The Shangri-La diet is a unique weight loss method that prescribes bland diets and flavorless food and believes in appetite suppression for weight control through restricted diets.
Developed by Seth Roberts, a professor of psychology at Tsinghua University in Beijing and former professor at the University of California, Berkeley, the diet focuses on appetite suppression.
As outlined in his book - The Shangri-La Diet -- Roberts proposes a ‘set point’ theory, which states that an internal set point in humans controls body weight. Whenever the amount of body fat falls below a specific set point, the body regains the fat either by increasing appetite, decreasing the metabolism, or by both. Roberts carried out self experimentation to test the set point theory by changing his diet.
While on tour to Paris, he noticed a loss in appetite when he drank a French soft drink with unfamiliar flavors, which led to weight loss. He claimed that his body could not associate with the strange flavors and responded by appetite suppression.
This hypothesis states that human brain makes an association between the flavor of food and calorie intake, which results in overeating of favorite foods. If diets include bland and flavorless foods, this would automatically lead to less intake of food, causing weight loss. Intake of olive oil and/or sugar water can further lower the set point.
Shangri-La dieting suggests increased intake of zero-set-point foods that lower the body set point and thus reduce hunger. If you eat less, you lose weight.
While on the diet you need to drink one to two tablespoons of light olive oil per day, either in a single dose or throughout the day. However, this should be consumed either at least one hour after or one hour before the consumption of flavored food. A tablespoon of olive oil corresponds to about 30 milliliters of oil, which contains 120 calories.
Roberts suggested intake of one or two ounces of fructose solution. He later suggested the intake of sucrose or sugar water where the dilution does not make any difference.
Though this dieting technique is quite popular for weight control, it is criticized by many scientists and its effectiveness is questioned. Sugar water could be unsafe for diabetics, and the regular intake of oil might lead to intestinal problems.
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