Home > Expert Blogs > Where Science Meets Sin  
Dr. Abby Aronowitz, Ph.D. President, DAA, Inc., is a psychologist, speaker and coach, who completed work at Columbia University. She holds two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. Previously a consultant to Weight Watchers International, Dr. Abby has been featured on WebMD.com and AOL Diet and Fitness. She is a member of the American Psychological Association and Mensa. And she is author of “Your Final Diet.”

» Meet Dr. Abby Aronowitz
» Save Author as Favorite
» See all DoctorAbby's Posts

Recent Posts

» The Road to Being Booty-ful
» Can Exercise Make You Gain Weight?
» Why You Can't Bowl Over Those Last 10 lbs.
» Taking The Scare Out of Candy!
» Dear Mrs. Obama...


» November 2008
» October 2008
» September 2008
» August 2008
» July 2008
» June 2008

Where Science Meets Sin
by Dr. Abby Aronowitz, Ph.D.

Subscribe to this feed Subscribe

Have you heard of “The Bead Diet?” According to their website, www.accuweight.com, people lose 15 pounds a month, with most people losing more.

This three part program includes applying pressure to tiny beads behind the ear (acupressure), performing “Chi Gong Breathing,” and a crazy food plan.

Acupressure is designed to trick the body into feeling full, by creating balance through the hypothalamus. This part of the brain governs fullness and the amount of food eaten.

“Chi Gong Breathing” is supposed to harness the life force, “chi,” to improve health and longevity, and increase feelings of peace and harmony. They also claim that it enhances energy levels, attention, concentration, and mental alertness.

Next comes the food. There is no specific information on the site, but I’ve been told that for two days you eat milk products, and for two days fruits and veggies. The site promotes lots of artificial sweetener. Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The nutritional balance of the food, along with acupressure, supposedly tricks the body to ignore the reduction of calories. This prevents starvation mode. The body uses stored fat for energy, resulting in weight loss and amazing medical results. If you exercise and feel faint, they suggest a bit of honey in water, and a sugar-free electrolyte drink if necessary.

They encourage eating between noon and 6PM because the body needs nutrition during those hours. Eating outside those hours might cause the body “to cannibalize itself using not only fat, but muscle, organ mass and negatively affect your metabolism.” YOWZA!

Finally, after losing all the weight you want, they promise maintenance within 3-5 pounds of goal, apparently your new set point.

Does this sound too good to be true? Even if everything goes according to plan, the claim of maintaining that level of success sounds preposterous. It would be more believable if they provided some decent research confirming this. After all, they have been operating for 11+ years, yet there is not a single follow-up study on their website.

The only study cited followed 16 subjects on the plan for 13 weeks. They lost an average of 46 pounds. Since when is sixteen subjects considered strong science, especially without any follow-up???

We all know that most people can lose weight on any fad diet, but few people can keep it off without developing an eating disorder; ie. preoccupation with food and weight. I believe the two part system of dieting to lose weight, and then trying to maintain the loss, is what has failed. There needs to be one way of living, which strives towards health and fitness.

Click here for a FREE copy of Dr. Abby's book, Your Final Diet.

@ 4:55pm ET on March 23, 2011 I was on this program and it really did work. I lost 25lbs. in six weeks. However, like most diets, I eventually gained the weight back. If I had to say one good thing about this diet, it would be the acupressure aspect of the program. The beads help curb your appetite and seem to rev up your metabolism. My husband lost 30 lbs. in the same time frame and has kept it off. But he's a guy and peeling weight off has never been a problem for him. My friend took off 45 lbs. in 10 weeks so I will say, it's impressive. But she gained most of it back too. The diet itself is way to radical...a bit like hell...It's basically starvation. After 2 milk days, you're ready to eat the walls of your house and everyone ends up eating about 5,000 pounds of salad between 12:00 and 6:00 on the third and forth days. I would not recommend the diet aspect of the program because I think it's way too dangerous. There's little to no protein and the artificial sweetners are horrible for you too. So we came up with an alternate spin. Do the acupressure part and go on an up and down diet. There's nothing wrong with fasting or low cal days here and there either. You can buy the small beads online and stick them behind your ears about 1/4 inch out from the very back of the ear along the ridge of the bone. Start the beads at the center of the ear. Rotate them for a half min or so every other hour while you're awake and put new ones on once a week in a different spot along the ridge about 1/4 from the former spot. If you get hungry, rotate the beads. Drink water and exercise. The acupressure beads really help with hunger. Even the Mayo clinic admits that acupressure works and the Asian cultures have been using acupressure and acupunture for thousands of years.
@ 11:46pm ET on March 23, 2011 Thank you for the thoughtful and helpful comment! Dr. Abby
@ 12:41pm ET on May 15, 2011 After my friend's success and her prompting, I decided to try the bead diet 3 years ago and I have had MAJOR PROBLEMS ever since. Doing this diet is probably the biggest mistake I have ever made in my life. I looked great for the week I was on it and followed the protocol for two more weeks to get off of it because I was not feeling well. In particular my pleasant morning disposition had changed. I have had about 30 problems from doing this diet. I would say I am about 50% better after 3 years. Before the diet I had no health issues and was feeling great, because of it I have some sort of struggle daily. Here's a short list of what happened to my health. My regular menstrual periods stopped and I was thrown in to menopause about 5 years early. I have major hot flashes. I gained 50 pounds, and to date, have only been able to lose 15. My skin started tearing under the surface. My firm tissue started sagging i.e. my breasts and face dropped. I started getting arthritis. I went to doctors for 2 years straight and basically got no help. They simply did not know what to do with my symptoms. After much research trying to figure out what happened to me, I decided to look in to hormone replacement. Estrogen was the only thing that helped. The Bead Diet regulates the hypothalamus. I learned about a week ago that estrogen and the hypothalamus are closely connected. I recommend people stay from any diet messing with the hypothalamus and brain chemicals. I would simply say...stay away from the bead diet...one size diet does not fit all. Though I don’t have one…I wouldn't wish my experience on my worst enemy. I hope this helps others…IT”S NOT WORTH IT.
@ 9:18pm ET on May 15, 2011 Dear CompleteYourLog1n,

Thank you very much for posting. I am soooo sorry to hear of your awful experience with the Bead Diet. This story reinforces my view that health is more about how you live your life, than what you weigh. Hope you are able to move towards living healthfully, with tips offered on my blog and in my book about "health at every size, naturally."

All best,

Dr. Abby!
@ 2:43pm ET on October 4, 2011 I tried this diet two years ago and just started to put back the weight now. It is a great diet. You lose weight fast and it stays off a very long time even after you start to eat normal food. It is two days of milk and two days of veggies. no vineger or wine allowed during diet. The veggie days are sooooooooo good. I felt terrific, slept great, had lots of energy. Just started it again this week as I need to trim down 10 pounds which should happen in 7 to 10 days. Love it!
@ 1:52am ET on October 14, 2011 This diet definitely works like magic. I lost 17lbs my first two weeks. After that, the weight coming off slowed down a little but in total, I lost about 65lbs in 4 months. But there are many downfalls to this diet ...

The orientation itself cost me 75$. After that, they want you to come in every 9 days to change the beads and to get weighed in, and you pay 50$ each visit.

I did a little experiment on this diet though. I wanted to see if it would work WITHOUT THE BEADS. And I have to say, after not putting those beads on, not only did I save money, but I still kept burning off the weight.

I mean, you're barely eating, so regardless, whether you get these beads or not, you're going to lose weight.

I wouldn't recommend this diet for people though. I know I will never put myself back on it again ... Yes it works, yes you lose weight fast, but there's a price you have to pay.

The first few days you're cranky, because you're hungry and your body is not use to you not giving it food. After a while though, even a few weeks later, you're still cranky because you find yourself not being able to eat like a normal human being. Once you start losing weight and you physically see results, you become obsessed, especially if you lose it fast.

With my experience, I became very obsessed with this diet because I was just so happy with the compliments I was receiving. However, I found myself heading towards an eating disorder. I woke up thinking about how many pounds I lost and I went to bed thinking about weighing myself the next morning. I then started adding exercise into this diet (which is optional; the doctor said you can take a half hour walk every other day; if you wanted to lose more) So what did I do? I started jogging twice everyday.

I was always light-headed (even before the exercising began).My body was lacking a lot of vitamins from other foods and I felt my body was shutting down. After just 3 weeks, I was already starting to take naps, I started looking pale and I was always tired.

This diet isn't as amazing as it sounds. You lose weight fast but you also lose yourself along the way so be careful!

I definitely just recommend people eat healthier, add more vegetables into your meals, the more colors you see, the healthier it is. Drink lots of water, NOT SODA. Get a decent amount of sleep and some exercise and you will lose the weight off the healthier way! Most importantly, never look at your lifestyle changes as a "diet". No one likes diets. Look at it as a new experience/journey. It'll be easier, I promise!

Hope this was helpful!
@ 12:14am ET on October 15, 2011 Thanks for posting!

Arlenec, your persistence is admirable! However, my concern is that you are starting to yo-yo diet, which can be problematic. My work helps people to find one way of living that is healthy and sustainable; not a diet to go on and off, gaining and losing weight.

Terry08, your post began with "This diet definitely works like magic" After reading the rest of your post, I'm convinced it's black magic!
@ 2:08am ET on April 9, 2012 I would like to relay my experience with THE BEAD DIET. I was overweight for several years. When I say that I tried nearly every diet on the planet, it isn’t an exaggeration. My blood pressure was horrendous – I knew when it was elevated to a dangerous level because I could hear it pounding in my ears. My arteries were clogged and arthritis was giving me untold pain in my feet, ankles, knees and neck. I was suffering from debilitating headaches. I tended toward plumpness my whole life, but could always lose weight quickly when needed until I turned about 45. After that, NOTHING worked for me!

I spent several years trying every new diet, ‘formula’, ‘breakthrough’, and fad. The amount of time and money that I wasted on all of these is insurmountable. Last year a friend of mine found out about THE BEAD DIET from a friend of hers who lost over 100 pounds in about 6 months and she got the information. She wanted me to come on the diet with her. I thought I’d wait and see how she did first. She is the type that also tried anything that came along, but isn’t the ‘stick to it’ type. I couldn’t believe the results she was getting so I did jump on board. THE BEAD DIET does not advertise, it works on ‘word of mouth’ and is very clear up front that the diet is not for everyone.

People gripe about the cost. It was less expensive than all of the other ‘programs’ that I tried, and the amount of money that one saves on food in a week totally covers the cost! Within 3 months I lost over 65 pounds. My blood pressure and cholesterol normalized and my arthritis pain virtually disappeared. I have a medical background and do life coaching, energy and hands on healing. I am very tuned into what is working well with my body, and this diet was the answer to my prayers. In addition to looking great, I haven’t felt so well in years! My energy increased dramatically, my skin cleared up and took on a glow and all of my friends say I look 20 years younger.

I have since recommended it to several friends, one of whom lost 70 pounds in exactly 2 months (to the day) and also experienced normalization of blood pressure (even higher than mine had been), and a complete reversal of a severe arthritic affliction. I don’t know what the deal is with the person who attributes all of her horrendous health problems to being on the diet for one week, three years ago, but would strongly recommend that they look elsewhere for the cause of their trouble.

I went off the diet for several months due to some family emergencies and a crazy schedule with a lot of travelling. I had not gone through the ‘going off’ protocol which is designed to re-set the body’s ‘fatostat’ – my word. When properly exited, the diet is designed to‘re-set’ the body’s ‘ideal’ weight to the new lower amount. If this is not done, the body will try to get back to its former weight. That is why people who go off diets often gain all of the weight back.

Although I had not gone through the going off protocol, I only gained back about 15 pounds in 5 months, and I ate everything. I started the program again with another friend and lost 11 pounds the first week. I don’t have far to go till I reach my ideal weight, and I thank God every day for THE BEAD DIET. I will re-set my ‘fatostat’ and go off properly this time around! Although not for everyone, I would recommend this diet to anyone who has over 50 pounds to lose and has tried ‘everything’.
@ 11:44am ET on September 18, 2012 I have had a lifetime of weight-issues, since I was a little girl. A few years ago, someone told me about The Bead Diet. I was super excited afte seeing this woman's results.
I will tell you that NOTHING has EVER worked for me the way this did. Not Weight Watcher, Jenny Craig, NutraSystem, etc. You named it, I tried it; Stacker, Metabolife, Phen-Fen, etc. NOTHING.
I will admit, the first week was the hardest, I lost 8 lbs. Therafter, I didn't loose as much as other people but I was loosing an average of 4-5 lbs a week, with alot more inches that pounds coming off. I felt GREAT!
I will tell you that if you do not go through the process and transition off the diet the way you're supposed to, you will gain the weight back.
"Eating outside those hours might cause the body “to cannibalize itself using not only fat, but muscle, organ mass and negatively affect your metabolism.” THIS IS JUST NOT TRUE. I have NEVER heard Dr. Schwartz say that and I've sat through many many first-time meetings. (You have to because he is sometimes wrapping up as you stand in line to get your beads changed).
But, like another poster said, this diet is not for everyone. It is a chemical diet and any variation of what he gives you will affect you in different, sometimes negative, ways.
And BTW, while there sin't the amount of research you would like to see, I believe that research results lies in the countless success stories. The ratio of success stories far outweigh the non-success stories. Again, ask the non-successors if they followed it and transitioned the way they were supposed to. Probably not.
Don't knock it till you try it Dr. A.

Best of luck to you.
@ 3:25am ET on January 8, 2013 I was on the bead diet 2 years ago. I lost 20 pounds in 2 weeks, and 36 pounds in 4 weeks. However I ended up in the hospital for 7 days at that point. I had been passing out frquently. My blood pressure had dropped to a dangerous level, and could not be brought up . I ended up having adreanal insufficiency. I was forced off the diet, and on medications for several weeks to get my adreanal glands functioning correctly again. Of couse I gained the weight back. :(.
@ 12:42am ET on January 9, 2013 Thanks for posting, duanajo. It is devastating to her about your medical problems, which physicians attributed to the Bead Diet. I'm relieved to hear that you healed, but sorry that you regained the weight. What a friggin' roller coaster!
@ 3:53pm ET on January 14, 2013 I went on the bead diet over 3 years ago with a local chiropractor. I agree that since i have been in full menopause no other diet worked for me. this is the magic pill! i have stayed a size 4 for over 3 years. and i only go up when i totally cheat! then i go up maybe 6 lbs but take it off it 2 weeks. i think its the best diet ever, and i feel great when im on it! also skin looks better
@ 6:11pm ET on April 8, 2013 For detailed and accurate information about the program, please feel free to listen to our FREE orientation available 24/7 at www.accuweight.com/orientation.
Also feel free to contact us at info@accuweight.com and we would be happy to answer any specific questions you may have.
To clarify one important thing - the body is in total health when the program is followed as instructed (that includes NO ketosis). Imbalances reported to us are dealt with directly as sometimes the program must be adjusted to accommodate pre-existing medical conditions.
The types of health issues described here are typically caused by pre-existing conditions not reported to us and/or the client not seeking physician advice for adjusting medications (we do not provide medical services).
The thousands of success stories speak for themselves.
Our goal is simple - to help people lose weight quickly and maintain their new weight in total health.
Barbara Schwartz
Accu Weight-Loss "The Bead Diet"
@ 12:39pm ET on April 25, 2013 I am currently on the bead diet and today is my 4th day. I must say it sucks but I am losing weight BUT then who would not on a very very low food intake. I can't wait for this to be over and NO I will not recommend it for anyone. Since I have paid $180 something I must make sure that it works and I will follow to the "T" so that I get my money's worth.

As I siad earlier...I will not recommend this to any of my friends...perhaps to an enemy. I don't feel miserable or cranky but rather frustrated with the food allowed and missed my fish and other seafood.

Once I finished the duration of my 3 sets of bead which will be on May 18, I will go to Mediweight loss. Counting the days!!
@ 6:47pm ET on August 21, 2013 Wow, all the negativity about the bead diet. I am so sad to hear it! Let's face it everyone, every diet is a yo yo diet if you don't stick to it! I found the bead diet in 2008. I went from 200 lbs to 118 lbs (way to thin) and was estatic! It took me 5 months and I never felt better, especially for a 45 year old that lived on Weight Watches her entire life and always went up and down as well. After I finished the bead diet, I followed their recommended maint. program and I kept the weight off for years. I then quit smoking and gained about 25 lbs by eating everything in site. Well, of course I gained weight eating pop tarts and dove chocolates! But now, I am back on the bead and have already lost 8 lbs in the first week. I always feel great on this diet! Hard? Of course its hard! Its like bootcamp for dieters! But for those motivated by weight loss, you can't beat it. And if you stay on the plans recommended eating program after completion (sort of like Weight Watchers Mainten. program) then you will not gain it back! I love Accuweight Loss!
@ 3:30pm ET on October 25, 2013 Don't confuse the "bead diet" with acupressure done with beads primarily for weight loss. The "bead diet" is very, very restrictive and very low in calories and also involves acupressure to the ear with beads. I am sure that it is not safe over the long haul and anyone would loose weight on it because you eat almost nothing.

But acupressure done for weight loss is effective. I am down six pounds this month and the only change I have made is acupuncture and acupressure. It really does dramatically curb your appetite. I strongly recommend it but only if done by a certified acupuncturist.
Post a Comment

McAfee SECURE sites help keep you safe from identity theft, credit card fraud, spyware, spam, viruses and online scams