Weight Loss, Dieting & Obesity
© Copyright 2004 - 2011 , Trevor Johnson.
Silly Fad Diets :
The Milk Diet has evolved since its creation into something very different from the intention of the health proponent who first promoted it. A look at the original history of the milk diet will help understand the evolution to how it is used today.
The Milk Diet -- Circa 1920's: The Milk Diet was not originally intended as a weight loss diet. It was intended as an intense nutritional program for treating serious sickness and disease. The proponent, millionaire (back when a million dollars was a lot of money) Bernarr Macfadden of "Physical Culture" fame and prolific author of over one hundred books relating to natural health and fitness, believed milk, particularly the raw, non-pasteurized type, to be a true 'total food' with a perfect blend of all your nutritional needs. He published his controversial work "The Milk Diet: How to Use the Milk Diet Scientifically at Home" in 1923. That weight loss was not the object is confirmed by the quantities of milk recommended on this healing diet - up to six quarts of whole milk every day! That's a terribly high daily load of calories, so it is little wonder that one of the claims of healing about Macfadden's The Milk Diet was that sick and ill people who had lost weight because of their illness would regain their weight by following the milk diet. (Admittedly, Bernarr Macfadden did also advocate similar quantities of skim milk in preference to whole milk for people with certain conditions, such as diabetes, or who suffered ill effects such as diarrhoea from the fat content of heavy loads of whole milk.) Macfadden cites several cases of people who, for reasons of health, lived in a healthy, active state for several decades, even over fifty years, whose sole source of nutrition and sustenance was milk.
The Milk Diet -- Today: There is no doubt that milk has many very healthy properties. It has a well rounded combination of proteins and amino acids, plenty of calcium, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium and a range of other essential minerals at closer to trace levels. It is rich in certain B group vitamins (particularly B2, B5 & B12) and Vitamin D, and a moderate source of Vitamin A and B1, B6, and folate. Milk also contains trace levels of Vitamins E and K. Whole milk is heavy in saturated fats, though also contains the essential fats of Omega 3 & 6 in low/moderate levels.
For the purposes of modern rapid weight loss dieting, near fat free skim milk is used. While this reduces the calorie levels and the saturated fat levels, it corresponding eliminates the essential Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids. Additionally, as certain vitamins are fat soluble and therefore require the presence of fat to be absorbed by the human body, skim milk becomes a poor source for Vitamins A, D, E & K, leaving only a few of the B group vitamins to be of nutritional benefit in skim milk.
Before commencing on a weight loss low fat skim milk diet, it is wise to prepare for at least two days beforehand (as you would for a water fast) by reducing your food intake. A sudden change from solid foods to liquids only is very difficult for most people, so a couple of days in transition, reducing your solid intake, is advisable.
Skim milk (depending on brand, fortifications, etc) contains around 85 calories per standard 250 ml glass. Drinking three liters - that is five pints, 100 fluid ounces or twelve standard glasses - of skim milk, just a glass at a time and spread throughout the day (say, one glass per hour, plus twelve hours for sleep and rest, though this is flexible), gives a daily intake of just over 1,000 calories. This is certainly a low enough level of calories to produce significant weight loss if maintained over an extended period, with the additional benefit not found in most other silly fad rapid weight loss diets (such as the bread diet, cookie diet, watermelon diet, lemonade diet and others) of being high in protein and calcium. This means that, unlike those other silly fad diets that are devoid of protein and calcium, the skim milk diet supports your muscle condition, rather than promoting muscle wastage. In fact, three liters of skim milk daily will provide you with double the recommended daily intake for protein and almost four times the recommended minimum daily requirement for calcium.
While it is unsound to actually promote any extreme rapid weight loss diet, it must be acknowledged that almost every person with weight concerns has indulged in one of more of them at one point or another. That said, if one had to recommend a "best" silly fad diet, the fact that the skim milk diet, with its high proteins and calcium content, supports rather than damages muscle condition, makes it the closest to a sound choice amongst these silly fad diets.
Additionally, it is relatively satisfying, unlike the extreme no-protein carb dominant choices of the other popular silly fad diets. Once the initial transition from solid foods to an all liquid skim milk diet has been managed (as mentioned above, best achieved with a couple of transition days beforehand), which should take about two days, the skim milk diet is relatively easy to maintain for extended periods of time. Two weeks should be easy for most people. (Remember that, as Bernarr Macfadden indicated, some people have lived healthily for longer than fifty years on nothing but milk.) This means that, it is still easy to maintain regular light exercise, such as a 45 minute daily brisk walk, while on your approx 1,000 calorie per day skim milk diet. You simply won't be able to do that sort of exercise on any of the other silly fad diets that cause muscle wastage.
Personally, if undertaking a skim milk diet, for the sake of improved nutritional balance I would add that you should add one piece of citrus fruit daily for your Vitamin C needs, plus 5,000 mg of fish oil per day to supply your essential Omega 3 needs and assist with the absorption of the fat soluble vitamins. A multivitamin supplement would also be a wise consideration. Do not neglect the daily exercise, preferably in sunshine for Vitamin D benefits.
For the skeptic reading this page, let me stress two additional points -- one more "for" and another "against":
Firstly, many commercial diet programs are on the shelves of supermarkets, so-called health food stores and pharmacies these days that provide in powdered form a liquid meal replacement program. Basically, these are commercialized variant of a skim milk diet with additional vitamin, mineral and sometimes essential fatty acid fortification. In other words, pretty much the same as the suggestions I made a couple of paragraphs above. (The commercial products, though, will of course work out to be far more expensive than a do-it-yourself approach.)
Secondly, ultimately, even with good weight loss whilst maintaining muscle condition that a skim milk diet maintained for a couple of weeks provides, no ongoing lifestyle change or re-education is involved. Accordingly, if all you do is lose weight and then return to the eating patterns and lifestyle choices that caused your weight problems in the first place, you will gradually regain all your lost weight..... Even though the muscle support of the proteins and calcium means that you are unlikely to detrimentally slow your metabolic rate whilst on a skim milk diet, meaning the weight rebound won't be as raid as with other silly fad diets, ultimately a skim milk diet is just a temporary solution that will not produce permanent benefits. In the end the milk diet is just another silly fad diet.
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