Ian K. Smith's Shred - The Revolutionary Diet is the latest bestseller in the diet book market. Let's review the Shred diet for a moment and see if it really is as revolutionary.The Doctor Of OzSomehow most of these things seem to start with Dr. Oz. The good doctor who brought us the acai berry health wonder, the raspberry ketone miracle fat burner, the green coffee bean extract weight loss wonder and countless others I can't even remember.Did I use "wonder" twice? Well, when it comes to Dr. Oz, I am running out of superlatives, I admit.The latest (to my knowledge, it's hard to keep up with the man) wonder proclaimed on his show is a new diet book titled Shred - The Revolutionary Diet, by one Dr. named Ian K. Smith. The very same Dr. Smith who also wrote The Fat Smash Diet: The Last Diet You'll Ever Need, which probably now has to be renamed to The Fat Smash Diet: The Last Diet You'll Ever Need But One. No, actually the last but two, because the first Fat Smash book was followed by the Extreme Fat Smash Diet.I'm doing my best to take this seriously, but I wager Dr. Smith could also write a really nice book about marketing. It eludes a simple mind like mine how you successfully manage selling stuff by making the basically same promises over and over and over again.The Emperor's New Book ItselfHidden under a veil of buzzwords like "shred cycle," "diet confusion" (derived from the equally stupid muscle confusion), "detox" and "cleansing," Shred in practicality comes down to a six-week meal plan where you have smaller and more frequent meals, eat foods high in volume and low in calories, limit fat and simple carbs and do daily exercise for about half an hour. That of course is the shorthand of all successful diets, but in Dr. Smith's words it turns into this:
SHRED is a revolutionary diet plan that combines several different strategies in an effort to help users lose weight, increase confidence, and improve overall wellness. Unlike many other programs that simply focus on how many pounds are lost on the scale, SHRED also improves other health factors, such as reducing risk for high blood pressure, decreasing the risk for diabetes, and improving energy levels.My dear Dr. Smith, on the day they discussed risks of obesity and preventing them over at med school you probably attended that young entrepreneurs meeting, didn't you? Any diet that reduces body weight also reduces the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes.Diet Confusion And CleansingWhen I hear "cleansing" being used as an argument, I almost get a nervous rash, so let's examine these two a bit closer. About the first, Smith writes:
The second thing that could theoretically happen is that by eating the same food all the time, the body becomes acclimated to eating those foods and more efficient at processing them.It could also practically happen that this is entirely nonsense. Cough up some factual scientific backing for this claim and I'll take it seriously.That from a doctor who went through proper medical training is bad enough, but behold his words on cleansing:
All of us - even those who eat as healthfully as possible - accumulate some level of toxins in our bodies. We want to eliminate these toxins as efficiently as possible. Sometimes livers can be overwhelmed, so occasionally it's beneficial to give them a little boost in carrying out their jobs. Certain foods can provide this boost by activating special enzymes in the liver that facilitate the cleansing process. There are also foods that work to increase the activity of the gastrointestinal tract. This creates a physical cleanse.It's the same language "naturopaths" use when they peddle their cleansing crap: the threatening toxins are never, ever named. They have to resort to this hazy fear mongering because they can't back up their claims by pointing at their status of being an M.D. When a real doctor stoops this low, what does that say about him?In truth, the liver does a formidable job all by itself and needs cleansing therapies and "boosts" as much as cars need a fifth wheel. The "special enzymes" aren't that special at all; Val Jones over at Science-Based Medicine did a great job cutting them back to reality.In Summary, A Lot Of FluffNow let's put in some saving graces for this book: looking over the meal plans, they are not overly restrictive and don't outright eliminate any food - a big plus in a sea of diet books that forbid entire food groups with sometimes unhealthy consequences. The plans will for six weeks also tell you what exactly you should be eating and what exercise you should be doing. It's "turn off your brain and just do it."But after that you are on your own again. The book says nothing about how you could sustain your new weight, which, as most dieters will tell you, is the real hard part of losing weight. Smith shrugs this off saying should you gain weight again, you simply repeat the six-week-cycle.If precise directions are what you need, the Shred diet could work for you. Of course, if Smith had left out all the fluff, the entire thing would come down to a twenty page pamphlet you'd only have to pay two dollars for. Heck, here is basically the same thing for free.Picture courtesy of David Goehring.