“Celebrity chef” and “weight loss expert” don’t often go hand in hand, but Rocco DiSpirito, author of the “Now Eat This Diet”, continues to strive to be both. The New York City-based chef, best known for his various television appearances, recently released his tenth book, a diet tome titled “The Pound a Day Diet”.
According to the release for the brand new book, “The Pound a Day Diet”, “is designed to help you lose a pound a day without frustrating plateaus, all while enjoying your favorite foods. On this diet, you never feel hungry or deprived, while always feeling satisfied and fueled with energy. The results are immediate and Rocco shows us how you can transform your body in just days. Be five pounds lighter by Friday!”
Just how do you lose a pound a day? According the the same press release, this new diet plan, “re-writes every carb/fat/calorie rule in the book, and is based on three breakthrough diet insights of effective, scientifically based weight loss: calorie correction, carb density, and the Mediterranean diet pattern.”
But what’s missing here—even in fine print—is the real secret to quick weight loss: Severe calorie restriction. On Rocco’s diet users are asked to consume just 850 calories a day 5 days a week and 1,200 calories two days a week. (For the sake of comparison, the FDA recommends eating between 2,000 and 2,500 calories a day and popular diets like Flat Belly recommend 1,600 calories a day.)
The diet itself calls for a balance of lean protein and fiber-rich veggies with some fat and some carbs—an eating style we can get behind. But some nutritionists are sounding the alarm bell about the low caloric intake of “The Pound a Day Diet”, suggesting that eating this way for the suggested 28 days can stall the metabolism and deprive the body of the fuel it needs.
The book is full of mixed-messages, as if DiSpirito was attempting to hide the actual how-to of the plan. On page 10 of the book DiSpirito says readers can still eat fried chicken, mac and cheese, and ice cream (so long as they’re prepared healthfully); on page 13 he reminds readers not to fall for fad diets or try unsupervised medical fasts or crash diets; and on page 47 he reveals that his 850 calorie diet is just 50 calories away from being considered a “very low calorie diet” which should only be done under a doctor’s supervision. This feels like a pretty extreme diet that’s being disguised as a small changes eating plan.
Does the diet work? Judging from Rocco’s own before and after photos we’re inclined to say yes. And, the numbers add up: if anyone were to slash their daily caloric intake by half (or, most likely, much, much more) to get it down to 850 a day they would lose weight. But the jury is still out in regard to whether this leads to lasting weight loss and whether a month on this plan will truly be hunger-free. The book hits shelves tomorrow, on January 7th, so I guess we’ll have to wait at least 28 days to find out!