And now, the Kangaroo Diet

Kangaroo Brands Inc. is marketing a solution for consumers who jump from diet to diet, looking for the magic pill for weight loss.
The Milwaukee-based and family-owned bakery has sold pocket bread nationwide for 25 years and is combating the low-carb craze and other recent diet trends with a recently published Kangaroo Pocket Diet plan.
"Carbohydrates are not the culprit," said George Kashou, Kangaroo Brands vice president. "People are overweight because of over-consumption and lack of exercise."
In June, Kashou launched the diet campaign with his book, "The Pocket Diet," a nutritional guide that includes recipes for pocket bread fillings that range from 82 to 204 calories per serving, not including the 90 calories in each pocket.
Kangaroo Pocket Bread is a naturally low-carb product that can teach visually about portion size, Kashou said. The Kangaroo Pocket Diet consists of eating only what can fit in the pocket. Kashou said the average consumer could have around six pockets per day, but first needs to understand the basics of nutrition.
"The objective was to write a book about nutrition," Kashou said. "I wanted to teach consumers, but also provide them with a healthy product to start with."
Kashou tested the idea of the Kangaroo Diet over a six-week period with 38 overweight employees of Community Memorial Hospital, Menomonee Falls. Kashou worked with Barb Taggart, supervisor of clinical dietetics at Community Memorial, to analyze the nutritional value of each recipe.
"The purpose of the hospital study was to see if people would adopt a diet based on portion control methods using our product," Kashou said. "I also wanted participants to become nutritionally savvy about complex carbohydrates and good and bad fats from reading my book."
After six weeks, the group lost a total of 295 pounds with an average weight loss of eight pounds per person, Kashou said. With meal ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner, participants were able to choose what to make and ate an average of four pockets per day.
"The hospital study introduced people to a well-balanced diet," Kashou said. "In the end, the participants understood portion control, their metabolism and visually learned what a portion size is by filling a pocket."
Kashou said that books on diets such as Atkins and South Beach are all smoke-and-mirrors and do not teach consumers about metabolism and exercise. According to Kashou, if the books taught about nutrition, consumers would be able to learn and create their own diet.
"I made it much simpler in my book," Kashou said. "Diets need to be convenient to be sustainable. The average person can reduce caloric intake by eating the same amount of calories that are burned."
The book is currently available to consumers of Kangaroo Brands by request. The company has expanded its product line over the years to include salad pockets, Greek flatbread, breakfast pockets and tortilla-style bread wraps, in addition to the familiar 6-inch pita bread.
Kangaroo intends to launch the Kangaroo Pocket Diet nationally, but Kashou said the book will be available at no charge for the next couple of years.
"The Kangaroo Diet is a way to control portions and to learn the caloric value of foods you eat," Kashou said. "Americans are being duped by unhealthy diet trends debated in the media. A person’s weight is determined by how much is consumed and a person’s health is determined by what is consumed."
August 6, 2004, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI

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