Rachel had this to say in the "comments" section of her post:
In a footnote to a May 10, 2005, memorandum from the Office of Legal Council, the Bush attorney general’s office argued that restricting the caloric intake of terrorist suspects to 1000 calories a day was medically safe because people in the United States were dieting along those lines voluntarily.
“While detainees subject to dietary manipulation are obviously situated differently from individuals who voluntarily engage in commercial weight-loss programs, we note that widely available commercial weight-loss programs in the United States employ diets of 1000 kcal/day for sustain periods of weeks or longer without requiring medical supervision,” read the footnote. “While we do not equate commercial weight loss programs and this interrogation technique, the fact that these calorie levels are used in the weight-loss programs, in our view, is instructive in evaluating the medical safety of the interrogation technique.”
The overall point is the same for terrorist or woman: Wean their caloric intake down so far to keep them alive, but in a state where they’re body’s defenses kick in and all they think about is food. They will then be more docile and retractable so that you can gain — and sustain — power over them.
And this is, I think, where so many seemingly "average" Americans are likely to miss the point: dieting changes brain chemistry. It's not free of side effects and the potential for harm. Sure, once all of your bones are sticking out, people might tell you to knock it off--but some will also ask you for diet tips.*
People dramatically underestimate the effects that dieting and even mild malnutrition have on the brain. Many women and men cut their calories to levels even below that of the detainees. In the Minnesota Starvation Study, where the men at about 1500 calories each day, they essentially went nuts. They obsessed about food, lost interest in women and sex, became depressed and anxious. One man even chopped some of his fingers off.
Food restricting changes neurochemistry. Some people survive a diet okay. Some get trapped. It's no more safe whether it's "approved" by Jenny Craig, an ex-president, or a doctor. It's no more safe whether it's imposed upon a prisoner or embarked upon by a teen. Dieting can be risky. It changes your brain.
*No joke. The day before I was hospitalized for AN back in 2001, a girl asked me how I did it because she was having "a little trouble with Atkins." I was practically at death's door, with blue fingernails and covered in fur and she wanted to know how I did it.