One of the most interesting things he left behind was the mysterious Shangri-La Diet, “The No Hunger Eat Anything Weight-Loss Plan” that had plenty of fans.
Here’s how it’s supposed to work: Every day, you drink 150-500 calories of flavorless oil (or something similarly bland, like sugar water). That’s it.
Do you change the rest of the food you eat? No. Do you work to reduce your portions? No. Do you need to exercise? Nope. Just swallow down your teaspoons of oil — not within one hour of a meal — and the rest will take of itself.
Adding those flavorless calories will, Roberts claimed, make you actively want to eat less. You won’t even need to try.
Roberts’s idea — based on an experimental group of one, himself — is that everyone’s body has a “set point,” a weight it wants to be. Ordinary efforts to modify your weight will fail, because your appetite and metabolic rate will auto-adjust so that you stay close to this default.
Roberts believes that the “tastiness” of the food you consume controls your set point. Specifically, tastier food raises your set point (i.e., makes your body want to get fatter), while bland food lowers your set point (i.e., makes your body want to adapt to being leaner)… The trick of the Shangri-La Diet is to break the taste-calorie association so that the set point is lowered.
Roberts was successful in losing weight himself, and said he had come to “a better understanding of how our weight-control system works than previous popular diets.”
“He could eat pretty much whenever and whatever he wanted, but he was far less hungry than he had ever been,” noted the Freakonomics column in The New York Times that popularised the diet.
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