Are you looking for a new diet? One of the main drawbacks they usually have is you’re required to cut calories or are only allowed to eat certain foods. This can be tough to follow especially if you can’t enjoy some of your favorite foods or have to eat like a bird. If you want to lose weight you should consider cutting calories and avoiding high-processed foods. However, one of the drawbacks of many diets is they basically eliminate the joy of eating and require you to eat stuff like dry toast or saltine crackers. The Shangri-la Diet is different because it doesn’t do that.
The interesting thing about this so-called diet is it isn’t really one. In other words, you can eat any food and any amount you want. You just have to eat a small amount of oil every day. That’s it! You should pick options like light olive oil or walnut oil since they don’t have a strong flavor. However, this is the diet’s only requirement. It’s interesting that this diet was developed by a psychology professor instead of a medical doctor or dietician. This is worth noting because in many ways it has nothing to do with the medical world’s general approach to dieting.
What’s the Shangri-la Diet?
Shangri-la is a fictional place that was created by a British author in a 1930s novel. The term now has the meaning of any earthly paradise.
This helps to explain the diet’s name. It’s a “heavenly” diet because you don’t have to count calories, follow a restrictive diet, or even do meal planning.
The developer of this diet is someone named Dr. Seth Roberts. He’s a psychology professor at a Beijing university and retired professor from the University of California Berkeley.
So, what’s the difference with this diet? All you have to do is consume 200-500 calories of oil (1-4 tablespoon) without a strong flavor before meals. Some examples include:
- Flaxseed oil
- Canola oil
- Walnut oil
- Extra-light olive oil
So, you might be wondering why you should drink flavorless oil. The theory is that people like foods with strong flavors. These oils are connected to foods with high calories like pepperoni pizzas or jelly-filled donuts.
So, this diet supposedly breaks the connections between flavor and calories. Roberts argues that if you eat flavorless oil you won’t feel as hungry before your next meal. When you eat meals, you’ll also feel fuller quicker.
There are no restrictions on this diet. The oil you drink makes you feel less hungry. That will cause you to eat less and make your stomach feel full quicker. When that happens, in theory you’ll lose weight.
Here are the diet’s four rules:
- Consume 200-500 calories of oil every day
- Drink the oil 1+ hours before eating
- Add 1 tablespoon to oil dosage if you don’t lose weight after a full month
- Reduce oil dosage if you have stomach-aches due to the oil
There’s no question that this is an easy diet to follow. It’s as easy as remembering to drink a light oil an hour before each meal. There’s even support through blogs and forums.
Does This Diet Work?
There are many features that make this diet very easy to follow. You won’t have to make any tweaks to your shopping list, there’s no meal-planning, and the only extra cost is the oil.
As a result, it’s much easier to stick with this diet. Calorie-counting alone can be tough when following a diet program. That’s even the case when there’s an app for that.
The big question is whether or not Shangri-La does what it claims and whether or not it’s a “good” diet. Dr. Roberts’ website includes a section that supposedly backs up the diet with science. This includes testimonials from people who claim they’ve lost weight from the diet.
Dr. Roberts himself also claims that his diet helped him lose 35 pounds. There’s a caveat. There are no studies that back up these claims. So, the “science” that supposedly proves the diet works is basically just people who claim it did that.
In fact, there are health conditions that would make this diet a bad one. If you have high cholesterol, diabetes, or heart diseased then this isn’t a good option for you. This could be a major issue. When you have those conditions you have to manage things like blood pressure, salt, and carbs.
There’s also the issue of the extra calories from the oil. These oils are healthy options. However, you should already be getting healthy oils through sources like cooking oils. So, in a sense these are extra calories that you don’t really need.
This diet can definitely provide certain benefits. The main one is it’s easy to follow so you won’t have to spend lots of extra time, effort, and money to reach your weight loss goals.
On the other hand, this isn’t a good diet in either the short or long term in terms of overall health.
Tips for Natural Appetite Suppression
The benefit of fiber is it breaks down differently versus other foods. This causes it to remain in the body for a longer time. That, in turn, slows down your digestion and helps you feel fuller during the whole day. Some studies also show that fiber can help to lower obesity.
Here are some good options:
- Chia seeds
- Whole Grains
Studies show that dark chocolate can suppress appetite better than milk chocolate. A dark chocolate snack seems to cause people to eat less than milk chocolate during their next meal.
Water and Soup
You can also drink a big glass of water right before you eat every meal. Studies show that this can help you feel fuller before breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Fun Fact: Water is the only all-natural food with 0 calories.
Various studies show that drinking water can reduce appetite and boost weight/fat loss. A similar option is a soup starter just before eating.
This might be a surprising way to reduce appetite before meals. However, studies show it can be effective. Right after exercise the body’s appetite hormones drop. This is mainly true in terms of high-intensity exercise.
Stress can cause binging on comfort foods so reducing it might reduce appetite.
Protein and “good” fat
In order to satisfy hunger some foods are better than others. If you want to feel full for longer then you should consider eating more protein and healthy fats like fatty fish and olive oil.
If you want to lose weight one option is to swap out some carbs and add healthy fat and protein. Here are some good options:
- Lean meats
- Olive oil
- Greek yogurt
This is the approach of diets like the Keto diet and to a lesser extent the Shangri-la diet.