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The Cheater’s Diet – Ice Cream And Pizza On The Weekends
Weight loss physician Paul Rivas, M.D. claims to have found the solution to losing weight without going on a binge. He believes that cheating on weekends can help dieters lose weight more successfully than going through the yo-yo dieting cycle.
About the Cheater’s Diet
While most diets require restrictive meals, exercise routines that must be followed religiously, and non-food rewards to keep you from cheating on your diet “just because you deserve it,” the Cheater’s Diet actually makes cheating a requirement – in particular, it requires you to indulge in “unhealthy” food such as chocolate, wine, cinnamon buns, beer, and pizza from 9 AM on Saturday until 9 PM on Sunday.
With this approach, Rivas theorizes that dieters who are following this plan will lose weight faster and keep it longer than those who follow other weight loss plans. Because most dieters give up on losing weight once they fall off the routine and eat “sinful” food such as cheeseburger, the Cheater’s Diet allows, even requires its dieters to embrace this weakness every weekend, so long as they remain physically active and if they follow a meal plan similar to a Mediterranean-style diet.
Foods Included in the Cheater’s Diet
The Cheater’s Diet allows its dieters to eat three meals and two snacks each day that contains plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, low fat dairy (especially yogurt), peanuts, and unsaturated fats. Using the plate method, dieters fill half the plate with fruits and vegetables, one-fourth with protein, and the remaining one-fourth with whole grains. To help dieters understand the Cheater’s Diet weight loss plan, the book includes two weeks of weekday menus and recipes.
In addition to measuring food portions by grams, ounces, spoonfuls, etc., Rivas provides visual associations, such as a portion of lean meat being as big as a deck of playing cards. While the plan encourages dieters to eat snacks twice every day and provides an approved list that includes fruits, nuts, low-fat yogurt or pudding, protein bars, and low-calorie frozen treats, it bans sugar, bread, saturated fats, and alcohol until the weekend starts.
Health Benefit Claims of Unhealthy Food
Because the Cheater’s Diet requires its participants to indulge in forbidden foods such as pizza, ice cream, peanut butter, and the like, it also anticipates negative feedback from the participants’ friends and loved ones. Rivas thus advices dieters that even seemingly unhealthy foods have each of their own health benefits.
Pizza, for example, is said to cut risk for heart attack and stroke, prevent tumors of the digestive tract, and protects the male prostate. Chocolate, meanwhile, is thought to prevent blood platelets from forming dangerous clots, destroy free radicals, and control the blood pressure. Wine is also said to raise the body’s level of good cholesterol, keeps the heart soft and supple, and protects against certain cancers.
Rivas also detailed health benefits of other indulgent foods, such as ice cream, strawberry shortcake, cinnamon buns, and many others.
Scepticisms Towards the Cheater’s Diet
While Rivas’s arguments in his book seemed convincing and repeatedly mention that they were backed by research, he actually failed to cite his references. His most dubious claims are the said health benefits of some “sinful” food.
One example would be Rivas’s claim that lycopene-rich foods, such as pizza covered in tomato sauce, may protect the male prostate. However, researchers from the US Department of Health and Human Services’ National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics did not support this claim at all.
A second example would be the claim that chocolate controls the blood pressure. Rivas said that according to one study, people who drink cocoa show more nitrous-oxide activity in their blood, which is critical in controlling blood pressure. Here, Rivas did not mention the institution that did the experiment. Moreover, a similar experiment with dark chocolate was done by the Discipline of General Practice in the University of Adelaide, Australia, but concluded that chocolate did not significantly reduce blood pressure.
Conclusion: Is it Really Bad to Cheat?
Despite the questionable claims that Rivas presented in his book, many successful dieters shared that occasional “cheating,” which they instead label as “rewarding,” has contributed to their weight loss. While it is not wrong to eat a slice of cake once in a while, letting yourself loose for 36 hours every week may seem too indulgent, and might border to being dangerous to your overall health.