Making money out of losing pounds: The market that a former Chancellor will confront

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Making money out of losing pounds: The market that a former Chancellor will confront



Amount sold

Big idea

Medical reaction

Audrey Eyton

May 1982

1.9 million in the UK. On sale for pounds 4.99

If you eat more fibre you can eat more food, but stay thin. The diet also claimed weight could be lost quicker because eating more fibre means the body does not have a chance to absorb all the calories from the food.

Criticised by some who said the levels of fibre Eyton recommended were too high. Medical experts say it is not proven that fibre helps to reduce the appetite, but general principle of a high-fibre, low-fat diet generally agreed to be sound. Flatulence was a problem for some people.

Kathryn Marsden


With its predecessor 'The Food Combining Diet' has sold over 1m copies worldwide. pounds 4.99

Update of the Hay diet pioneered in the Sixties. Advocates principle that starches and proteins do not mix. Food will be digested more efficiently and, in theory, you will lose weight. Devotees include the Duchess of York and Helen Mirren.

Hostile. The medical establishment rubbished Marsden's theory that the body could not digest starch and protein at the same time, saying that many foods contain both elements. They said there was no scientific proof to back up her theory.

Rosemary Conley


More than 2m worldwide. pounds 4.99

Combined a 'miracle eating plan' with regular exercise to tone specific parts of the body. Advertises itself as 'not a fad diet'. Claims that an average 7.6cm would disappear from the dieter's waist and hips, and 5.1cm from each thigh.

Not bad for general weight loss, but experts were sceptical that we could actually reduce fat levels from specific areas of our body without reducing the general level of fat first.

Michael van Straten

January 1994

18,000 in the UK. pounds 9.99

A collection of different diets for people of different shapes and sizes, including seasonal diets for differing types of weight loss. It advocates watching intake of sugar and flour but highlights the importance of a healthy balanced diet for weight loss.

A healthy approach to balanced weight loss was welcomed by some experts, but the danger of crash-dieting was seen as a flaw.

Michel Montignac


More than 3m worldwide. pounds 11.99

The author, a French chef, blames fatness on a disorganised way of eating. Bans 'bad carbohydrates' like potatoes and sugar, but not red wine, chocolate, cream, meat and eggs. Bread or fruit with meals 'upset the digestive process'.

Another branch of the food combining theory which experts have criticised. They claim a balanced diet is much more important than watching food combinations.

Harvey and Marilyn Diamond


More than 4m worldwide. pounds 5.99

Shows you how to exploit your body's instinct for food and teaches you how to eat in accordance with your natural digestive cycles. No calorie counting and eat whatever you like - it's just a question of when you eat and in what combination.

Encourages a slower weight loss, which is favoured by dieticians, and attempts to change dieters to a healthier lifestyle, eating fresh produce. Authors claim it is a nutritionally balanced diet.