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From the Editor’s Kitchen: To diet or not to diet



I’m not a dieter. If anything, I tend to stick to a philosophy somewhere between Michael Pollan’s “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants” and “French Women Don’t Get Fat” author Mireille Guiliano’s suggestion that rather than deny yourself some of your favorite foods, you can eat everything — in moderation.


Still, there was no denying that some of my clothes have been getting a bit, how shall we say it, snug. So I’m amping up the running and cutting back on the booze, one of the few carbs I indulge in.

And then I starting hearing from friends and acquaintances that they, too, had been following a drink-less diet, whether going dry for a one month every year or limiting drinking to certain days of the week or taking a few weeks off every once and a while.

Other friends have tried the more standard diet program, from Weight Watchers to Jenny Craig to “The Scarsdale Diet.”

Have you ever heard of a diet that was enjoyable? Neither have I. And there’s a lot of research that says diets don’t work in the long run.

“Diets don’t have very much reliability,” neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt says. “Five years after a diet, most people have regained the weight. Forty percent of them have gained even more. If you think about this, the typical outcome of dieting is that you’re more likely to gain weight in the long run than to lose it.”

And, she notes, our obsession with weight, especially in the U.S., actually hurts us and leads to eating disorders, especially in young children.

What about you? Have you found long-term success my following a diet? How do you keep yourself fit (in addition to exercise)? Send in your comments in 200 words or less in an email to [email protected] by May 15; please put “Editor’s Kitchen” in the subject line. Don’t forget to include your full name, hometown and a phone number. I’ll run them in the May 27 Plus section and online.

Last month we asked readers to respond to the decision to lift the foie gras ban. Here’s what Glenn Hoffman of Novato, a frequent Cookbook Critic contributor of vegan and vegetarian cookbooks, had to say.

Whither the photos?

The website of the Coalition for Humane and Ethical Farming Standards (C.H.E.F.S.) includes a research library that includes “Everything You Need To Know About Foie Gras.” Key passages in its summary describe the ducks and geese as “robust and in excellent health, free-range raised” and “modern feeding equipment that facilitates the breeders’ work and does not unnerve the animal.”

I wonder why the site’s photo gallery does not include this modern feeding equipment in action. Perhaps foie gras connoisseurs might be unnerved?

— Glenn Hoffman, Novato

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