Monday, 24 August 2009

A Very Good Start

The Federal Government may soon be cracking down on bogus weight loss schemes. This is very good news. There's an article and video here on, of all places, Murdoch's The Dietitians Association of Australia is on board with this - as noted in the article.

A spokesman told The Daily Telegraph all commercial diet programs should be assessed by a body of experts similar to the Therapeutic Goods Administration, which assesses drugs for safety and efficacy before they can go on sale.

The association said regulation should require businesses marketing a diet program to provide evidence to a panel of experts showing what percentage of those who used the diet kept the weight off two years after starting.

Well, this could be a very radical step - and if actually followed up could be very enlightening. At the moment the rhetoric is all about "well, don't go for the dodgy sisters program, follow a sensible program instead". Because we all know there's an OMG OBESITY CRISIS!!! going on.

But, as is increasingly becoming common wisdom, diets don't work. If this is really followed through, there could be quite some surprises coming out. Choice magazine recently debunked the idea that buying your diet aids from a properly licensed pharmacy is a safe bet. Sadly, no - the consultants have minimal training, and many didn't even ask about important health factors. That story, from February this year, does not discuss effectiveness. But with a whole two hours of training on how to sell the program, just how much could there have been on the relevant scientific data? I'm guessing they haven't a clue whether it really works or not.

Even reputable programs like Weight Watchers (motto: "diets don't work, except ours because we call it a lifestyle change instead") could be caught with their pants down. Fatfu, an American Fat Acceptance blogger ran some stats on them and found that Oh yes, it does work - for maybe two in a thousand!

I'm not saying that no changes of any kind will ever permanently affect your weight, so just give up and eat two whole cakes now. There are actual lifestyle changes, and then there are "Lifestyle Changes Not A Diet Honest Guv". But here we are on a fresh new blog, all pretty in spring green. There's plenty more opportunity for me and my so far imaginary co-writers to go on at greater length about health, fitness, obesity and all that jazz. And I want to go to the gym now, so I'll stop.

Welcome one and all to Sweet FA, and expect more soon!

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