From 2009, Eliezer Yudkowsky discusses the Shangri-La Diet, a type of diet that involves the added consumption of oil:
Any serious look into the Shangri-La diet would mean you wouldn't make this statement. Yes, oil was often used. I used walnut oil for the longest time, but I know what it is really about. What is important is that you have some sort of calories introduced into your body without flavor. So it is easy to fill a shot glass with oil, hold your nose and achieve this.
When I first tried this, Seth was on flax seed oil- but flax seed oil did not work well with my body at the time. Since I actually read what Seth wrote, I knew it wasn't the oil per se- but some calories with no flavor.
You can think of it as signal versus payload. Calories are the payload. If they get into the body with no signal, perhaps even just an unreliable signal, appetite gets regulated down. Think about processed food- you eat the thing- you taste the thing, and the body receives the calories. In a processed food environment, the signal (the flavor) is an extremely accurate predictor to the body as to how many calories are going to be there. This leads to appetite increasing and more weight gain.
So, before I found I could tolerate walnut oil, I tried various things. One of the most effective, in my opinion, was to roast chicken breast in the oven, put a nose clip on, eat it, and then rinse my mouth out with water before taking the nose clip off. It was immediately effective, as it was difficult to finish a 4oz portion. But it was also effective over the course of the day. I'd feel full much faster when eating tasty meals that I wanted to eat, and I'd have to stop.
Now, when this appetite suppression kicked in, paleo was also becoming popular, and here I was suddenly capable of thinking about what I should eat, rather than getting the hungries and cramming whatever down my pie hole. So I added a low carb, paleo approach along with SLD.
I lost over a hundred pounds and I've mostly kept it off. I say mostly, because after all of this I decided to go into the gym and try to gain muscle. I dieted down below my ideal weight- at least what I think my ideal weight is after some research.
I also stopped SLD. At the time, walnut oil seemed like a pretty healthy thing, but I'm now a little leery of it. I could try the chicken again, but I'm not a fan of eating cardboard, and although I'm a few pounds heavier than my ideal weight- I am within striking distance. Probably shouldn't have listened to those 'bulking' arguments.
So, why does it not work for Eliezer Yudkowsky? Well, there is this small possibility it doesn't work for some people. But I've watched people who, after hearing my story, tried it.
The first potential snag is, do you get it? Are you actively trying to get calories in without tasting anything? If I remember correctly, I was getting 240 calories from walnut oil in the morning, and that was enough for strong appetite suppression throughout the day. But if you are just chugging oil normally, and tasting it, it's not going to work.
The second snag comes after getting appetite suppression. What are you eating the rest of the day? This also happens with low carb- you can beat these protocols that help you lose weight by poor food choices. And some of these choices are allegedly 'healthy'. Nuts are supposed to be healthy, but since they are mostly fat, you can put many calories down your gullet.
This is reminding me there's another thing I did- I used Wolfram Alpha make an educated guess about my muscle mass and ate 1g of protein per pound of lean muscle mass. And I was using mostly meat. This may have an appetite suppressing quality all to itself, because if you prioritize eating enough meat to reach that goal- well, you don't feel very hungry.
So, I can say the Shangri-la Diet created strong appetite suppression in me. I can also say it is the height of superficiality to call it an 'oil diet.' Some people would just put a nose-clip on and eat a normal meal, and I certainly found it to work very well with chicken. And I can say there are probably thousands if not millions of academics who deserve a nasty blog post being done about them. Seth Roberts is not one of those academics. Frankly, even if SLD doesn't work for you, his story is still worth looking into. He lost his appetite in Paris, not due to oil, but because he drank some sodas- flavors he was not familiar with. It stood out to him because he was intent on eating a lot of stuff in Paris, and found he couldn't. But he also had the intellect to correlate what he was experiencing with some of the research he had read.
So, he came up with a hypothesis and it worked for a lot of us. He actually came up with many hypotheses- SLD was just the one most popularized. He was one of the few good academics.