Listen to talk radio for a few hours and the newest diet claim will become clear: Stress causes fat. The latest buzz in the diet biz is that stress releases certain hormones that cause the body to hang onto fat and store it right in the biggest problem area - the gut. Is there any truth to this claim?
According to Marc David, author of THE SLOW DOWN DIET, there is. David, a Sonoma State University-educated nutritionist with Harvard training under his belt, has spent a lifetime unraveling the mystery behind healthy eating and weight gain/loss. His experience has brought him to the pages of THE SLOW DOWN DIET, where he painstakingly lays out his theories on weight, stress, pleasure, and health.
THE SLOW DOWN DIET is an 8-week diet plan, not so focused on commandment-style lists of diet do's and don't's, but focused more on finding the hidden nutritionist within and, as the title suggests, slowing down and tuning in enough to listen to that hidden food guru.
According to David, we already own the 8 metabolic powers that can help us lose weight, if only we can learn how to access them:
Using copious research (including some very alarming and interesting facts), David backs up his approach to weight loss with science and a few case studies borne of his years of being a nutritionist.
No doubt about it, David's weight loss approach is appealing. Who can find fault with the idea of treating each meal as a celebration, eating delicious healthy food, and dropping the stress for awhile? What's even better, if we do already possess the tools for this system, what excuse could there possibly be to not give it a try? Who would argue with the idea of relaxation as a means for weight loss?
David's weakness, however, lies in his lack of specificity. He recognizes the difficulty for many people to find, afford, prepare, and eat (and/or feed a family) organic, all-natural, fresh foods. While his message of quality = health certainly can't be argued, he offers no real suggestions on how to make this high-quality lifestyle available for a great many people, including people who have no access to health-food stores or who have a limited budget and a large family to feed.
Also, some of David's claims might seem a bit "extreme" to some people, and great care will have to be taken to maintain an open mind while reading passages such as the following:
"If [a tomato] is picked by an underpaid migrant worker who's given no benefits and few worker's rights, then the tomato is hypocritical and lacks integrity. If it is chopped by machine along with thousands of other tomatoes, delivered to a fast-food joint, and slapped together with a bun and meat from a cow who suffered even worse traumas, then our tomato is now suicidal, or even murderous, because it has lost its soul and has no reason to live" (p. 47)
If dieting trends continue in the direction they've been going (attention to quality of food and interest in how the chemical reactions of stress manifest themselves in the body), it is likely that THE SLOW DOWN DIET could become wildly popular. Offering a lifestyle that is welcoming in this age of "overworked and overweight," Marc David will be the diet expert to watch.