The history of dieting is filled with trends and trendsetters and two notables recently died. The first is C. Joseph Genster, who helped mastermind the marketing of the first liquid diet beverage in the 1960s. It began with a vanilla flavored powder you mixed with water, followed by a liquid milkshake called Metracal that came in vanilla, chocolate and butterscotch, followed by cookies, clam chowder, tuna and noodles. The idea was to limit daily calories to 900 total calories; each can had about 235 calories. People were virtually guaranteed weight loss, if they could sustain that low a calorie diet. Sales took off as soon as the powder and subsequent milkshake became available to mainstream America. Even the White House mess hall offered the drink. The King of Greece and a prince from Saudi Arabia placed orders as well.
One feminist author included the chalk-tasting drink in her book, explaining the desperation of women to conform to a body size that necessitated drastic dieting measures. Even the advertising campaign of Metracal products evolved, calling them figure enhancement products rather than weight control drinks and foods. In the mid 1980s other crash diet products began to impact the sales record of Metrical, and ultimately Slim-Fast became the new dieting tool giant.
Losing weight depends just as much on what you eat as how much you eat. That was the theory espoused by Michael Montignac who was the father of "good carbs, bad carbs" and the glycemic index. He explained in his books that how much glucose enters the bloodstream at any given time is the key to the concept of weight loss. He argued that counting calories was a diet swindle and that controlling sugar bursts by choosing foods with lower sugar loads or foods with fiber that controlled sugar metabolism would prevent fat storage and help dieters to lose weight. The more sugar in the blood, the more insulin the pancreas releases and the more efficiently sugar is processed by cells and stored, and that leads to more fat storage.
He extolled eating whole wheat bread, beans, lentils, whole grain pasta, greens, wild rice and dark chocolate (cacao more than 58%). His book, Dine Out and Lose Weight sold 500,000 copies in France; Eat Yourself Slim...and Stay Slim sold 6 million copies. Though his theories were wildly popular, researchers world wide still maintain that "calories in versus calories burned" is the true scientific key to weight loss. Choice of foods in terms of quality certainly has merit when it comes to health, disease risk and even satiation. I, like many nutritionists, recommend eating the superstars from each food group, understanding portion size and how many portions you need of each daily, to sustain your weight, or lose weight. Exercise is a crucial component of the formula.
Published On: February 13, 2011