Fitness column: Scrap overnight solutions for healthy long-term weight loss


The ketogenic (or keto) diet concept involves low-carb food, but Paul Robinson warns to be wary of fad diets or overnight solutions.


Recently, Kevin O’Leary challenged a Shark Tank contestant to mass produce her healthy soup line. He suggested she would make more money if she outsourced production.

She had tried outsourcing, but quality dropped significantly. O’Leary set things straight when he replied, “that’s just how things work.”

Somewhere along the line, ‘units sold’ displaced quality and service. My first fridge (formerly owned by my parents) lasted more than 25 years. I have pickles that outlasted my second ‘modern’ fridge.

My first car needed new brakes after only a few years. The dealer explained that the new brakes were much superior to the ones that lasted twice as long. Huh?

Good luck trying to navigate warrantee helplines. Battle-hardened operators are standing by to fend off complaints as they purge frustrated callers. Your call is important to us. Stoic consumers who are in it for the long hall, simply lose their connection after waiting on hold for 20 minutes.

The health and fitness industry is no different. Units sold outweigh heathy consumers.

I once joked with a client (a dentist who enjoyed his weekly cheat burger and soda) that he had a greater chance marketing a revolutionary fast food diet than I did promoting healthy, active options.

Today we welcome to the show a doctor who has turned the diet industry on its ear. The inventor of the Burger Diet claims it’s OK to eat whatever you want as long as it tastes great. He claims the additives in fast food act as preserves to protect the body against disease and sickness. If longevity is your goal, skip the veggies and shelve moderation. This diet is affordable, easy and makes you feel great. Next time order a burger with that salad — and skip the salad.

In our quick-service, button-pushing society it’s nearly impossible convincing people that overnight solutions fail to magically resolve their problems. Download the app, go on the diet, pop the pills, get the surgery. Of course, snake oil is an attractive option. Lose weight without having to budge from the couch or adjust your eating habits? Sign me up!

Instinctively, we know not to trust late-night infomercials, but the appeal of a $19.99 fix far outweighs exercise and restraint. It doesn’t help when Facebook friends and social media influencers swear by the XYZ diet. Why trust science when you can follow real life weight loss adventures on Instagram? And can we really trust science when experts with an agenda muck it all up?

If you follow social media, you may have noticed the keto (or ketogenic diet) feud between NBC weather anchor Al Roker and fitness personality Jillian Michaels. Roker is pro-Keto, Michaels is (presently) lobbing bombs against.

Many popular social media personalities have been weighing in on the debate — everyone is spouting science, or their version of science, involving micronutrients, insulin, ketosis. Problem is, everyone involved in the debate has an agenda. With sponsors looking over your shoulder it’s hard to be impartial.

I should draw attention to the fact that neither Roker nor Michaels are medical professionals, but the fact that doctors can’t agree on Keto makes the water even murkier.

Micronutrients aside, there just doesn’t seem to be consensus on keto because (a) it’s hardcore but seems to produce weight loss in people that stick with it, (b) it promotes meat and dairy and eliminates many healthy fruits and vegetables, (c) most people do it wrong, (d) most people can’t stick to it, (e) those who fall off the wagon gain the weight back, and (f) there’s no research exploring the long-term health effects.

The one thing on which everyone agrees is keto’s elimination of processed junk food. Put it this way, if you struggle passing up a donut you’re not going to make it on keto. Interestingly, the newly released Canada Food Guide downplays meat and dairy and upsells fruits and vegetables — not very keto friendly.

I know you’re dying to hear my broken record perspective (it’s not going to sell books or land a national speaking tour). Weight train to shape and strengthen, cardio for heart and lungs, and check out the new Canada Food Guide to help with healthy choices (the former, long defunct guide is on a shelf somewhere gathering dust). Finally, and possibly most importantly, cut out the processed junk!

There you have it, balance and common sense. No units sold but hopefully a little healthy, locally sourced soup for the soul.

Paul Robinson has enjoyed 30 years as a personal trainer, executive, speaker and consultant in the fitness industry. He owns Kneifel Robinson (KR) Personal Training, with his partner Monica Kneifel Robinson, serving St. Albert & Edmonton. KR specializes in helping beginners, Boomers and gym-phobics achieve success in-studio and on-line. You can reach them at info@krpersonaltraining.com; http://www.krpersonaltraining.com


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