great if it manages to move people towards evidenced based thinking. But I don't think the comparison is fair. Of course some populist diet book backed by a populist magazine (albeit on that full of shit most months) is likely to be more popular than a blog about science based medicine.

    SBM covers a very wide range of subjects and is there as much as a resource for people genuinely looking into those subjects as it is there to change the minds of the general population. It answers recent news stories, covers changes in law and so on. It picks apart scientific papers as part of many stories based on them.. It's never going to be super popular with your average person. I can't see any way around that. No amount of trendy marketing gimmicks is going to make an analysis of
     
  12. DoMn8

    DoMn8 Orange Belt

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    It would hurt a little to categorise myself as one of the chumps that got sucked in by Keto, then paleo if it hadn't so drastically changed my wellbeing. I count myself lucky enough never to have been a zealot (someone telling me not to use sesame oil on my salad as though it was going to kill alerted me to the fanaticism of the paleo crowd).

    Its been a journey though bullshit to a place where I'm now aware of a couple of food intolerences, have confidence I cut easily cut weight if I feel like and have an appreciation for real whole food which my parents had been putting on the table the whole time until I left home.

    I have a friend who's embroiled in pyramid scheme (he calls it multi-level marketing) to sell some organic range of supplements and products for "cleansing". I can literally see the anguish on his face these days as he's a smart guy who know he's peddling bullshit. I'd tell him but I think he knows and doesn't want to here it. Some of the people he networks with are the most abhorent C**ts i've ever come accross, a congratulatory circle jerk of charlatans managing to convince even themsleves that they are doing society a favour.
     
  13. Pathogenic

    Pathogenic Wo Cao Ni Ma

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    I believe this may be the most eloquent line in the history of this subforum. Well done.

    Your post is like reading my own foray into the world of dieting. I too got interested in dieting because of the Paleo diet. Like you, I eventually learned that their fanaticism is not backed by science, but the results I had on the diet got me interested in dieting unlike any other "diet" I had tried in the past. That's why I believe some fad diets are actually more useful than one would initially imagine. You need to hook people in and show them results so that they become independently interested. The easier and faster the weight loss, the better compliance and interest in the subject.

    Now, people can't shut me up about dieting. And I got into it because of a stupid diet like Paleo.

    Also, fuck Gary Taubes. Just had to add that one in.
     
  14. DoMn8

    DoMn8 Orange Belt

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    Thanks, although the eloquence is somewhat diminshed by the typo.
     
  15. RafailNadull

    RafailNadull Brown Belt

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  16. IceWolf

    IceWolf Orange Belt

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    Haha this guy is awesome in my book.
     
  17. Osstopher McGi

    Osstopher McGi Green Belt

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    I tried a few fad diets, from the one in Spartan Health Regime, to some crazy ones, to the Slow Carb Diet. I felt like a million bucks on Spartan Diet, personally I think because my body responds really well to fruit, but on Slow Carb I was ending up dizzy and lightheaded and couldn't last through my workouts most days.
    I stopped giving a fuck about what I eat and just focus on working my ass off in my workouts for now. Diet will come later, but when it does it will be good to read through some more of this guy's stuff.
     
  18. Sam Marshal

    Sam Marshal White Belt

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    The Zone DietCelebs like Jennifer Aniston may come to mind when you think of the Zone Diet, which maintains that changing the balance of the foods you eat (mainly, adding protein to balance the carbs at every meal or snack) will help you lose weight, reset your metabolism, and ward off chronic health conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Dieters follow a "30-30-40" breakdown to help control insulin levels and hunger, getting 30 percent of their calories from protein, 30 percent from fat, and 40 percent from carbohydrates. Devotees give the Zone Diet praise for variety and ease of use, though others warn that the rigid plan can feel restrictive and is light on certain nutrients.

    Atkins Diet
    No longer a diet of all-you-can-eat bacon and scrambled eggs, the New Atkins Diet Revolution
     

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