Tried the Shangri-La diet?
May 22, 2006 10:24 AM   Subscribe

Has anyone tried the Shangri-La Diet? Results?

I know all the typical weight-loss methods, so I'm not asking for good diet tips or anything like that. This diet, which has been getting tons of press these days, seems strange and too good to be true.

I'm looking for personal anecdotes and/or friend-of-a-friend stories about success (or failure) on the Shangri-La diet.
posted by necessitas to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
At best, it's just a appetite-regulation method that may or may not work. That's not really too good to be true. You're still going to be reducing calories as a means of losing weight.
posted by rxrfrx at 10:37 AM on May 22, 2006


I inadvertantly did it when I wanted to add flaxseed oil to my diet -- I took a tablespoon of oil twice a day in between meals. I did lose weight, mainly because I wasn't all that hungry when meal times came around. I've slacked off on the flaxseed oil lately, and a potential bit of weight loss is what's currently motivating me to start taking it again.

But since I wasn't specifically trying to lose weight, I wasn't paying all that much attention, and at most I dropped a couple pounds.
posted by occhiblu at 10:43 AM on May 22, 2006


necessitas' question had me reading Google answers for a half-hour. I had never heard of the Shangri-La diet before. Thank you occhiblu for your post, my immediate thought when reading the Shangri-La instructions was "hmmm, I wonder whether I can substitute flaxseed for the extra-light olive oil and kill two birds with one stone" Then again, the author apparently insists that the oil be tasteless - whereas my flaxseed oil tastes a little nutty.

Worth a shot!
posted by seawallrunner at 10:57 AM on May 22, 2006


For those of you like me who had never heard of the Shangri-La diet, here's a pretty good explanatory link.
posted by irregardless at 11:07 AM on May 22, 2006


I'm sorry I meant to add links but in my hurry to post, I forgot to insert them.

I originally intended it to read: Shangri-La Diet
posted by necessitas at 11:19 AM on May 22, 2006


I've been trying it for 5 days now, and I don't have much progress to report yet. I still get hungry at meal times, but as far as I can tell I don't need to eat as much to feel full. I'm also not getting hungry after dinner - I'm easily able to avoid snacking at night. So far I'm only down an insignificant 1/2 a pound, but I went to a party where I overindulged this weekend and I don't think I was taking enough calories in sugar/oil at first.
Anyway, I agree with rxrfrx that it's just an appetite supressant, nothing miraculous, but I thought I'd try it for a couple of weeks to see what happens. I'm only very, very slightly over a healthy BMI right now, and my goal is to lose about 15 lbs
posted by katie at 11:43 AM on May 22, 2006


By the way, I've found these forums from your second link, necessitas, to be a valuable resource.
posted by katie at 11:45 AM on May 22, 2006


I first heard about the Shangri-la diet from Aaron Swartz. I asked Kathy Sierra about it because she writes about psychology. Neither of them had written about diets previously, as far as I know, and I know of no reason to distrust either of them when they say the Shangri-la diet worked for them.
posted by scottreynen at 12:13 PM on May 22, 2006


I'm trying it... been doing it a week or so. I'd been trying to cut down portion sizes anyway, and I had a head cold last week that seriously depressed my appetite, so I'm not sure how much it's really helping. But extra light olive oil is cheap compared to some of the things I've tried, so I'll give it a while longer.
posted by kindall at 2:36 PM on May 22, 2006


Beware when reading blog posts about the Shangri-La diet, they may not be entirely unbiased. The publishers of the book contacted me out of the blue, said they'd read my blog, and offered me a free copy of the book. I declined. Not saying that this kind of marketing is inappropriate or that people who accept free books are bad. But if you suddenly see a lot of blogs talking about this diet, that may be why.

PS: I know Aaron and believe his writing about the diet is genuine and personal.
posted by Nelson at 3:03 PM on May 22, 2006


I've been trying this for about 6 days now and I've lost about 3 pounds. The remarkable thing is not the weight loss but the fact that it really does suppress your appetite. Even if you don't notice the results on the scale right away, you'll know that it's working.

Some caveats: the first day I didn't really notice an effect. The second day is when it really kicked in for me. A key point that the book makes is hunger is really only one of many signals to eat and the only one this diet controls. I find that even though I'm not hungry, once I sit down to eat I'll finish everything on my plate. I need to be proactive with portion control. Lately I've been following this pattern: a "small" breakfast (half a bowl of Raisin Bran instead of a full bowl), a normal lunch a few hours later in the day, and a piece of fruit in the evening instead of dinner.

Again, I could easily eat as much as I did before, I'm just not driven to.

I've been running about 3 miles a day, and at first I didn't feel like I had the energy to run. This was a big red flag for me. I don't want to become some listless, low-energy (but thin) guy. I switched from running to walking for a few days, but now (5 days in) I'm running again.

Also, I'm using sugar-water, not oil, so there's the sugar rush/crash thing to deal with if you're not careful. Timing is significant - must be at least one hour before or after you eat. I've been drinking one glass an hour after breakfast and another glass an hour before bed.

I highly recommend the book. You've got all the basic info you need from the article that irregardless linked but the extra detail and anecdotes in the book may help reassure you that it's not quite as nutty as it sounds. Helped me anyway.
posted by zanni at 3:42 PM on May 22, 2006


I tried it when I first read about it here (and then downloaded the PDF of Seth Roberts' paper). That was quite a few months ago.

I did it for probably about a week. It didn't do anything special for me. I wasn't less hungry. I would've had to cut calories the same way I normally cut calories; by being okay with sometimes being hungry.

(I tried both sugar water and oil. I found the sugar water far more palatable.)

And I never did figure out how to deal with brushing my teeth when I did it.
posted by birdie birdington at 4:35 PM on May 22, 2006


Zanni, I would love to hear what "dose" of sugar you're using. I haven't had anywhere near the appetite suppression you've experienced! My email is in my profile if you'd rather not answer here.
posted by katie at 6:26 PM on May 22, 2006


katie: 3 tbsps of sugar in water, twice a day for 270 total calories.

I think it makes a big difference when you take the sugar (or oil) relative to your meals. Roberts hints at this in the book but doesn't come right out and say it. But if flavorful calories raise your set point (making you hungry) and flavorless calories lower it, it seems to make the most sense to drink your sugar water 1 hour after you eat than 1 hour before. He does say it'll have an appetite reducing effect either way, but I think you get more bang for your buck with after. Also, since eating makes you hungrier, drinking the sugar water after you've eaten knocks out the hunger pangs just as they're starting.
posted by zanni at 2:00 AM on May 23, 2006


Thanks, Zanni. I'm waiting to get the book from the library. In the meantime, I'll take your advice!
posted by katie at 5:32 AM on May 23, 2006


I am very interested in this diet as well. I did it for 4 days last week, at work, but couldn't continue on the weekend (since you can't smoke during the 2 hour no-taste window, I know, I should quit). Anyhow, I didn't notice any appetite suppression, but I felt INCREDIBLY FULL all the time, despite pretty small portions. But I still felt cravings to snack. I'm going to try again this week, and try to keep it up for 2 weeks.
posted by chelseagirl at 6:39 AM on May 23, 2006


Thanks for the info, everyone. I just started today. I thought I'd do the oil but I couldn't even choke down a sip. I opted for the sugar. I'll let you all know how it turns out.
posted by necessitas at 1:34 PM on May 23, 2006


If you do want to use oil: Put it on a spoon, hold your breath when you swallow it, basically think of it as cough syrup or some other sort of medicine; the nasty sense of "Ew, I'm swallowing oil" will go away after the first few times.
posted by occhiblu at 2:49 PM on May 23, 2006


I've found that canola is far less nauseating for me than olive oil for some reason (cheaper too). Two tablespoons of oil (haven't tried the sugar) are working quite successfully as an appetite suppressant. My desire to snack is entirely gone and I generally feel full much more quickly at dinner. Have lost two pounds with no exercise besides what I get walking to the bus and around at work/doing errands/etc. (probably averaging around 1400-1600 calories a day). I like the fact that I don't have to worry about avoiding particular foods as I'm not one of those people that can cut an entire class of foods out of my diet entirely.
posted by longdaysjourney at 5:26 PM on May 26, 2006


I did it with fructose water last year for a couple months and lost about 20 pounds, which has stayed off since. Found this thread through the link on the blue; I had no idea the book had been released. How is it?
posted by jtron at 9:56 PM on May 26, 2006


I had no idea the book had been released. How is it?

If you've read the paper Roberts has posted on his website, you've already seen what science there is in the book. It's probably worth getting if you're contemplating using the diet on a long-term basis. There are lots of before and after stories of people who used the diet (most successful, a few not), more on varying your diet (Roberts calls this avoiding "ditto" foods), a rough guide as to how much oil/sugar you should take for the amount of weight you want to lose, and a FAQ. Also, I'd check out the forums at Roberts' website for more info, as he's an active participant.
posted by longdaysjourney at 7:36 AM on May 27, 2006


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