Holistic Health

The Diet Detective

Ryan and I have recently discovered this great new show called I Want to Save Your Life. It’s on WE (Women’s Entertainment Network), but Ryan found it while browsing through health and fitness show titles on the cable guide. The show features nutrition expert Charles Stuart Platkin, who calls himself the Diet Detective. Platkin ambushes unsuspecting subjects who have been nominated by friends and family members for a diet makeover. The ambush usually occurs during a meal, so Platkin can catch them in the act of chowing down on fatty fried foods or calorie-laden quiche.

Upon returning to the subject’s house, Platkin goes through the cupboards and refrigerator, throwing out anything processed or otherwise unhealthy (which, in some cases, is just about everything). He sets some of the subject’s favorite snacks out on the table and lists the calories contained in each one, demonstrating how these small bites add up over the course of the day. In one episode, he made a woman walk around the neighborhood for several miles while carrying a cake, so that she would fully understand how much exercise it would take to burn off the calories in said cake (no, she did not get to eat it when she was finished!).

Platkin also takes his subjects to the gym to show them some basic workouts, and to get some sort of scan (I’m not certain of all the medical technicalities) to show them exactly how much fat is on their bodies. And then it’s off to the grocery store with an assignment to buy ingredients for a healthier version of one of their favorite meals.

The show is a really interesting look at the dietary habits of Americans. So many people don’t think about the effects of their diet on their overall health. Platkin helps his subjects see exactly what their diets are doing to them and how they may even be putting their lives at risk (hence the title of the show).

The show’s Web site has some links to diet tips and nutrition quizzes. And I just checked the air dates, and it looks like there is actually a marathon tomorrow — all eight episodes! So set your DVR and learn what the Diet Detective has to say about eating right.



  1. Ok, those scans are called Bioelectrical impedance. The current hypothesis is that tissues that are high in water content conduct electrical currents with less resistance than those with little water, such as adipose tissue. So these little machines measure the time it takes for the current to go through your body and assume that the faster the return, the higher the fat in your body. The problem with this is that some of us actually drink plenty of water. None of the scans are accurate. The most accurate way to measure body fat is with skin fold calipers. As a personal trainer, my gym uses these, my scans are at least 5-7 percent off. I usually scan out at 23% body fat… but I measure out at around 15-16%… Beware of the gadgets… they are not completely accurate.

    1. Aaaah, thanks for the clarification! (I would have a hard time believing you have 23% body fat!!)

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