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"What Would Jesus Eat?" Christian Diets Gain Followers

There are lots of diet fads out there, most of which tell you to eat certain foods for certain reasons. Well, one food regimen asks the simple question: What Would Jesus Eat?

According to Britain's Daily Mail, Christian diet programs actually started in the United States in the 1980s, but they've now made their way across the pond to England.

The biggest one is "Weigh Down," which has 30,000 groups in the U.S. Started by Christian fundamentalist and nutritionist Gwen Shamblin, the program does not have strict guidelines about what people should eat. Rather, it tries to get to the root of why people overeat, and then fills that hole in peoples' lives with spiritual fulfillment rather than food.

But Dr. Elisabeth Weichselbaum, of the British Nutrition Foundation, is concerned by the lack of specific dietary guidance. "If you follow this diet, you could end up eating nutritionally unsound foods," she warns. "Choosing meals that don't satiate your hunger means you could still consume too much energy."

She is much more impressed by the diet that is actually called "What Would Jesus Eat?" It's author, Dr. Don Colbert, has identified a whole new angle on the Mediterranean lifestyle.

Colbert explains: "Jesus ate primarily natural foods in their natural states - lots of vegetables, especially beans and lentils. He would have eaten wheat bread, fruit, drunk a lot of water and also red wine. And he would only eat meat on special occasions, maybe once a month."

"This diet takes a very sensible approach," says Dr. Weichselbaum. "The staple food would be bread, and food from plant sources, with moderate amounts of proteins."

Yet another program called "Hallelujah Diet" claims "the Lord gave us everything we need in the Garden of Eden: fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds."

Dr Weichselbaum says: "(This) diet is based on the Bible and we should eat only natural foods - then he recommends a diet supplement. Protein seems to be totally missing, which could be damaging to health.

"He also recommends distilled water. In fact, we need the trace minerals in water, as without them you can suffer gastric problems. This diet is lacking a great deal; you'd be hungry the entire time."

Much like Alcoholics Anonymous, most of these diets call for people to put their trust in a higher power, and to share their pain in support groups.

'Both offer a sense of spirituality, and recognize that someone greater than yourself is in charge - it's not all down to you,' said Church of England Reverend Jan Harney.

Experts say the key to any diet program is moderation. And if there is some root cause of why you eat too much, dealing with that will help a great deal. So if it's a Christian diet that helps you achieve your goals, well, then that's just fine.


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