The Shangri-Lad Diet is based on a book written by psychologist, Seth Roberts, which describes a way in which he claims to have lost 35 pounds in 3 months by drinking 100 to 400 daily calories’ worth of olive oil, unflavored sugar water, and a host of bland foods, while plugging his nose (because the combination is reportedly smelly enough to make you gag). That said, Roberts did not conduct any form of study to support his method.
Though this diet did become quite popular when it was new in 2006, it went out of fashion pretty quickly. That said, it has started to make its way back into the daylight again as several blogs have featured it. The latest version seems to be based on a similar concept, except it is attempting to make it less gaggable by taking shots of olive oil or sugar water between meals to reduce the inclination to snack, instead of attempting to drink it all together in one malodorous concoction.
The idea behind this strategy is that eating snacks and meals that are very bland and flavorless can help to retrain the brain to take the link between flavor and food away. This stops people from craving flavors and, therefore, reduces the inclination to overeat. That said, this concept has not been broadly accepted by the medical community. Some, including John Ford, M.D., a medical professor at UCLA, has outwardly criticized the diet and its lack of evidence. He has also added to the criticism in pointing out that there must be a reason that Roberts has not had any inclination to put his dieting strategy to the scientific test so that it can face peer review.
Most dieting strategies that believe that they are worthwhile will jump at the chance to prove that they have the ability to help people to lose weight. However, as there aren’t any scientifically valid or proven reasons that this would ever work, and because there has never been any research to indicate that this specific method will be helpful to dieters, the majority of the medical community has turned its back on it.
According to the author of “Lean Habits for Lifelong Weight Loss”, Georgie Fear. R.D., “It’s bull,” explaining that “If that worked, then diet soda would also be an effective way to disassociate flavor and calories.” After all, diet soda has now been linked with weight gain, not weight loss, which proves the exact opposite of the theories outlined in The Shangri-La Diet.