Take bored consumers, add fresh features to an old standby, and toss in some media attention (the Kate Middleton / royal wedding hoopla would seem to qualify). Whether it's a skirt or a diet, the results are the same -- fad.
This time around, the Dukan diet is the must-have of the season. And small wonder. That whole Middleton thing aside, the diet promises weight loss without hunger. It's French, which seems to give it some chic credibility. And the stodgy eat-a-balanced-diet crowd dismisses it out of hand.
As the American Heart Assn. noted in the journal Circulation: "High-protein diets typically offer wide latitude in protein food choices, are restrictive in other food choices (mainly carbohydrates), and provide structured eating plans. They also often promote misconceptions about carbohydrates, insulin resistance, ketosis, and fat burning as mechanisms of action for weight loss. Although these diets may not be harmful for most healthy people for a short period of time, there are no long-term scientific studies to support their overall efficacy and safety."
That was a statement published in 2001, before the Dukan diet hit the scene. And here's the current American Heart Assn. statement on high-protein diets. It mentions Atkins, Zone, Protein Power, Sugar Busters and Stillman. There's no Dukan reference. There may never be.
Dieters know how long a weight loss fad is likely to be around.
They also know that skirts that drag the ground when they walk will be tossed before long. As was the micro-mini. And that pencil look. And still they buy.
Of course, they do. "Two inches above the knee" just doesn't satisfy some people.
But perhaps next season, we'll get a diet that won't cause hunger pains or bad breath.