When The Shangri-La Diet author Seth Roberts, PhD, a professor of psychology, pioneered the role of "flavorless calories" in weight loss, everyone thought he was crazy. Roberts didn't let that affect his research and now a decade later, his diet has quite the success rate.
The Shangri-La Diet says you can lose weight by drinking 1-3 tablespoons of sugar water and/or 1-2 tablespoons of extra-light (not virgin) olive oil twice daily between meals. According to Roberts, the diet curbs your appetite and dramatically lowers your body's "set point" (the weight at which it naturally wants to settle).
His theory: If you eat a variety of familiar, flavor-rich foods, the brain stimulates hunger, raising the set point and causing weight gain. But if you consume foods with little or unfamiliar taste, the brain thinks the body must be starving (why else would you eat tasteless food?), thus lowering the set point and causing weight loss.