#6: The Psychology of Dieting

The Psychology of Dieting

This is episode 6 of Evil Sugar Radio. In this episode, we go in-depth on the psychology of dieting. First, we’ll be talking about hidden obstacles that keep all of us from getting off the rollercoaster. Next, we touch on the logical fallacies that diet gurus use, usually unintentionally, sometimes intentionally.

The 3rd section is about the Guru Mentality and then we close out with some ideas on avoiding these pitfalls that we all fall victim to from time to time.

As always, if you’re enjoying the show, please rate us in iTunes.

Episode 6 Overview

Here’s an overview of what we’ll be talking about in this episode:

  • Hidden Obstacles
    • Extremism
    • Diet as identity
    • Sanctifying and demonizing foods
    • Not understanding cause and effect
    • Widespread misinformation on overweight/obesity
    • Unaware of low blood sugar to binge cycles
    • Gullibility
    • Unresolved trauma causing eating disorders
    • Quick fix mentality
  • Logical fallacies of the diet world
    • Confirmation bias
    • In-group bias
    • Attribution bias & no-cebo/placebo
    • Current Moment Bias
    • Straw Man
    • No True Scotsman
    • Projection Bias
    • Bandwagon
    • Proof by verbosity
    • Confusing correlation and causation
  • The Guru mentality & the Guru circle
  • How to avoid these issues

A Bowl of Ice Cream & Some Good Links

The Power of Influence by Robert Cialdini is an excellent primer on marketing.

We joked about Bill Hicks’ take on marketers. Here is the video, but be warned, it’s not safe for work or kids.

This wasn’t mentioned in the show, but Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson’s talk on UFOs is an excellent overview of the psychology people use when encountered with unknown phenomena. Much of this fits into the diet world too.

For more logical fallacies, most of which are used in the diet industry, check out Your Logical Fallacy Is.


  1. What is your opinion of ray peat’s work?

  2. hey Jake, overall I like some of Ray Peat’s work, but we certainly don’t put him on a pedestal or accept everything from him (or anyone).

  3. Yes I agree, I just think that much of what you guys are talking about is similar to Peat’s ideas. For example:

    “Having your own mind, a critical and constructive ability, makes you aware of possibilities and threats. The ‘go along to get along’ attitude represents a denial of your mentality. Recognizing the reasons for the evils and obstacles is an intrinsic part of moving toward your goals. Without a realistic view of where you are, you can’t expect to go anywhere.” – Ray Peat

    ” **Everyday social experiences affect metabolism**, stimulating and supporting some kinds of brain activity, suppressing and punishing others. All of the activities in the child’s environment are educational, in one way or another” – RP

    “In 1927, Russell and his wife, Dora Black, started a school. He later wrote that, although the average student at the school was very bright, an exceptionally bright student was likely to be ostracized by the less bright students. He commented on the harm done to the brightest students by their **social isolation**, probably thinking about his own education in relative isolation. ” – RP

    “**Mental stress**, exercise, estrogen, and serotonin activate both the formation and dissolution of clots.” – RP

    I really enjoy the show by the way, keep up the good work.

  4. This is one of my favorite podcasts ever! These biases should be taught at school – they don’t just affect our weight loss goals but pretty much everything we do in life. They have a major impact. Thanks for discussing this.

    • Hey Maria,
      Absolutely! This stuff is rampant in everything from politics to religion (and unfortunately it’s not considered polite to call people out on these fallacies when it’s their political or religious identity). It’s funny how much the way you see things changes when you understand these simple fallacies.



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