There are signs that the Atkins phenomenon may have peaked and that the dieting community may be ready for the next big thing. Atkins had a good run -- Krispy Kreme Doughnuts is teetering on the brink of Chapter 11 -- but one sees more and more baked potatoes on people's plates where last year it was broccoli. The sense that Atkins is declining in popularity cannot be denied. Generally, when one hyper-popular diet wanes there is a hiatus of a few months while the people who failed with the old diet sulk, and the people who succeeded with it gain back all the weight they had lost. Finally, when everyone is once again plump and determined, the scene is ready for the next final solution to flab.
We are in that hiatus now and it may be slightly prolonged this time by recent research that suggests that being slightly overweight is healthier than maintaining ones "ideal" weight. Still, sooner or later the time will come and I mean to be ready. As it happens, I am currently trying to reduce my tonnage and I have worked out a method for selecting foods so that I am not excessively hungry and I lose weight at a sensible pace. I call it the "R" factor. I think, with proper promotion, the "R" Factor Diet could easily be the next big thing in nutrition.
So, what is the "R" factor? I'm not telling. Once you know what the "R" factor is it becomes childishly simple to pick out healthy, slimming foods. If I post the "R" factor in my blog, who will buy my book?
But I will give some hints -- as a a sort of a teaser. Consider this list of foods*: beans, cauliflower, onions, seeds, broccoli, corn, peas, soy, cabbage, lettuce, peanuts, whole grains, carrots, peppers, oat bran. These foods are all high in the "R" factor. They tend to be high in fiber, in complex sugars and high order carbohydrates. They tend to be bulky compared to their caloric content and have lots of indigestible or partially degestible components that encourage the growth of helpful flora in your gut. Many of them tend to be vegetables but the "R" factor diet is not necessarily, or even particularly, vegetarian. There are a number of sausages or other prepared meat products that are high in the "R" factor.
With the Atkins diet there was more to it than just picking out foods that are low in carbs, and there is more to the "R" Factor Diet than just the "R" factor. The "R" Factor Diet is a moderately low fat diet and one must pick foods that are both low in fat and high in the "R" factor. But the "R" Factor Diet does not require, or provide, specific menus. There is no need to carry a calculator to the grocery store. Instead, as you go up and down the aisles you can evaluate foods based on two simple rules: 1) the ratio of total calories to fat calories should be at least 4 to 1, and 2) the food should be high in the "R" factor. As I said, to learn about the "R" factor you will need to buy my book, but I promise: you already know which foods are high in the "R" factor but you don't know you know it.
So, watch the shelves at your favorite bookstore for my new book: The R Factor Diet. "R" factor food is real food you can buy in real grocery stores -- not specially branded pressed sawdust kibbles or beeswax wafers dusted with dryer lint. It's stuff you already eat and like, but you don't know that it can make you thin -- because you don't understand the relation between weight loss and the "R" factor. All you have to do to lose weight is cut out the foods that make you F. A. T. and choose foods that add the "R" factor -- foods that make you F. A. ...
But, for that you need to buy my book.
* List of "R" factor foods courtesy of GlaxoSmithKline, distributors of Beano.
Update: 1 May 2005
I have been asked for more information about the "R" factor -- inquiries motivated undoubtedly by impatience for the release of my as-yet-unwritten apocryphal book, "The R Factor Diet." A full answer, of course, will have to wait for the book but I will provide this further hint: I often have the pictured product for lunch. [I have lightly obscured the brand identity since they have not yet offered to pay me to advertise their product.] It makes an ideal "R" Factor lunch -- 25% calories from fat, high in protein, and very high in the "R" Factor. Being an "R" factor food I don't really worry about portion control as that takes care of itself. When I finish a big bowl I hear this little voice saying "That's enough. No more." I like to think this voice is my inner dietician speaking to me about moderation and health. It could also be the guy in the next cube muttering under his breath.