The Shangri-la Diet (named after the mythical utopia) is a simple, effective way to adjust your natural appetite-regulation system. You just consume two 100 calorie doses of flavorless foods per day.

How it works: Much as a thermostat maintains your house temperature at a set level, your body maintains a set point weight—the number it perceives as normal. Just as a thermostat turns a heater on and off, your body's weight-control system turns hunger on and off. If the set point is adjusted upward, your body tries to put on weight...and if the set point is adjusted downward, you naturally lose weight.

Theory: Your body regulates weight partly in response to the flavors of food. A food whose flavor is associated with calories raises your set point and increases your appetite later...a flavorless food lowers your set point and curbs appetite.

Typical result: Two 100-calorie doses of flavorless foods reduce your appetite so much that the next day you automatically consume 500 fewer calories than usual without feeling hungry. Flavorless foods that work best...

  • Flavorless oil. Choose extra-light olive oil or refined walnut oil. One dose equals one tablespoon.
  • Sugar water. Strangely, your body doesn't count sweetness as a flavor. One dose equals two tablespoons of sugar mixed with one cup of water.
  • Daily doses. To lose less than 20 pounds, consume one dose each of oil and sugar water daily. To lose more, double each dose. Appetite suppression usually begins within a day or so.

Essential: To prevent flavorless foods from becoming associated with other flavors, you must wait one hour after tasting anything else (including toothpaste or gum) before swallowing the oil or sugar water-then wait one hour more before eating again. Otherwise, the flavorless foods simply add to your total calorie intake without suppressing appetite at all.

Convenient: Schedule food-free intervals for mid-morning (between breakfast and lunch) and bedtime.

  • Troubleshooting. If swallowing pure oil makes you gag, mix the oil with the sugar water, then divide into two doses. If you develop diarrhea, cut your oil dose in half for a few days. If you have…
  • Gallbladder problems—take just one teaspoon of oil per dose...or use only the sugar water.
  • Diabetes and/or recurrent yeast infections—use only the oil.
  • Reaching your goal. Typically, people lose one to two pounds per week. Once you reach your target weight, reduce your dose of oil and/or sugar water to a level that allows you to maintain your weight loss. Don't stop altogether, or you may regain the weight.

Diet that Reduces Need for Diabetes Meds

After four years of following a Mediterranean-style diet, 44% of patients who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes before initiating the diet required medication for their condition, compared with 70% of patients who followed a low-fat diet after diagnosis, say researchers from Second University of Naples, Italy. Both diets included about 30% of calories from fat, although the fat in the Mediterranean-style diet was mainly from olive oil, whereas the low-fat diet included all types of fat.

Diet details: (search for "Mediterranean diet).

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