ABC Slams Rush’s New Diet: A ‘Quick Fix’ for a ‘Big Guy’

Various Good Morning America reporters knocked Rush Limbaugh’s new diet and weight loss on Monday, with ABC’s Yunji de Nies deriding, "Rush Limbaugh is big. Big voice, big audience, big opinions and simply a big guy. But the radio giant is getting smaller." Skeptical of the diet’s chances for success, she condescended, "Like the host, many in his audience are undoubtedly looking for a quick fix."

In a second segment, ABC medical contributor Dr. Marie Savard predicted failure. Chiding Limbaugh, who has lost 80 pounds through the Quick Weight Loss Center program, for not exercising enough and for a severe cut in calories, she prognosticated, "He's not going to keep that off. Sustainability is the ultimate bottom line. He can't do it with that type of diet."

The plan, which Limbaugh talked about on his show last week, includes a low calorie diet, supplements and appetite suppressants. Co-host Robin Roberts piled on, "So, he may be able to take off the weight this way, but difficult to maintain it." After Roberts noted the popularity of the diet, Savard closed out the segment by, yet again, predicting failure for the talk show host: "It'll work, but in the short run only."

A transcript of the August 3 segment, which aired at 7:37am EDT, follows:

ROBIN ROBERTS: For months, we didn’t know what was going on as the pounds came off. But radio host Rush Limbaugh is now revealing he is down nearly 90 pounds in less than five months. So, how did he do it? Can you do it? Is it safe? ABC News’ Yunji de Nies has the details.

RUSH LIMBAUGH: Would you give me a break?

YUNJI DE NIES: Rush Limbaugh is big. Big voice, big audience, big opinions and simply a big guy. But the radio giant is getting smaller. Thanks to his diet secret.

LIMBAUGH: It's the easiest one and it's the fastest. And I'm 58 years old and never lost weight as fast and almost 90 pounds here since March 9th. Not even six months yet.

DE NIES: That secret? Quick Weight Loss Centers. A Florida-based company that combines a low calorie diet, office visits and supplements, including protein boosters, carb blockers and appetite suppressant.

GRETCHEN HERNANDEZ (Lost 50 pounds): There is a appetite suppressant that you do take which helps curb your appetite so you don't realize that you're hungry.

DE NIES: Gretchen Hernandez lost nearly 50 pounds on the program. Her story was so extraordinary, she won $10,000 in the company's contest.

HERNANDEZ: It's just a different life. It makes you feel so much better about yourself. You have so much more self-esteem and confidence in yourself.

DE NIES: Doctors say diets like this do work but often the weight loss doesn't last. That’s because to maintain it you, essentially need to stay on the diet forever. Limbaugh says he's just one pound away from his goal of 210 pounds, even when he reaches it, he's not stopping.

LIMBAUGH: I have no desire to stop it. In fact, I might even stay on this long enough that people think I have a deadly disease. What, are you sick or something?

DE NIES: Hours after Limbaugh revealed his secret weight loss weapon, the company's name became the fastest rising search on Google. Like the host, many in his audience are undoubtedly looking for a quick fix. For Good Morning America, Yunji de Nies, ABC News.

ROBERTS: Joining us now to talk about Rush's diet is GMA medical contributor Dr. Marie Savard. First of all, let me read a statement from the folks at Quick Weight Loss Center. They say "A comprehensive approach to weight loss must include a maintenance program in order to ensure long-term benefits and maintenance is a part of all of our programs." What is your take on this diet?

MARIE SAVARD: This diet is not- is really no different than any other quick weight loss diets. But, first of all, I do applaud him for making the attempt. I call it the four Ss. But in fact, what we're talking about first is starvation. You have to lose- to lose that much weight- and he talked about losing as much as a pound a day, which is not safe- you need to severely cut your calories. Which means your in the starvation mode, lowers your metabolism, has potentially dangerous health effects including losing not only fat, but lean muscle mass. Second, the notion of structure and he talks a lot about the structure. It means limited choices in the diet and as he described, he wasn't allowed to have two proteins together like a chicken and beef. On the other hand he contradicts it by saying for breakfast I hd both milk and an egg product. So, structure helps people but it's limited. And that’s the opposite of what we need to do in the long term.

ROBERTS: How about supplements? Usually in diets like this there's a little something extra?

SAVARD: Third S. Supplements. Both herbal supplements and vitamins, along with food supplements in this diet. So, the herbal supplements that they're promoting and make a big point of saying not Ephedra, not the high stimulant ones, but it does have Hoodia, something that’s been- a South African herb that’s been reported to give you a sense of fullness. Also, vitamins, mineral, fish, food supplements, things like shakes and highly processed powders you kind of mix into liquids. So, supplements are costly. That's the third factor and fourth, a good thing is support. So, if you go in, have personalized counseling, you can do it online. That fourth S is really important.

ROBERTS: In any kind of program hat fourth S in really important. Also, being a guy, men we know lose weight a little bit bet better, a little quicker than women. It's not fair, but it happen, as well.

SAVARD: It's true. But, he is still losing up to a pound a week -- I mean, a pound a day which is a lot of weight loss which is unsafe. He's not going to keep that off. Sustainability is the ultimate bottom line. He can't do it with that type of diet. What is key and is missing is exercise. He admits that he golfs but otherwise does not exercise. That's the foundation. It builds muscle mass. That's what works. It’s kind of a lifestyle pill that we don't want to swallow.

ROBERTS: So, he may be able to take off the weight this way, but difficult to maintain it. Though they say maintenance is part of their program, as well.

SAVARD: That's true. But, you need to learn how to eat well and eat sort of broad-based healthy foods and not these limited types of foods that require a lot of supplements.

ROBERTS: Slow and steady wins the race.

SAVARD: That's right.

ROBERTS: All right, but a lot of people are asking about this new quick weight loss program.

SAVARD: It'll work, but in the short run only.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org