A friend of mine sent me a link today to what might be the single most ridiculous food fad idea that’s come across my laptop. In fact, I think it might be sillier than the Eat Right for your Blood Type crap that people still buy. The only thing that saves this one is that it’s written somewhat tongue in cheek.

Simon Doonan is a writer for Slate.com and a general provocateur. He has written a book called “Gay Men Don’t Get Fat”. Um. Totally wrong. I’ve known all sorts of gay men who were at the very least quite chubby. Admittedly, they have tended to obsess about their body image like women, and have done all sorts of crazy crash diets. But still, they do exist.

Mr. Doonan’s premise is that gay men eat less meaty, fatty foods. Sushi, for example, is a gay man food. Mexican is very hetero. No avocado – way too fatty. Gay chips are baked, hetero chips are deep fried.  His tongue in cheek (thank heavens) concept is that people need to find a balance between gay eating and hetero eating.

Okay, if it weren’t for that caveat, I’d be crankier. Clearly this is intended as a humor book. Right? Right. It must be. Amazon classifies it as a humor book.

The thing that kills me though is that the tongue in cheek concept – balancing fatty and non-fatty foods, is actually probably quite right. So, this is another book about how to eat in moderation, about making better food choices. That’s good, right? That’s smart?

So why does the gay man angle make me so mad? Because it’s another stereotype related to obesity. People of all types are fat. People who are black, white, asian, aboriginal, tall, short, fit, unfit, single, married, divorced, widowed, employed, unemployed, high income and low, straight, gay, and transgendered. You can be skinny and fat (you know, those people who are skinny everywhere but with weird pockets of fat?). I just… it enrages me that people apply stereotypes to obesity. I think we can safely say that in this world, there are a lot of fat people. And they come from all walks of life.

Gay men get fat. Parisian women get fat. That dude who was the high school football star with the smoking hot bod? He got fat. He liked beer a little too much and thinks that steak is the only meal he can cook. Jessica Alba lost her (minimal) baby weight by getting all her food delivered (all 1200 calories of it, which is the lowest calories I think you can plan for without being medically supervised) and working out pretty much immediately.

There’s a line in the  movie Notting Hill which is a total classic. The character played by Julia Roberts (who’s portraying a movie star) says that she’s been hungry since she was 18 years old because she’s constantly on a diet.

Everybody gets fat. And everybody has to work at it to maintain or lose weight in today’s world. It is too easy to eat out, and when you do, the food you get is, well, loaded with calories. We’re all in meetings or sitting at a desk, or in a job where you need to ask permission to pee, let alone take a break where you could assemble a healthy snack. So we eat snack cakes and chocolate bars and bags of chips. Pretzels start to look healthy because they’re not fried, but they’re still 400 calories a bag.

Food fads suck. They suck because they prey on people who want an easy fix. There is nothing easy about weight. Everyone hits a wall at some point. I’m picking on Mr Noonan because his is the latest title that I’ve seen, but it could be any number of other authors whose “plans” are really nothing short of ridiculous.

I have a challenge for the publishing industry: Get some ethics. Put the nutritional info on all the recipes you publish. Put some guidelines in all your cookbooks for what are reasonable calorie intakes. Get your chefs to make good food that doesn’t include so much …. goodness. And don’t make up a jazzy title that you know is nothing but crap. How about this for a title: The Battle For Your Life? Because that’s what it is.

Challenge issued.

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