The Rotation Diet

THE ROTATION DIET, devised by Martin Katahn, psychologist and director of the Vanderbilt University Weight Management Program, asks the dieter to be perfect for only three weeks at a time. Quick weight loss of up to a pound a day can be achieved for women by consuming 600 calories for the first three days (men start on 1200 calories) and finishing the first week at 900 calories (men at 1500 calories). Women increase to 1200 calories the second week (men to 1800) and finish the rotation by returning to the pattern of the first week. Then the dieting stops, to be resumed at the dieter’s discretion in a week or a month. Increased physical activity continues during this maintenance phase.

The author contends that low calorie diets sustained for more than three weeks leave the dieter vulnerable to a lowered metabolic rate. This explains the rebound effect some dieters experience when they discover that they gain faster with less food than before the diet. Katahn claims that his approach may actually increase the metabolic rate in some people, enabling them to eat more while still maintaining their new weight. Physical activity is the reason--a theme treated more extensively in BEYOND DIET, his 1984 book.

Menu plans are included, as are recipes and suggestions for handling various situations while on the rotation. While the American Dietetic Association is critical of most diet books on the market right now (USA TODAY, MAY 29, 1986), the reasons for the immediate popularity of the rotation plan are apparent. The author is intelligent, experienced, and empathetic, and he has legitimate research to back up his suggestions.