If it’s a swindle, I’m for this one

Michel Montignac died last Sunday in Annemasse, France. His name is frequently referred to in reverential tones in our household, usually at dinner time. He perfected a low-glycemic diet (despite no scientific training, harrumph his critics) that was the inspiration for the South Beach Diet and the Susanne Somers Diet amongst others.

“All traditional methods of dieting have amounted to a myth as big as Communism, and like Communism, they are destined to collapse,” Mr. Montignac told The New York Times in 1993.

Despite the fact that his diet isn’t actually a diet but a sensible way of life, he still has his critics. “The diet is basically a delightful, joyous swindle,” Dr. Marian Afpfelbaum, a nutrition professor at the Bichat medical school in Paris, said in 1993.

When I hear a nutritionist weigh in with an opinion, I usually tune out. Nutritionists have been telling us for years rubbish such as what my mother heard from one on CBC Radio back in the 1950s. Kool-Aid is a nutritious drink for children, the nutritionist said soothingly. Yes, she actually said that! Nutritionists then went on to contradict themselves for several decades by saying that sugar causes hyperactivity, then recently nutritionists have begun telling us that sugar doesn’t cause hyperactivity. Nutritionists also tell us nonsense that we can get all the nutrients we need just by eating a balanced meal, completely ignoring the fact that food loses much of its nutritive value by being shipped long distances (so do people, BTW), frozen and defrosted, and more importantly, some people need lots more of certain vitamins than the recommended daily amount. Recommended daily amounts are for sissies. You gotta be bold when it comes to your own health.

I put nutritionists in the same category as most psychiatrists – they both are faddists. Since we are all unique in mind and body, we owe it to ourselves to think for ourselves about what works and what doesn’t for us.

Just this week, in fact, I was daydreaming about opening up a chain of restaurants in North America based on the Montignac low-glycemic index and food combining. Patrons at my restaurants and fast food outlets would be refused any food combination that provokes weight gain and diabetes. “You want potatoes or pasta with your meat? Forget it. And don’t even think of ordering fruit after dinner. It’s just not going to happen here.”

R.I.P. Michel Montignac. I haven’t had that bloated feeling since I embarked on your diet.