Asian diet plan has low-end price point

Move over Jenny Craig.An entrepreneur from Don Mills, Ont. is hoping to launch a relatively inexpensive diet program that takes its nutritional inspiration from the traditional eating habits of the Orient.Lindley Massiah, founder of The Oriental Weight Loss System, says he...

Move over Jenny Craig.

An entrepreneur from Don Mills, Ont. is hoping to launch a relatively inexpensive diet program that takes its nutritional inspiration from the traditional eating habits of the Orient.

Lindley Massiah, founder of The Oriental Weight Loss System, says he spent the last four years researching the diets of people in Western and Oriental societies to learn why a startlingly large proportion of Westerners are overweight – up to 66% of Americans, according to a recent study – while, in the Orient, being overweight is unusual.

Massiah says what he discovered was no secret.

$99 per program

But he hopes to sell it to diet-hungry consumers for $99 per complete program, which is several hundred dollars less than the cost of the programs sold by Jenny Craig, Nutri/System or Physicians Weight Loss Centres.

Massiah says his research indicated that while Westerners gorge themselves on red meats and other high-fat foods, Orientals typically consume large amounts of grain – 70% to 80% of a traditional Oriental diet consists of grains – complemented by fruits, vegetables, fish and chicken.

Massiah says that although the information he uncovered about the specific makeup of the traditional Oriental diet is readily available, most overweight North Americans know little about it.

Spotting a marketing opportunity, Massiah, 42, sat down and wrote a step-by-step weight-loss manual designed, he says, ‘to make you lose weight slowly and sensibly through a naturally low-fat and starch-based diet.’

Now he is looking for investment capital and a marketing firm, two things he needs before he can get his program in front of consumers.

Infomercial

Massiah, who graduated from Montreal’s Concordia University with a bachelor of arts in International Affairs and a masters degree in Public Policy Analysis, says he hopes to augment the 325-page manual with ‘three or four audio cassettes and, eventually, an infomercial.’

He says the owls is intended to help people lose weight by arming them with dietary knowledge that has worked for entire societies over many centuries.

The Oriental Weight Loss System will encounter competition from a u.s. program, The MacDougall Program, that also promotes a starch-rich diet based on Oriental, or Asian, eating habits.

But Massiah notes The MacDougall Plan makes no mention, in its ads or infomercial, that it is based on the Oriental dietary lifestyle.

Conversely, Massiah says his plan is to heavily promote the Oriental roots of his program.