There was a nice profile of the American writer Barbara Ehrenreich in Monday's Guardian. Her most important work is her writing and campaigning on the exploitation of the low paid in the US. However, I was particularly taken by her comments on diet guru, Jane Brody.
As well as questioning the health benefits of Brody's principles, Ehrenreich calls them a way of enabling the well-off to feel virtuous merely by indulging their own narcissism. "The low-fat diet has been the hair shirt under the fur coat - the daily deprivation that offsets the endless greed."
"The hair shirt under the fur coat" is a wonderful sound bite and will be added to my catalogue of anti-diet sentiment. It is a beautiful way of encapsulating the moral smugness of a particular type of dieter. What it does do, however, is to ignore the real damage done, not by self-righteousness, but by self-loathing and this is the main emotion that drives the plump into continuous yo-yo dieting. It is this product of the social bias against fat people that makes diet gurus not only smug, but rich.