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Weight Loss 4 Idiots

Definition

Weight Loss 4 Idiots is also known as Fat Loss 4 Idiots. It is an 11 day diet based around the idea that changing the type of calories eaten each day will trick the metabolism into burning fat.

Origins

The origins of Fat Loss 4 Idiots are not clear, although the idea that there are ways of “tricking” the body's metabolism into burning more calories has been around for many years. This diet was released on the internet in late 2004. The diet is owned by a company named “Internet Made Simple” which is headquartered in Newport Beach, California. The diet is mainly a downloadable meal plan created for each dieter depending on the dieter's personal food preferences. It is only available on the internet.

Description

The idea behind the Fat Loss 4 Idiots program is that the dieter is provided with an 11 day meal plan that continually rotates the kind of calories consumed. The diet claims that this calorie-type changing will “trick” the dieter's metabolism into not only burning the calories eaten during the day, but into burning calories stored as fat as well. The diet claims that this calorie switching works because a perosn's metabolism burns calories based on how many and what type of calories were consumed in the past few days. The metabolism has no way of knowing what the person will eat today, or on any day to come. So by continually changing the types of foods eaten the metabolism will continually be “surprised.” The body will then supposedly burn not only the foods provided to it during the day, but will continue to burn energy after those calories are used up. The extra energy expected to be burned is supposed to come from the body's fat stores, allowing the dieter to lose weight and fat. The diet is not clear about how this tricking of the metabolism is expected to have this effect.

Fat Loss 4 Idiots does not require counting calories, protein grams, carbohydrates, or anything else. This is part of the idea behind the diet being “idiot proof.” Instead, the dieter is allowed to eat as much as desired of the foods listed on his or her meal plan, and is encouraged to eat until just full. The meal plan provides four meals per day. The meals are to be eaten at least two and a half hours apart.

The diet begins with a questionnaire about the dieter's food preferences. The 11 day meal plan designed for the dieter can then be downloaded. Although each dieter's meal plan may be different, there seem to be some general themes. Because the diet is created around the idea that the types of calories consumed need to be changed frequently, many days of the meal plan may contain a lot of one type of food, such as protein, but none of another type of food, such as dairy.

KEY TERMS

Diabetes mellitus—A condition in which the body either does not make or cannot respond to the hormone insulin. As a result, the body cannot use glucose (sugar). There are two types, type 1 or juvenile onset and type 2 or adult onset.

Dietary supplement—A product, such as a vitamin, mineral, herb, amino acid, or enzyme, that is intended to be consumed in addition to an individual's diet with the expectation that it will improve health.

Mineral—An inorganic substance found in the earth that is necessary in small quantities for the body to maintain a health. Examples: zinc, copper, iron.

Obese—More than 20% over the individual's ideal weight for their height and age or having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater.

Vitamin—A nutrient that the body needs in small amounts to remain healthy but that the body cannot manufacture for itself and must acquire through diet.

The diet contains a lot of lean protein, such as fish and chicken. Some dieters may find that their meal plan contains fish or chicken nearly every day. The plan also contains some fruits and vegetables, although they do not seem to be included in every day.

Simple carbohydrates seem to be especially limited on the Fat Loss 4 Idiots diet. Some days have carbohydrates in the form of oatmeal or pasta, or the bread from a sandwich. Other days seem to contain no significant sources of carbohydrates at all. Many days seem to contain some dairy, such as cottage cheese, although others may contain no dairy at all.

The diet contains no preserved, pre-packaged, or processed foods. Most of the foods are to be eaten in a very natural state and minimally prepared. There is very little sugar allowed while on the diet, and none of the days seem to contain any type of desert.

The meal plans lasts 11 days, during which time the dieter is supposed to be able to lose 9 pounds. After these 11 days the dieter is allowed three “cheat” days during which anything desired can be eaten, then the diet can be begun again. The diet claims that it can be repeated as often as desired until the dieter has attained his or her goal weight.

When the dieter purchases the Fat Loss 4 Idiots diet he or she will the be able to download the personalized 11 day meal plan. Dieters can also download a “Diet Handbook” that promises to give the dieter other helpful diet secrets. There are no exercise recommendations given by this diet, and no stress reduction or other healthy living suggestions. There is no significant support available for dieters on this program from the program's website or by telephone.

Function

Fat Loss 4 Idiots reports that it allows dieters to lose 9 pounds every 11 days. This is a diet intended solely for weight loss, and is not intended to be a general guide for healthy living. It does not include exercise recommendations, recipes, or stress reduction advice. The diet says that it can be repeated as desired for weight loss. It allows three “cheat” days after the diet is completed before the diet is begun again.

Benefits

There are many benefits to losing weight if it is done at a safe, moderate pace through healthy eating and exercise. The risk of many obesity-related diseases and conditions such as type II diabetes and heart disease is higher for people who are very overweight. Often this risk can be reduced by safe weight loss. This diet, however, is not generally considered appropriate for long term moderate weight loss.

Some dieters may find that the specific meal plans provided are a considerable benefit of this diet. Dieters do not have to make choices about which foods to eat, or count calories or grams of carbohydrates. The requirement of eating four meals per day may also be beneficial, as it may help dieters to eat less overall by allowing them to eat more frequently. This diet does not limit the amount of food that can be consumed except for saying that dieters should stop eating just before being full. This may make the diet easier to stick to for some dieters.

QUESTIONS TO ASK THE DOCTOR

  • Is this the best diet to meet my goals?
  • Would a multivitamin or supplement be appropriate for me if I were to begin this diet?
  • Do I have any special dietary needs that this diet might not meet?
  • Is this diet safe for me?
  • Is this diet safe for my entire family?
  • Is it safe for me to follow this diet over a long period of time?
  • Are there any sign or symptoms that might indicate a problem while on this diet?

Precautions

Anyone thinking of beginning a new diet should consult a medical practitioner. Requirements of calories, fat, and nutrients can differ significantly from person to person, depending on gender, age, weight, and other factors such as the presence of diseases or conditions. This diet may be of special concern because it only allows a few foods to be eaten each day. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should be especially cautious because when the foods a mother eats can impact a baby who is receiving nutrients from her.

Risks

There are some risks to any diet. Fat Loss 4 Idiots severely limits the foods that can be eaten each day. It does not generally include many fruits or vegetables, which are important sources of many vitamins and minerals. This means that it is likely that the dieter will not get enough of all vitamins and minerals required each day for good health. It is difficult, however, to determine how severe the risk of deficiency is because each dieter is given a personalized meal plan, and quantities of food are not specified. Any dieter thinking of beginning this diet may want to consult a healthcare provider about a multivitamin or supplement to help reduce the risk of deficiencies. Supplements have their own associated risks.

Research and general acceptance

Although the diet provides different meal plans to different dieters based on the dieter's preferences and goals, the diet does seem to have some common components for each dieter. Because the diet attempts to change the kinds of food that are consumed each day, it is difficult for a dieter to eat a balanced diet. For this reason, and because many meals are made up of just one food, the diet may not meet the recommendations by the United States Department of Agriculture in their MyPyramid food guidelines for a healthy diet.

Fat Loss 4 Idiots only includes one type of food in most meals. This makes getting enough vegetables difficult because vegetables are often seen as a side dish. MyPyramid recommends that healthy adults eat the equivalent of 2 to 3 cups of vegetables each day. The Fat Loss 4 Idiots diet is unlikely to meet this recommendation on most days.

MyPyramid also recommends that healthy adults eat the equivalent of 1 and a half to 2 cups of fruit per day. It is unlikely that a person following the Fat Loss 4 Idiots diet would eat this much fruit. Some daily meal plans for this diet do not include fruit at all.

Dairy products are generally considered to be part of a healthy diet. MyPyramid recommends the equivalent of 3 cups of low-fat or non-fat dairy per day for healthy adults. Some days of the diet may not include any dairy products. If a dairy product, such as cottage cheese, is included in one meal it is unlikely that a dieter would want to eat enough of it in one sitting to get three full servings.

Starches and grains are also considered a necessary and important part of any healthy diet. MyPyramid recommends the equivalent of 3 to 4 ounces of grains each day for healthy adults, of which at least half should be whole grains. The Fat Loss 4 Idiots diet would probably very rarely meet this requirement. Many days of this diet do not include any kind of starch or grain at all.

MyPyramid recommends that healthy adults eat between 5 and 6 and one half ounces of meat or beans each day. The Fat Loss 4 Idiots would probably meet, and in most cases probably exceed, this recommendation on most days. Many different lean meats seem to be included in this diet on a daily basis.

Fat Loss 4 Idiots does not include any specific recommendations for exercise. Exercise is generally accepted to be an important part of any weight loss program, and is required for general good health.

Many studies have found that dieting and exercise are more effective for weight loss when done together than either is when done alone. In 2007, the Centers for Disease Control recommended that healthy adults get 30 minutes or more of light to moderate exercise each day. Following the Fat Loss 4 Idiots diet without adding exercise to the plan would not meet this requirement.

BOOKS

Shannon, Joyce Brennfleck ed. Diet and Nutrition Source-book. Detroit, MI: Omnigraphics, 2006.

Willis, Alicia P. ed. Diet Therapy Research Trends. New York: Nova Science, 2007.

ORGANIZATIONS

American Dietetic Association. 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000, Chicago, Illinois 60606-6995. Telephone: (800) 877-1600. Website: <http://www.eatright.org>

OTHER

Fat Loss 4 Idiots 2007. <http://www.fatloss4idiots.com>(April 3, 2007).

“Fat Loss 4 Idiots” Skinny on Diets 2007. <http://skinnyondiets.com/> (April 4, 2007).

Helen M. Davidson


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