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(post, Susan Odell)
Diet fads come and go. Lately we’ve gone through the Atkins, Acai Berry, 3-Day, Zone, South Beach and Cabbage Soup diets. All of these have a few things in common, those being the lack of sustainability, no long-term health benefits, no regard to exercise, and no requirement to make a fundamental change in your eating habits. Enter the Sprinkle Diet! It has all of the above features and more! It gives you permission to continue eating all the junk food and bad stuff that made you overweight and/or unhealthy in the first place, AND adds a highly processed, laboratory created sprinkle (or tastant, according to the company) to the already highly processed food that you’re eating. This is the product called Sensa. The Sensa creator is Dr. Hirsch, a neurologist (sounds impressive) who believes that strong flavors and smells send signals to the brain that trigger feelings of being full, or satiety. I agree with this basic theory; delicious food made with whole, natural ingredients eaten in moderation will make you feel more satisfied then a super-sized triple cheeseburger at your local fast food joint. Where Dr. Hirsch and I differ is how you go about getting good, strong flavors from your food. He suggests you just sprinkle a few tastants on whatever crap you happen to be eating and Voila! You eat less of it and therefore you lose weight. He doesn’t address whether the tastants mitigate the risks of heart disease, high cholesterol or diabetes, all of which are present when eating highly processed foods on a regular basis. So what exactly are Sensa sprinkles? The company describes the ingredients as follows: “Sensa contains Maltodextrin (Derived from Corn from the USA), Tricalcium Phosphate, Silica, Natural and Artificial Flavors, FD&C Yellow 5, and Carmine. Sensa also contains Soy and Milk ingredients.” The rough translation in English is: “Sensa contains an emulsifier, an anti-caking agent, sand and gravel, fake yellow and red food coloring and … who knows what they mean by ‘soy and milk ingredients.’” I have no idea how these ingredients come together in an edible substance that makes you feel full, but I do know this isn’t the right way to lose weight. Losing weight has to be a commitment to change your eating patterns. You have to cook more at home (so you know what’s going in your food), you have to eat more vegetables, less meat and less quantities of everything. The good news is you can make food that tastes better and costs less then the stuff you were eating that made you gain weight. Now that’s sensible and sustainable. I think I’ll call it the Sprinkle of Sense Diet.