Menu Planning & Recipes

Diet Website REVIEW
January 23rd, 2012

BEYONDdiet.com  
of Isabel de Los Rios

The BEYONDdiet website combines a nothing-new-fad-diet approach with some of the popular components of the most successful free diet websites (meal plans, shopping lists, recipes, a support community, etc.)—except they charge for it…

For your convenience I’m going to cover the following topics in this review (so feel free to skip to what’s of greatest interest to you):

  • Yes it’s a fad diet
  • “Certified nutritionist”?
  • Magical Misinformation
  • The Bottom Line

I. Yes it’s a fad diet. Fad diets consist of some basic components (as I recently outlined in my blog Can You Spot a Sham Weight Loss Diet?). The first key component is the “magical breakthrough” where the author/guru claims that they have the real secret to weight loss—and therefor you need to buy their book (or sign up for their program).

In this case Isabel claims to have the dietary secret to “unlocking fat burning” plus an additional magic trick called “metabolism typing” (which conveniently only requires answering a few questions on a one-page questionnaire).

The second key component of fad diets is always a purported secret to “eating the right things in the right way.” In this case Isabel promises to reveal, how to “put the right foods together in a certain way to create the fat burning effect.” She further claims that “knowing your metabolic type will guide you in selecting foods for an ideal fat burning environment in your body.”

The first purpose of these “secrets” is to trick you into eating a low-calorie diet while at the same time claiming that “calories don’t count.” This will lead to weight loss, just not for the magical reasons claimed, but instead due to simply eating fewer calories.

The second purpose of these “secrets” is simply sales and marketing to get prospects to buy what they are selling (see Section III for more details on the magical misinformation).

This is interesting too, Isabel has rebranded (basically changed the name) of her previous business, The Diet Solution. Here’s TheDietSolutionProgram, nearly the identical pitch as on her new BD website. Also see this - Complaint Review: The Diet Solution Program.

II. “Certified nutritionist?” While the BD website describes Isabel De Los Rios as a “certified nutritionist” she doesn’t provide any type of credential. Anyone, with a legitimate credential, would use it. Anybody can claim to be a “nutritionist,” what matters is the professional credential that backs it up.

Registered Dietitian (RD): The largest group of legitimate nutrition professionals is Registered Dietitians 50% of whom have master’s degrees. They also complete 1,200-hours of supervised internship practice before they get the chance to take the examination needed to obtain the credential.

Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS): is a board certification for medical professionals who already have a PhD, or masters degree, and can document significant experience and continuing education in nutrition. They still have to pass the boards to obtain the CNS credential to highlight their specialization in nutrition.

Certified Nutritionist (CN): Washington State, home of the highly respected school of Naturopathic medicine Bastyr University, authorizes the CN credential for professionals who have a Masters degree in nutrition from an accredited university.

Additionally, in all of these cases continuing education credits are required to maintain the certification. If someone is claiming to be a nutritionist always ask enough questions to determine if you're talking to an actual medical professional or not. 

The BD website also alleges that Isabel has a degree in exercise physiology from Rutgers University. However, when I called, Rutgers didn't have a record of anyone graduating under that name. In any case, an exercise physiology degree alone would not qualify her—in any way—as a nutrition professional.

III. Magical Misinformation:

a) “Fat-burning” has long been a popular buzz word around the fitness industry and fad-diets. The implication is that there is something especially important about burning fat in maximizing weight loss. It’s a misleading notion, however, as weight loss is a function of calorie deficiting (taking in fewer calories than you burn) and not the substrate (carbohydrate, protein, or fat) that your body is fueling on. For more on this topic see “Fat-Burning Workouts: Founded in Fact or Fiction?

b) “Insulin makes you fat” - part of Isabel’s theory is the worn out notion that “insulin makes you fat.” This topic requires a blog of its own, but suffice it to say that well-done clinical trials have in fact found NO difference in either weight gain, or loss, in people with insulin resistance (people who have higher blood insulin levels all the time) compared to normal controls.[i],[ii] Nevertheless, this faulty notion still lingers.

c) Metabolic mythology – De Los Rios claims that, “it’s impossible to burn fat without knowing exactly what kind of fats you should be eating,” and that, “the right kind of fat will actually help burn a ridiculous amount of fat off your body.” Actually, eating fat does NOT increase metabolic fat-burning regardless of the type of fat you eat. While eating protein and carbohydrate both lead to increased “burning” of those substrates, the only thing (other than exercise) that increases fat-burning is an energy deficit that signals the body to use less carbohydrate (and therefor more fat) to meet energy needs.[iii]

d) Bad advice on fats and oils – The advice that canola oil is “bad for you” is 100% wrong. Canola is one of the healthiest oils—only flaxseed oil has more omega-3, and only olive oil has a higher level of monounsaturated fatty acids. Canola and olive oil have been the main oils in this nutrition expert’s kitchen since the late 90’s. (A false-internet-rumor that canola oil isn’t safe is still out there in cyberspace.)[iv]

De Los Rios also tells people that “avoid[ing] saturated fats for your health” is a “misconception.” That is a gross misrepresentation of the facts; most saturated fats are best avoided. The science on healthy, and unhealthy, fats and oils is an area that has undergone a lot updating over the past decade. The problem is the topic is quite complex and doesn’t lend itself to generalizations or pat sound-bites. All in all, the dietary advice of De Los Rios is best avoided.

IV. The Bottom Line – While a fair amount of the advice De Los Rios gives out is arguably fair enough (e.g. avoid hydrogenated oils, HFCS, artificial sweeteners, and processed foods in general) how will the average consumer know when her advice is completely off in the weeds? They won’t. De Los Rios claims that her diet is good for menopause, arthritis, fibromyalgia, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, and is even safe for pregnancy. If you fall into any of those situations please look elsewhere for dietary advice. For the rest of you, the only thing BD offers you--that you won’t get on the most popular weight loss sites--is hype. Here's some options (which I have no affiliation with) you might consider: www.sparkpeople.com, and www.livestrong.com are both FREE, and www.ediets.com remains very popular despite being fee-based.

______________________

NOTE: I first became aware of the De Los Rios website, due to a phone call from someone looking for a refund after joining there. They had mistakenly called me because of the similarity of our domains (I registered this domain in 2,000). Since then I’ve also received several emails from people either not getting their recipes, or complaining about not being able to log-in.  In any case, part of what I regularly do is review fad diets and diet books, so of course I checked out the De Los Rios website, leading to this report.

Best,
-Dorene


[i] Zavaroni I, Reaven G, et al. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1998;83:3498-3500

[ii] McLaughlin T, Reaven G, et al. Differences in Insulin Resistance Do Not Predict Weight Loss in Response to Hypocaloric Diets in Healthy Obese Women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1999;84:578-81

[iii] Stubbs RJ, et al. Carbohydrates and Energy Balance. Annals NY Acad Sci 1997;819:44-69

[iv] http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/canola.asp