Forget the fad diets this spring

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THE WARM Easter weather has had many of us reaching into the back of the wardrobe for our Summer essentials earlier than usual this year.

Beaches along our coasts have been packed over the holiday period, with sunseekers even tempted to a dip in the Med by daytime temperatures peaking around 26 degrees.

However, after a long cold winter of comfort eating and no exercise, those shorts and swimsuits may be a little more snug than should be.

When we need to shift a few kilos, it’s tempting to turn to one of the diet trends filling the pages of magazines and the internet in the hope of a quick fix solution to getting into shape for the warmer weather. But the sheer volume of mixed messages about diets can be deafening.

With this in mind, the British Dietetic Association has released a list of the top five fad diets to avoid for people wishing to shed some weight before Summer.

CLEAN EATING

The idea is to avoid all processed foods and eat only ‘clean’ foods, by eliminating refined sugar, cooking from scratch, and choosing foods in their natural state. However some extreme versions of clean eating will exclude gluten, grains, dairy, and even in some cases encourage a raw-food diet.

In many cases, foods that are actually nutritionally beneficial are deemed as unhealthy such as those containing wholegrains, fruit and dairy, with no basis in scientific evidence.

Moreover, often clean eating substitute products – such as coconut oil, and various syrups to sweeten foods – are as high in calories, no better nutritionally and more expensive too.

Unless you have a medically diagnosed intolerance or allergy to these foods, there is no need to eliminate them and doing so could lead to deficiencies in your diet.

DIET PILLS

Many of these pills claim to keep fat from being absorbed by your body, or ‘melt’ fat, whilst others claim to suppress appetite or boost metabolism.

There is a danger here because diet pills should never be taken without first consulting your GP, pharmacist or dietitian as even regulated weight loss medicines on prescription can have nasty side effects including diarrhoea.

TEATOXES

Teatoxing is short for ‘tea detoxing’ – these tea products have varying claims from detoxing the body, improving skin, reducing bloating and losing weight.

These teas often contain extra caffeine in the form of guarana or yerba mate, diuretic ingredients such as dandelion and nettle and the laxative, senna, which is not safe to take for longer than a week without medical supervision.
They might create the impression of weight loss and detoxification but this is usually water-weight loss. Couple this with the risk of the accompanying side effects such a diarrhoea, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, gut damage and a lack of scientific evidence ….. Step away from the Teatox.

THE 6:1 DIET

The 6:1 diet involves eating like you usually do for six days and then for one day a week, some followers of this diet completely fast, meaning they don’t consume any food for 24 hours.

Completely fasting unless properly managed is likely to lead to a lack of concentration, tiredness and low mood, which isn’t going to make you more productive.

There is no evidence that a diet like this would make you more creative either, and depending on your age, health and lifestyle, fasting could be dangerous.

GREEN JUICES

Another means of ‘detoxing’ and weight management, green juices are essentially juices or smoothies made up of various fruits, vegetables, powders etc. Fans claim benefits ranging from detoxing to rejuvenation and weight loss.

The body is perfectly capable of detoxing itself without the aid of these green liquid concoctions. Adding a green juice to an unhealthy diet is never going to make up for poor choices when it comes to food.

In addition, people add in ingredients like nuts, coconut oil and whole avocados to their green breakfast juices too – meaning these juices can add up to as much as 400 kcal per glass. If you are still eating your normal breakfast on top of this, you are more likely to gain weight from consuming more calories, rather than lose weight.
Instead of choosing an exclusional diet, the BDA advice people to enjoy a rich variety of foods in appropriate portion sizes – moderation is key as well as being physically active. Losing weight is challenging and keeping it off is too, but it’s not impossible. Don’t make it even harder for yourself by following a fad.

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