There are several local ‘weight loss experts’ in the Toronto area who is strangely popular. I’m not going to name them, but when I put a Q and A up on my Instagram Stories asking for post topics, an unreasonably large number of requests came in for me to review their programs.
These people appear to have absolutely no experience in science, nutrition, or anything health-related.
It’s always interesting when a thin, rich person with no relevant training, sitting in their suburban home, decides to be the saviour of fat people and sell them a diet program that will supposedly ‘change their life.’ But here we are.
It makes me wonder how many of these diet ‘experts’ are just taking their own deep-seated food issues, and projecting them onto other people. This certainly seems to be the case here.
After my Instagram Q and A, two other people I know asked me about the same programs. They’re internet-based, so they’re available no matter where people live.
Shortly after this happened, one of my followers, completely unprompted, sent me an exchange between herself and one of the ‘weight loss experts.’
My follower had sent several emails asking the ‘expert’ for their qualifications, and eventually got this response:
Safe to say, I almost fell over when I read it.
But as I always say, grifters gonna grift…and when confronted, they fiercely protect their revenue stream.
After allllll of this, I decided to look into these ‘experts’ and their programs. Part of my research involved watching an unfortunately lengthy video of one of them explaining the diet part of their program to new recruits.
And boy oh boy…well, let’s just say that I learned a lot of what NOT to do. Not that I’d ever do anything like it anyhow.
One thing (besides all of the misinformation) that I saw: their body language was crazy. They spoke a mile a minute, and I noticed that when they were talking about anything that they clearly didn’t understand (like insulin, for example), they would look down and speak even faster.
It was as though they knew they weren’t giving the right information. It was weird enough that I actually noticed it.
But more than that, this video gave me 20 perfect myths for busting. Because people like these ‘experts’ are everywhere, not just in the suburbs of Toronto. And one thing they all have in common, is that they spread the same garbage that sounds science-y, but isn’t.
This piece is an aggregate of the diet BS I’ve gleaned from several ‘experts’ in the area and further away.
Why do people listen to anything these people say? Because they’re desperate to lose weight, and these ‘experts’ know this. Too bad they’re selling another unsustainable plan that uses shame, guilt, misinformation, and fear to prompt change in their followers.
I would no doubt get investigated for malpractice by my regulatory body if this was my business. That’s how bad all of these programs are.
I’m not going to go into any of the actual plans, which are essentially a 12-week series of low-carb, low-calorie snacks in certain food combinations (ONLY eat fruit in the morning! ONLY eat seeds at 3pm!), plus a bunch of water and useless supplements.
These programs are based on a combination of pseudoscience and flat-out fabrications. These are people who actually says that insulin “breaks down fruit.”
Uh, not even close. Not even.
No matter whose diet you’re thinking of following, having some common red-flags to watch for is important information for everyone, right?
Here are 20 red-flag diet myths these ‘experts’ have told their followers (in most cases, verbatim):
Raw vegetables have “negative calories.”
There is no such thing as negative calorie food (I wrote about that here). Even celery, which has very few calories to begin with, doesn’t take more calories to digest than it has in it.
Beware of anyone who perpetuates this myth, which indicates a zero-level understanding of nutrition.
You shouldn’t have to eat dinner if you’ve eaten enough during the day.
The ‘expert’ claims this: “The release of melatonin when the sky gets dark means your body isn’t ready to eat. As soon as it gets dark outside, we product melatonin, so towards the end of the day, we shouldn’t be interested in eating dinner anyhow.”
Also: “Add another snack after lunch if you’re hungry for dinner.“
Clearly, they’ve never been to Europe, and neither have any of their followers, otherwise they’d know this is a ridiculous assertion.
Melatonin secreted in response to darkness does not affect our metabolic rate or our ability to digest food.
The suggestion that we don’t need to eat dinner, and just need to ‘add another snack’ during the day to replace the evening meal, tells me that this ‘expert’ is selling a low-calorie diet disguised as something else.
They’re also messing up peoples’ relationship with food. No surprise there.
Food you eat late at night ‘is of no value until 2-3 hours later’
This person says that eating at 8pm or later, tells the body to get ready to be active because “that’s what eating does.”
Eating doesn’t signify anything about activity to your body, and just because we won’t be ‘using’ the energy from the food we eat doesn’t mean the act of eating and satisfying hunger is useless. This is why the body is able to STORE macronutrients for LATER.
“If you use stored fat for energy, you reinforce the need for your body to store fat.”
This was one of the most bizarre claims this person made, and they kept on saying it throughout the video.
I’m wondering how they think we lose fat, then, when weight loss occurs. I also wrote about that here.
“Protein ‘turns the body on’ because it doesn’t need insulin, so we should eat a protein-rich breakfast…protein makes the body burn calories 70% more.”
Here’s a great example of someone who knows nothing, trying to convince us that the normal reaction of our bodies to food, is somehow wrong.
Protein doesn’t ‘turn on’ anything. It’s great to eat a protein-rich breakfast, but not for that reason.
As far as insulin, protein DOES cause insulin release. But even so, there is absolutely nothing wrong with using your pancreas in the morning. Insulin secretion in response to the consumption of food is NORMAL, and doesn’t have to be avoided.
This verbiage will create fear around carbs – and her diet is low-carb – so it feeds their faulty AF agenda.
As far as the calorie burning, protein does have the highest TEF (thermic effect of food) – 20-30%, compared to carbs (5-10%).
This means that theoretically, for a 200 calorie meal of just carbs, you’ll burn up to 20 calories metabolizing it.
For a 200 calorie meal of just protein, you’ll burn up to 60 calories metabolizing it.
Not sure where her 70% figure came from, but they probably invented it to convince followers that they’ve ‘done their research.’
(How much protein do you really need? Read my post on protein here.)
“Lunch ‘can be another snack.’ If you’re satisfied with a snack, then you’ll also be satisfied with a snack-sized lunch. You don’t need a larger portion of food at lunch…Meals are social things we have created.”
Okay, here we go with the shaming around being social with food.
Except that food IS social. Food is community, it’s connection with others, it’s tradition, it’s sharing. It’s the remembrance of those we’ve lost, by the recreation of their recipes.
There is NOTHING wrong with any of this.
They recommend having ‘a side salad’ for dinner when your family is eating a normal meal.
What message does that send to your kids not only about food, but about the meaning around family meals?
Also: meals are meals, snacks are snacks. While I don’t encourage overeating, I think it’s pretty wrong to tell people that they’re wrong for eating larger portions.
You can’t eat more food and have it last you longer. Your body will only take what it needs in the moment. Larger meals will cause high insulin and then a crash.
More gibberish. To the layperson, this sounds science-y. To someone who has studied physiology, it’s all garbage.
Larger meals, in particular those with fat and protein, will help us feel fuller, longer.
If I eat cheese and crackers for lunch, I’ll feel full…for an hour.
If I eat a huge turkey dinner, I’ll feel full for far longer. But my insulin won’t necessarily be ‘high, and then crash,’ if my meal contains the proper ratio of whole carbs to fats to protein.
As far as our bodies only taking what they need ‘in the moment,’ this is ridiculous (and contradicts. This is why we have glycogen storage in the liver and muscles, and fat storage in the cells.
The body doesn’t live moment-to-moment. It lives to protect us from any sort of upcoming scarcity.
“You don’t need a huge variety of foods in your diet. Our bodies are still primitive and work like they worked back in the day, when we didn’t have a large variety of foods.
Variety in our food is what modern life and the agricultural revolution have blessed us with.
A varied diet provides a wide range of nutrients to the body, which is a GOOD thing. It also provides satisfaction, which is something this ‘expert’ doesn’t seem to care a lot about.
Constantly switching things up with your diet “creates stress in the digestive system”
Variety in our food is what modern life and the agricultural revolution have blessed us with.
A varied diet provides a wide range of nutrients to the body, which is a GOOD thing.
Raw vegetables “add enzymes into your stomach.”
This is a ridiculous claim that’s often made by raw food advocates. It’s completely false.
(Read my post on the raw food diet here.)
“Aim for 2-3 BMs a day. As you put food in, food should be coming out.”
Nobody should ever be telling you how many BMs you should be having a day, especially not someone like this ‘expert.’ We’re all different in that way, and you know what’s normal for you.
Adult humans don’t automatically poop when they eat, and to set that expectation is harmful and unnecessary.
“You should be eating every 1.5 hours.”
Not if you’re not hungry, you shouldn’t. But you’ll probably be starving on this ‘expert’s’ program, so I can see why they’d set this rule.
In fact, forcing yourself to eat according to some else’s rules just causes a disconnect between you and your natural hunger cues.
There is no physiological reason to eat this frequently. It doesn’t keep metabolism running quickly, although we used to believe it did. It also causes anxiety around meeting these time-based expectations, especially if, well, you have an actual life.
“If you eat late at night, no matter how starving you are, whatever you eat makes insulin high, and this doesn’t actually make you feel better.”
Incorrect. Insulin doesn’t automatically go high just because you’re eating at 11pm. That’s absurd.
What they’re essentially saying is, ‘don’t eat, even when you’re starving. Go to bed hungry. If you eat, you’re ruining yourself and making yourself sicker.’ That’s unconscionable and damaging.
If you’re a healthy person, the body can more than handle a snack before bed, and insulin will rise and fall to normal levels.
So, they’re entirely wrong.
“Alcohol slows your digestion system immediately. Your body will only try to digest something for so long before it says, ‘forget it, let’s store it as fat.’”
Insane. The ravings of a mad person who knows nothing about how the body works.
Yes, alcohol slows digestion, but this simply delays gastric emptying. It doesn’t cause your body to ‘give up’ and store food as fat.
Food isn’t absorbed through the stomach, as they seems to believe.
Eventually, the gastric contents will end up in the intestines and beyond.
“Drink lots of water. This flushes fat cells. It can’t get the fat out if you don’t drink enough. When you’re about to drop fat, you gain weight. When the toxins come out of your fat cells, you gain weight and feel terrible. Headache, peeing more, etc. means you’re in detox.”
Honestly? This is outrageous.
The word ‘toxin’ is a red flag that you should look out for when assessing any eating plan.
Weight loss occurs with or without adequate fluids. Read my post for more on how we lose fat.
“Feeling really hungry doesn’t mean you need more food, it means your body is excited that you’re listening to it.”
This is how this ‘expert’ talks people out of listening to their innate hunger cues, so they can lose weight, and they can boast about how ‘effective’ their program is.
This is encouraging disordered eating, and it’s harmful and disgusting. Clearly, our ‘expert’ cares more about money than they do about the health and wellbeing of their followers.
If someone says this or anything resembling it, you should turn and run away. Fast.
When asked about granola, they say not to eat it, because “the body can break down one ingredient a lot better than it can break down 5.”
Apparently, granola is just too many ingredients.
This trash science sounds a lot like food combining, which tells people that their stomachs can’t handle a lot of different macronutrients at once.
(Read my post on food combining here)
A complete mockery of basic physiology!
The pH of stomach acid is between 2 and 3 – fully capable of breaking down anything we throw at it, in whatever combination we choose.
“We should avoid bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes, because they ‘mess with our insulin.’”
Just another carb-phobic claim that’s nonsensical. There is no reason to cut any of these things out of your diet. But way to make people afraid of food. Sigh.
“Some of you are low on digestive enzymes, so you’ll have trouble digesting veggies. So you should eat MORE veggies.”
We have three main endogenous digestive enzymes:
Lipase, which digests fat.
Amylase, which digests starch.
Protease, which digests protein.
Most vegetables don’t contain significant amounts of any of these (except for starchy vegetables, most of which they say not to eat, anyhow).
This ‘expert’ obviously doesn’t know about actual digestive enzymes, so they’re telling people the wrong information. AGAIN.
Someone who is telling you what to put into your body, should know how the body works.
“Certain vegetables make your body more alkaline and more acidic.”
What would a faulty diet from a misinformed ‘expert’ be without an acid/alkaline claim?
You all know this one is a total fallacy.
(Read my post on the alkaline diet here)
You know, I wasn’t even going to waste my time reviewing this program, but I’m glad I did this post.
As my assistant said to me after watching one of these ‘expert’s’ videos, “If followers are asking you point blank what you think of this program, you should write about it before anyone else pisses away their money on this crazy person.”
I think that’s fair. I won’t identify these people, so please don’t ask. But even if you can’t guess who they are, there are many others like them. And now, you have 20 red-flags to alert you from being scammed by any of them.