Only a few weeks ago it seemed as if every other person I know was raving about the latest fad diet.
This one, you may recall, didn’t rely on grapefruit, boiled eggs, cottage cheese or any other miracle food that would help you shed the pounds without effort.
This one took the radical standpoint that you would be able to reduce your bulk by...not eating so much.
Just fancy. Why has nobody ever thought of it before? The idea was to eat normally – as long as by normally you didn’t mean wolfing everything in sight and overdosing on the pies and pastries that turned you into a human blimp in the first place – for five days a week and then pretty much starve yourself for the other two.
Apparently this model was much more like the way we would have eaten back in the day, before convenience foods and snack machines at every corner, because we had to hunt and gather our own grub and there would inevitably be a few lean periods.
And according to the experts who doubtless have books on the subject to sell, carrying on like this tricks your body into not stocking up on the fat because it thinks there is a famine on the way, as it would if you just dramatically cut your intake back seven days a week.
It should be no surprise to learn that tough times can make you thinner and healthier.
It’s long been known that when we had to hold off Hitler on a diet of soot sandwiches and snook and everything we wanted to eat was either strictly rationed or priced sky-high on the black market, the Home Front had never been healthier.
And there has been recent evidence pointing to Cuba, where years of food shortages resulted in slimmer senors and a big cut in heart disease. Watch out for the Castro diet, which will combine poverty portions with eight hours of jogging on the spot while making revolutionary speeches and a big fat cigar a day to help quell the hunger pangs.
Presumably North Korean leader Kim Jong-un could come up with a similar regime, if that’s the right word, if he could shift some of that puppy fat and cut down on the calories like his long-suffering people.
Yes, you’re right. If you really wanted to ape the diet of our ancestors, or restrict yourself to the sort of grub that’s on offer in places like North Korea and Cuba, you would be more likely to go without for five days and eat for two, if you were lucky.
But somehow that wouldn’t have gone down so well with the chattering classes, would it? For a start there would be far fewer lunches, suppers and dinner parties at which to bore your table-mates to death with your dieting stories, wouldn’t there?