• Decrease font size
  • Default font size
  • Increase font size

Article Index

Weight Control

By Dr. Hans Diehl and Dr. Aileen Ludington

Ads and Fads
Soft Drinks
Ideal Weight
Fail-safe Formula

AS BEFITS A COUNTRY WITH 15O,OOO FAST-FOOD RESTAURANTS and 4 million food-vending machines, America is

ADS AND FADS – When Success has an Illusion

The appeal is irresistibl. "LOSE 10 POUNDS IN DAYS--with a new, scientifically proven formula. The struggling, discouraged, and overweight grasp at another straw. They need to believe.

Weight loss is weight loss, isn't it? Does it matter how a person loses it?

Most people who lose weight believe they are losing fat; in reality they may be losing mostly water plus muscle and other vital tissues.

             People long for a safe diet pill, but so far this route has been anything but sate. Results are inconsistent; and mostly disappointing. Some diet pills have caused permanent health damage, and a few have proved to deadly.

             Many diet plans include a diuretic (water pill). Since the body is about 70 percent water, it is relatively easy for such pills to remove several pounds of water quickly. The scales look good—for a few days. But gradually the body balances itself by replacing the water, and there goes the weight loss.

      An overdose of protein accomplish basically the same thing. The liver changes excess protein into blood urea nitrogen (BUN), which causes the kidney to force water from the body. It takes much more water to wash out the products of excess protein metabolism than it does to take care of the breakdown products of either car­bohydrates or fats.

              Some quick weight-loss diets take advan­tage of the fact that a high-protein intake can cause spectacular weight loss in a short time. This is a danger­ous practice, however. That's why such diets are usually physician-supervised and limited to short periods of time, normally about two weeks. The scales show grati
fyingly low numbers, but most of the weight returns in a short time as the body replaces lost water.

Losing Weight can prove lifesaving, especially for people with diabetes, high blood pressure and coronary heart disease.

Spontaneous Weight Loss
Finally, Rapid Weight Loss Without Dieting!
the 10 –cent cholesterol cure
98 percent effective for fighting dangerous fatty deposits.

What other possible problems can such diets cause?

Many of the quickie diets drop daily intake of 1,800 to 2,500 calories to less than 500 calories a day. Some of these starvation diets may go as low as 300 to 400 calories. The body misreads this dramatic calorie drop as acute starvation and actually begins to digest its own protein (usually in the form of muscle) in an effort to protect more vital tissues. Careful testing has shown that weight loss on these diets can come from both fat and muscle tissues.

             So beware! When you think you are losing 14 pounds of fat, for example, you could actually be losing five pounds of fat, one pound of protein tissue (muscle) and eight pounds of water.

             If you feel you need to go on a diet, make sure that you get enough calories from protein and carbohydrates to prevent muscle tis­sue loss. For an average person this means at least 200 calories of pro­tein (50 grams) and at least 600 calo­ries of carbohy­drate a day.

Can I really lose weight on such a gradual diet?

           Moderately overweight people usually lose one to two pounds a week on a well-balanced diet; seriously overweight persons may lose a little more. Slow, steady weight loss has many advan­tages over the radical diets: it does not throw the body into the mode of starvation metabolism; binges and failures are much less frequent; hunger becomes more manageable; and chances are good that the weight lost is really fat.

            But perhaps the most important aspect of slower weight loss is that it allows time to establish new and more healthful habits eating. A person must develop a better, healthier lifestyle for weight loss to have any chance of being permanent.

 Diet Failure
            Twenty years of a nation­wide struggle against obesity have failed. In spite of a plethora of weight-loss programs, more than 90 percent regain the weight they lost within a year.

Looking at statistics and waistlines—we are the butt of jokes around the world. Some reasons:

  • Portion sizes border on the obscene—
  • doughnuts the size of pie plates
  • monster muffins
  • 64-ounce soft drinks
  • one-pound burritos
  • McDonald's "original" 3.7-ounce burger is now the 9-ounce Arch Deluxe Burger.
  • it takes seven Euro candy bars to beat the Butterfinger Beast.
  • Americans are sedentary: 4.4 hours of daily TV, plus Internet use.
  • Our food isn't served—it's shoveled 

man sitting

When you lose weight, you gain: Energy, Sex Drive, Happiness ... Life

I'm desperate to lose weight; I have no patience in slow programs. Wouldn't quick weight loss be better than none at all?

Losing and regaining weight over and over is one of the most harmful things you can do to your body. The truth is that remaining overweight would be less harmful to overall health than this yo-yo effect. Repeated weight loss through crash diets, followed by regaining the weight, gradually depletes muscle tissue and fat tissue. And because muscle tissue is where fat is burned, you will become increasingly unable to lose weight.
             Of even more concern are the psychological consequences.  Enduring years of repeated failure and humiliation produces emotional scars that often remain for a lifetime.  People seduced by the magic of quick weight loss, do shed pounds initially; but they almost invariably end up weighing more than they did before.
             This is not to minimize the fact that overweight persons carry increased health risks.  They have more heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, gallbladder disease, and cancer than do people of normal weight.  They also die sooner.

             Don’t become a slave to the scale, checking it daily for immediate results to problems that took years to develop.  Get started on a healthful program.  And be patient.  It’s the long haul that matters.  The illusions will fade, but the eventual rewards will be solid and lasting.


  • Thigh creams haven't produced lasting results.
    • There are no miracle pills. They only slim down your pocketbook.
    • Liposuction is expensive. The fat goes, but not the dimpled skin.
    • Massages, wraps and such—save your money!
    • With a low-fat, reduced-calorie diet you'll lose one to two pounds a week, and reshape your cellulite.
    • Best bet: low-fat optimal diet plus regular active exercise.

      Diets that promise to help you lose weight quickly are suspect.  They use tricks that make you weigh less, but often have no lasting effect. Overweight people can usually lose one to two pounds a week on a well-balanced program of healthy eating and exercise. That's the wise way to take (and keep) weight off.

The Wrong Way to Lose Weight
      This chapter lists three wrong ways to lose weight. Look them up, then explain what's wrong with them.

    • 1.    Diuretics (water pills)
      2.    Extra protein
      3.    Starvation diets