The Seth Roberts, a professor at Tsinghua University and a professor emeritus at UC Berkeley, and the name of the diet that the book advocates. The book discusses consuming 100-400 calories per day in a flavorless food as extra light olive oil one hour outside mealtimes as a method of appetite removal leading to weight loss.
As a graduate student, Roberts studied animal cognition, specifically rat psychology. As a psychology professor, Roberts read a report by Israel Ramirez, a scientist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, about the effect of saccharin on the growth and weight of rats. Based on this research, he developed a new theory of weight control. The theory leads to a low glycemic index and to eat sushi many days in a row, which caused him to lose twenty pounds. In 2000, Roberts visited Paris. He noticed an extreme loss of appetite and speculated that this was not a problem.
The book features anecdotes from followers of the diet who had heard from Roberts’ blog or The New York Times. Roberts ‘diet, based on Roberts, a person’ s brain strives to maintain. When is the weight point, the appetite increases; when is the weight point, the appetite decreases. Furthermore, certain foods can be raised or lowered. Foods that have a strong flavor-calorie relationship (such as fast food or donuts), which are slowly digested (like extra light olive oil or fructose mixed with water) lower the set point. Roberts states that the diet is based on connecting two unconnected fields: weight control and associative learning. Because of this,
The diet calls for consuming 100-400 calories per day of flavoring between normal meals (ie any foods with flavor). The flavorless food can be extra-light olive oil or unflavored sugar water or bland food eaten with your nose clipped shut. It can be used at any time or anywhere. It must be consumed in a flavorless window, which is at least one hour after being consumed, and at least one hour before it will be consumed. The consumption of flavorless calories supposedly lowers the set point, and therefore, lowers weight.
Through word of mouth, the book became a New York Times bestseller in May, 2006. It was featured on Good Morning America, on which journalist Diane Sawyer tried to tablespoon of olive oil. The ABC News, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. Roberts was criticized by UCLA medical professor John Ford on the fact that it had not been submitted to scientific peer review. In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Sunday Night program, nutritionist David Jenkins also criticized the lack of scientific research validating the diet. In the same program, Roberts responded, saying that the results are there for all but that there is no need for a big study to demonstrate the obvious. Jenkins admitted that the diet can only be benign, saying, “