Atkins diet, Keto diet, Body type diet, Blood type diet, Paleo diet, Dukan diet and the list goes on... but which ones work and which are right for you?
"During 2013-14, Australians have been estimated to spend almost $650 million on weightloss programs, counselling services, low-calorie foods and dietary supplements in their quests to slim down. This is up 3.6% from the previous year”…… (IBISWORLD)
What is a fad diet?
"A fad diet is defined as unreasonable or exaggerated beliefs that eating (or not eating) specific foods, nutrients, supplements or combinations of certain foods may cure disease, convey special health benefits or offer quick weight loss".
(Position of the ADA: Food and Nutrition Misinformation 2006)
The Claims & the Truths?
"Scientific studies conclude that a restrictive diet may result in weight loss for the short term (generally 3 months or less). There are no sufficient studies proving that a 'restrictive diet' can provide long term health benefits or weight loss results of 12 months or more for an average healthy adult".
Why Do People Follow Fad Diets?
Anyone can publish anything and make it appealing
People want to believe there is a magic bullet
People are vulnerable to diets that promise easy solutions
People want specific instructions and guidance
People want convenience without thinking or preparing
Celebrity endorsement or social media
Side Effects of Low Carbohydrate & Ketogenic Diets:
Inability to perform high-intensity exercises
Low Blood Pressure
Elevated Uric Acid and lower blood pH levels (more acidic)
Higher risks of kidney stones
In pregnant women, foetal harm and stillbirth
"The most frequent complaints with low-carbohydrate diets are constipation and headache, which is readily explained by the reduced intake of fruit, vegetables, and whole-grain breads and cereals. Restricted intake of these foods is not commensurable with long-term nutritional adequacy and might pose an increased risk of nutritional deficiencies, cardiovascular disease and cancer". (Astrup, A 2014)
Low-fat diets may be unsatisfying and difficult to adhere to. Restricted intake of fat may cause a decreased intake of omega fatty acids, which are essential for building and repairing cell membranes. Diets high in fat, such as the Keto diet may encourage a large intake of saturated fats and can increase the risk of heart diseases and some cancers.
Low Carbohydrate diets that are below the recommended intake may promise quick, short term weight loss but not long term weight loss. Keto diets restrict carbohydrates to a level that induces ketosis, which can cause nausea, light-headedness and fatigue. Ketosis can also worsen and accelerate medical conditions such as kidney disease.
The takeaway note here is to eat and enjoy wholesome nutritious meals with regular exercise. Live a happy and active lifestyle and not add unnecessary stress to your body such as diets and food restrictions or disciplining yourself to starvation. Variety and moderation is the key to receive all of your vital daily nutrients!
Head Trainer, Nutritionist & Food Scientist