The Pittsburgh Press from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on February 23, 1975 · Page 207
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The Pittsburgh Press from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania · Page 207

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
Sunday, February 23, 1975
Page 207
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By Joel Pomerantz The ANYONE WHO'S ever purchased low-calorie soa pop or used a contraption "guaranteed to make exercise painless and effortless" probably belongs to that overstuffed, overfed, overweight one-third of the nation burdened, say medical experts, by enough excess poundage to significantly impair their health. This is the army of '"Flabby Americans" that has spawned a new breed of affluent citizens, literally living off the fat of the land. About 35 per cent of American adults are more than 20 per cent overweight, according to U.S. Public Health surveys. That adds, up to a market of some 60 million people, with a hefty potential for profit, as a number of entrepreneurs have found. As the battle of the bulge rages across the land, the prophets of slimness grow financially fat. Last year, they reaped some $12 billion by selling goods and services designed to trim torsos and melt middles. Those lately enriched include book publishers, diet doctors, psychologists, health spa operators, reducing equipment manufacturers, processors of low-calorie diet foods and beverages, pharmaceutical houses and even owners of children's reducing camps, as well as scores of marginal operators ranging from producers of self-hypnosis tapes "for instant weight loss", to a , company called Dial-A-Diet, providing "24-hours-a-day telephonic dietary medical counseling services." Show business got into the "suet sweepstakes" last year with a popular West Coast revue called "Fat" satirizing the trials and tribulations of the corpulent state, and a successful Broadway comedy, "'My Fat Friend," starring Lynn Redgrave. One of the newest to cash in on the girth control boom is a New Jersey computer firm which markets the so-called "Cadence Computerized Diet." Based on a detailed personal medical history, eating habits and food preference questionnaire, it is devised and supervised by Dr, Georgina Faludi.-' ran Diet advice is aimed at overweight individuals unable, or unwilling, to consult -a medical specialist privately. The computer, after 600,000 .separate calculations, does it all for $15, delivering what an ad brochure calls "a safe, individualized, hospital-tested, balanced weight-loss diet unlike the generalized, for-everyone diets found in books and magazines." The firm claims over 50,000 of these tailor-made computer diets have been sold, via the mails, in the first six months of the company's operations. Indisputably, the biggest beneficiaries of the current obsession with calorie-counting have been book publishers. As soon as the medical establishment had unequivocally linked overweight to a number of major ailments, notably hypertension, stroke and heart attack, dozens of obesity experts rushed into print offering their favorite nostrums to a weight-wracked public, determined to eat less, live longer and look better. The experts' advice included everything from vitamin E and rice diets to more sex and less liquor. Beginning in' the early 1960s with Dr. Herman Taller's "Calories Don't Count," diet directions by medicos have been a staple on the bestseller lists. Dr. Robert C. Atkins of "Diet Revolution" fame and Dr. Irwin Stillman, the voluble advocate of drinking water as the secret ingredient in the fight against fat, dominate the ranks today. Atkins' controversial book, trumpeting a ketogenic or low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet, sold more than a million copies in hardcover alone. Paperback sales may triple that. The original Stillman tome. "The Doctor's Quick Inches-Off Diet" issued in 1969 in hardcover and paperback a year later, also has topped the million mark. " The authoritative "Subject Guide to Books in Print" lists no less than 122 hard-cover titles now available under the general heading of "corpulence and low-calorie diets." Popular magazines oriented to women readers seem to belong to an unofficial diet-of-the-month club. Their editors seldom put forth an issue without a dose of weighty advice. Although Atkins is clearly the champion, both in book sales and fees ($125 for the first-visit to his plush Manhattan office, plus an additional $50 for mandatory tests), uncounted nonliterary physicians all over the country are demanding proportionately fat fees for prescribing pills, drugs, appetite depressants, injections and diets for well-heeled hefties. Some, like Dr. Frank Warner, executive director of the National Acupuncture Research Center, are Talking To People Who Have Slim med Down Ex Added Inventive Tor lour Own Diet Program ID w-BMet, By Barbara Nader kNE TOPIC of conversation that's a tfi P show stopper is weight control by dieting. V ' I know. I've been stopped in the hallway and given a full day's menu of what some-' body ate. I've been stopped at the door to my office and told a personal dieting experience. The phone is busy with life stories of once-overweights and how-overweights who want to be thin. And the article cui my own weight-control experiences is still fresh. . Getting ready to lose weight is one of the most, important factors in weight control. By "getting ready," I don't mean a "Yes. tomorrow I'll do it." I mean: "Today, I began a hew way of living." Like a dog that circles round and round before settling down to sleep. I was "getting ready" for at least four years that I recall. One way of getting ready was to ask people who were slim how they did it. (As if I needed to hear those magic words.) Recently. I interviewed Jean Nidetch, the founder of Weight Watchers International, one of the largest weight-control' organizations. :. Everyone knows her story, which is one of a fat housewife getting slim, then sharing with others her program and talking it over in a group. But during a recent interview, she said something interesting that to me is new.; ; . " How does she keep her weight off? "I surround myself with thin people," said the -glaTnorbus Ms. Nidetch. "Not only do I sur- ..tound mytfelf with them, but I watch how they eat." Of course, that wasn't the only bit of magic she needed to control weight, butit was a "trick" or gimmick, or whatever one needs to call it, that worked for her. Sur rounding herself with thin people gave her first a control (you can't be fat with thin people around you) and an example (they eat slowly, she said, and they do not finish everything on their plates): Another time, I asked Irene Kuo, owner of Manhattan's Gingko Tree restaurant, how she stayed thin in the restaurant business. Mrs. Kuo happens to be very slim, and looks smashing in her satin outfits with their high necks and side slashes. "I do not eat just for the sake of eating," she said one day at lunch. "It has to be superb for me to eat a lot; .otherwise, I just eat a bit. And I eat small portions many times a day. Also. I don't like sweets, and if I have to eat with knife and fork. I will lose 10 pounds quickly. 4t is so difficult for me to manage with knife and fork that I don't eat as much." Perhaps he who uses knife and fork could reverse the procedure. Eat with chopsticks for a week and see what happens. ' However, her remark about eating only w hat is to her "superb" is a more important point because one of the "tricks" to weight control is to be aware of what you are eating. Really aware, really conscious of the taste, texture, look, smell, saltiness, swtct- fmff 4 The Pittsburgh Press, Sunday, February 23, 175

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