17 Day Diet Duping on Dr. Phil and The Doctors

Have you heard about the latest, greatest diet to come along since The Cabbage Soup Diet?

It’s called The 17 Day Diet, and at the risk of turning people onto it, I will just speak my piece in this short post…

On The Dr. Phil Show today a group of overweight people was divided into two teams and will compete in a weight loss contest, a virtual redux of The Biggest Loser.

They are expected to follow the 17 Day Diet for 3 cycles, and then the weight loss will be tallied and winners picked.

Dr. Phil said “You know I’m not really fond of diets, but this one is different for a couple of reasons…”

Yeah, Dr. Phil, this one is different. Just like every one of the last few hundred or so diets touted over the last hundred years.

This one is different because it will manage to dupe a few thousand more desperate people into believing that finally, they can follow a diet that will result in rapid weight loss.

Wait! Hasn’t it been shown that losing weight quickly makes it more likely that the lost weight will be regained quickly as well?

Not according to Dr. Moreno, who confidently stated “It’s actually been shown that the more quickly the weight is lost, the more likely it is that the person will keep the weight off.”

Hmm…I guess all those previous studies were wrong.

Dr. Moreno, did you happen to plug Dr. Phil’s height and weight into your BMI calculator? Based on the BMI that results I think you could probably sell him a copy of your book!

I visited the website www.17daydiet.com for some more information.

The home page has a BMI Calculator, and we find out that “BMI is a number calculated to determine the overall fitness of an individual.” Check it out: (you may need to click on the image for a better view of the paragraph under “BMI Calculator”)

Well, Dr. Moreno, I’m not sure what they taught you in medical school, but if they taught you that “BMI determines the overall fitness of an individual”, then that medical school should be closed and shuttered and any diplomas earned from that institution should be tossed into the recycling bin (after shredding, of course. We wouldn’t want any names to go public…).

BMI stands for Body Mass Index, and is calculated by dividing body weight (in kilograms) by height (in meters) squared.

It’s easier to explain by showing you the mathematical formula:

BMI = W/(h x h)

where W=body weight in kilograms, h=height in meters

As you can see from the formula, BMI increases when weight increases and when height decreases. So, the heavier you are and the shorter you are, the higher your BMI.

BMI says nothing about your fitness, it only gives you a relationship between your weight and height. Pretty useless, unless you are so lazy that you just want to plug weight and height into an equation and delude yourself that you now have useful information.

This is really giving you the benefit of the doubt, but perhaps it’s just a typo. You meant fatness, not fitness, right?

If that’s the case, then I’ll let it slide, even though it’s well-known that BMI is at best a very crude method for measuring fatness.

A far more useful (and easier!) calculation is just to divide height by waist circumference. I actually picked this up from the Dr. Oz show. It doesn’t matter if it’s in inches or centimeters (or “sonometers“, as Dr. Oz likes to say).

If your height/waist is less than 2, you probably have more fat than you need.

How’s that for simple?

For an eye-opening list of athletes and celebrities that are either “Overweight” or “Obese” according to BMI, check out www.BMIscale.com

Sylvester Stallone, Mike Tyson (at his fighting weight) and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson are all “Obese.”

So, if you see The Rock cruising the streets of Hollywood in between takes, you can say “Hey Rock, you’re obese!”

Surely you can run faster than The Rock. He’s obese!

Also on the home page is the claim that: “You could lose 10-12 pounds in 17 days.”

This is classic terminology used by fad diets to inspire hope and encourage buy-in.

It’s not lying, because you certainly COULD lose 10-12 pounds in 17 days. Will you? Probably not.

I COULD play basketball in the NBA or perhaps win the lottery next week. Both those events are real long shots, but there is a possiblility…albeit a very remote one.

We’re told: “His revolutionary program adjusts your body metabolically so that you burn fat, day in and day out. Each 17 day Cycle “Accelerate, Activate, Achieve and Arrive” changes your calorie count and the foods you eat.”

Hmm…Revolutionary. Accelerate, Activate, Achieve and Arrive. My Snowjob Detector is really starting to go crazy!

Today on The Doctors you told the audience that grapes were low in sugar. Compared to what, jelly beans and salt-water taffy? Grapes are one of the fruits highest in sugar, so maybe you cut class the day they covered that in nutrition class. It would be nice to get your facts straight before you dispense dietary advice on national television.

Dr. Moreno, I must admit that you look great for being 42 years old. That will only work to your favor when selling your book and getting people to try your diet, especially the women between 40 and 60.

Just curious Dr. Mike, do you have any specialized training that qualifies you to give advice on diet and weight loss?

I didn’t notice any experience or credentials relating to nutrition, dietetics or weight loss on The 17 Day Diet website. I did see that every Tuesday and Thursday you go for a walk with one of your patients. That’s great!

Perhaps you are relying on the M.D. after your name and a bit of back scratching from Dr. Phil. I envy you, Mike, I really do!

So, has anybody reading this blog tried the 17 Day Diet? I would love to hear about your experience.

I would like to read the book myself, but unfortunately it’s not available in bookstores, only through the website (a great exclusivity tactic, by the way…nice job!), and I always like to read a few pages of a book before I plunk down my money.

Bottom Line:

You don’t need a book to tell you how to eat to lose weight. Just eat the foods that you were meant to eat, and your body will take care of the rest. Really! That’s how it worked for millions of years.

PS: Dr. Moreno, would you be interested in an affiliate marketing partnership with me? Let me know…

Robert J. Stone

This entry was posted in deceptive advertising, primal and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 17 Day Diet Duping on Dr. Phil and The Doctors

  1. Susan Fitzgerald says:

    Hi,
    I am on day 15 of the 17 day diet or as I like to think of it as a live it, because I feel great, have tons of energy and have lost 11 pounds so far. I eat enough food every day where I am not hungry, vegetables (all I want), lean meats (all I want but I don’t eat that much), fruit and yogurt twice a day. I am drinking lots of water and green tea and am encouraged to going down for a change. I am definitely obese (hate that word, but I deserve it) and need to lose about 50 more pounds, maybe 60. I am concerned about my health because of diabetes, heart disease and cancer all being in my family, I am 59 years old and have to get my act together if I want to keep enjoying my 10 plus grandchildren (1 more due in May). On Thursday of this week I move to the activate phase the second 17 days and will be adding grains and some other meats and vegetables to the plan, then I expect my weight loss to go slower but I hope to keep losing weight. This has worked for me and I can only speak for myself. I chose in life not to degrade people who are overweight (as you just did Dr. Phil). I chose to encourage people who are trying to lose weight or stop smoking, or break any habit that is harmful to them. You can buy the book in the bookstore, I got it at Barnes and Nobles a little over two weeks ago. I think I will bookmark your blog and get back to you after the next 17 days are completed.

    • Hi Susan!

      Congratulations on your recent weight loss and increased energy! You are to be commended for being concerned about your health and wanting to be around for your grandchildren. I totally support people like you, and as they say, whatever works, works. The main point with my post was that the 17 Day Diet is really nothing new, and is being marketed with questionable methods. Doctors Moreno and Phil are chuckling all the way to the bank, having successfully re-packaged and re-marketed the same old “lower carb, more veggies, multi-step” diets that we have seen in countless permutations over the last 20 years in the media.

      It does sound like it’s working for you, and that is great. I would love to hear about your continued progress, please keep me updated!

      By the way, I have never degraded Dr. Phil for being overweight (or anyone else, for that matter…). I mentioned his BMI simply to call attention to the fact that BMI is a poor tool for measuring body fat.

      Thanks for visiting and best of success to you,

      Robert J. Stone

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