And by new favorite I mean new favorite example of insanity. Yes it’s that time again..the New Year has arrived and diet commercials are out in force. Ready to prey on our earnest desires to better ourselves, the diet industry has become big, big business. Americans now spend $35 billion a year on diet products – and that’s not even including food. Now retaurants and food companies are looking to get their share. The Special K diet, Subway diet, and my new favorite, the Taco Bell “Drive Through” diet. Oy. When I saw that for the first time I almost spit out my drink- not that I should have been surprised, I guess. I’m sure there’s a fair number of people who are giving it a try. If I wanted to lose weight and someone told me about the ice cream diet, I’d probably want to try it. I’d be tempted, anyways.
The Taco Bell diet, along with the others, is based on the fact that calorie restriction will usually lead to weight loss. You can also starve yourself and lose weight – which is pretty similar to eating just Special K for 2 meals a day (seriously, has anyone ever stayed full for more than 45 minutes after eating a bowl of that stuff?). But is it healthy? Certainly not, and you’ll probably be miserable in the process. There are so many things wrong with this that it’s hard to know where to start. But I’ll give it a try.
Taco Bell products are highly processed and chock full of flavor enhancers, additives, preservatives, unhealthy fats, salt, and sketchy ingredients. (Did you know they use a genetically modified enzyme to coagulate their cheese?). To be scientific about it – many of those things can do weird and bad things to your body and make you feel crappy. Not only are they full of things you don’t want to eat, they’re lacking in things you DO want to eat – nutrients, fiber, and generally speaking real food. When your body doesn’t get the nutrients it wants and needs, it tells you it’s still hungry, which is one of the reasons you can eat a bunch of junk food and still feel like eating more. You’re not hungry, you’re hungry for nutrition.
The real appeal of these diets is that they’re fast, uncomplicated, and cheap – which is highlighted in their genius marketing. They’re also unhealthy, boring, and don’t work in the long term – if ever. So don’t torture yourself or your body. Use a common sense meter when evaluating these diets, such as “what would your mom say?”. Better yet, don’t “diet”. Focus on getting more nutrients into your body via vegetables and whole grains. Reduce your processed foods (does it look like it came out of the ground? If not, don’t eat it or cut back). Taco Bell won’t thank you, but your body will.