GM Diet: An urban myth that works?

GOTCHA - Jarius Bondoc () - June 22, 2011 - 12:00am

Overweight is a growing concern among urbanites. They size up others’ figures and ask, “How come you’ve slimmed down and I can’t; what diet are you on?” A strange reply I got recently is the GM (General Motors) Diet. Supposedly you can lose 10-17 pounds in seven days.

A quick Internet check showed that the GM Diet is more urban legend than fact — yet it works. A fad in America three years ago, it prompted many first-hand accounts and scientific reviews. New York Times columnist Roger Cohen verified that the automaker’s board of directors never issued such diet for employees in 1985, as claimed. Debunked too was that the US Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration had given a special grant to research the eating plan, and that Johns Hopkins University had tested it. Just the same Cohen “did the GM,” and lost 11 pounds in one week.

The GM Diet is effective allegedly because the food intake “burns more calories than it gives the body, in caloric value.” It can be used as often as wanted, with no complications. Boosting energy, it gives a feeling of wellbeing (placebo effect?). During the seven days, the dieter must abstain from all alcohol, and drink ten glasses of water a day. Coffee and tea drinkers must take it black, no cream, sugar or substitutes. Here it goes:

Day 1 - Eat only fruits, as much as you want; best if only watermelons and cantaloupes; strictly no bananas.

Day 2 - Only vegetables, any kind, raw or cooked. Stuff yourself. For complex carbohydrate, breakfast on a large baked potato, patted with butter.

Day 3 - Mixture of fruits and veggies of your choice, again except bananas; no potato today.

Day 4 - Bananas and milk, as many as eight pieces and three glasses. Supplement with lots of “GM Wonder Soup”: 28 oz. water, six large onions, two green peppers, whole tomatoes, one head cabbage, one bunch celery, herbs and onion soup mix for flavor.

Day 5 - Feast on lean beef or hamburger, as much as two 10-oz. portions. Combine with six whole tomatoes. Increase water intake by one liter, to cleanse off uric acid.

Day 6 - Eat to heart’s content unlimited beef and veggies.

Day 7 - Brown rice, veggies, and fruit juices; no limit.

Some dieters do the GM several times a year, more so after holiday binges. Weird, but the diet, on repeats, allows white wine or beer, but no mixing of both for the night, and never liquor or cream cocktails.

Computer scientist B.H. Jajoo analyzed why the GM plan worked for him. Day 1 purportedly prepares your system for the program, with the “perfect food”: fruits. Day 2 couples complex carbohydrates with an oil dose, for energy and balance; veggies are calorie-free but contain essential nutrients and fiber. On Day 3 carbs come from fruits; your system starts to burn excess pounds; cravings diminish. Day 4 bananas are for the potassium and sodium missed in the past three days; desire for sweets drops. Day 5’s beef is for iron and proteins (some substitute beef with chicken), the tomatoes for digestion and fibers; water purifies the system. Day 6, like the previous day, is for iron, proteins, vitamins, and fiber. By Day 7 you should have your system under control, after the “detoxification”.

The craze became so hot that a GM Diet Review was opened on the Net. One article listed the pros and cons. Pros: it’s free, just read and follow the simple eating plan, no need to pay anyone anything. Prescribed foods are easy to get and affordable; no special, exotic products to buy. Rules are few and clear. Those who’ve tried reported success. Cons: as with most crash diets, the effect doesn’t last long. There is no known author and support network for dieters. It’s pseudoscience; many of its prescriptions go against medical studies; the alcohol allowance during repeats is particularly insane. It doesn’t flatten the abs because what dieters lose is mostly water and liquid weight.

But then, as with most fad diets, the GM has a use. From five triers and three docs I asked, it’s a feel-good start for the real thing: healthy eating and regular exercise.

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For those interested to know, I resigned from the board of the surrendered Independent Realty Corp. three months ago, March 30. The stint was fulfilling, as the board swiftly stanched IRC’s financial bleeding, reorganized management, and reset targets. After three-and-a-half months the work left were mostly legal, so non-lawyer me took leave from the four attorney-directors: PCGG Chairman Andres Bautista, Commissioners Gerard Mosquera and Richard Amurao, and Atty. Roberto Lara. Details are in a First 100-Days report, relayed yesterday to Malacañang. It will be posted, along with other PCGG reports, I’m told, on the Palace website.

* * *

Reacting to my item Monday about the PCSO giving in 2009 a Catholic bishop a four-wheel-drive vehicle, reader Atty. Sonny Pulgar pointed to the Constitution. Article VI, The Legislative Department, Section 29 (2) states:

“No public money or property shall be appropriated, applied, paid, or employed, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, sectarian institution, or system of religion, or of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher, or dignitary as such, except when such priest, preacher, minister, or dignitary is assigned to the armed forces, or to any penal institution, or government orphanage or leprosarium.”

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Catch Sapol radio show, Saturdays, 8-10 a.m., DWIZ, (882-AM).


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