We're on a mission to find the best diet

MOST of the women I know are either on a weight loss diet or contemplating going on one before Christmas.

Some of them are quite open about their intentions, talking plainly about wanting to indulge in that decadent cupcake but having to opt for that less appealing apple.

Others, though, keep the fact close to their chest, eventually showing off a trimmer body but refusing to reveal the hard work it took to get there.

This kind of anecdotal evidence is backed up studies that tell us that more than 72% of women in Australia are on some sort of weight loss kick at any time.

Given that more than 63% of adult women are obese, it is obvious that these diets especially those of the fad variety are failing dismally.

Not only are these fad diets ineffective overall but they can also be quite dangerous.

Cutting out major food groups or starving yourself to distraction or living off shakes or grapefruit can rob the body of essential nutrients and be detrimental to your health and fitness goals.

While nutritionists and health professionals stress a balance between healthy eating and exercise, such is the lack of popularity for those options that they don't even feature on the first page of a Google search for the top weight-loss choices.

But you never hear the stories of failure from people who have tried the latest craze and haven't actually lost the promised 10kg in two weeks.

Advertisements for these products always boast amazing before and after shots with the newly slim dieter happily showing off the latest designer gear.

There are always smiles as they mix up an odd-looking concoction and more smiles as they swig down a shake.

They even manage to smile while putting the newest miracle weight loss drops under their tongues.

Where are those people who have been duped into the whole experience and are sitting on the couch crushed in defeat?

Where are those people who are actually shopping for bigger clothes because going from one yo-yo diet to another has made them put on more weight?

HEALTHY EATING: Instead of chocolate or sugary snacks, raid the fruit bowl.
HEALTHY EATING: Instead of chocolate or sugary snacks, raid the fruit bowl. Contributed

Well, in the next six months we will be separating the myth from reality.

We have taken the five most popular diets in Australia - Paleo Diet, Atkins, no sugar diet, the 5:2 and the HCG diet - and will pit them against each other as well as a balanced diet and exercise lifestyle.

I will try one a month, stick to it as best as I can and bring you my experiences through regular print pieces and online video diaries.

We have steered away from the fad diets like the Lemon Detox, the grapefruit diet, the meal replacement diets, the cabbage soup diet or the baby food diet mostly because they have been flagged as detrimental to your health.

We will look at how easy it is to incorporate into your daily life, how expensive it is to implement, how it affects energy levels, whether it is easy to get back on the wagon after a stumble and what effect it has on weight loss.

We will bring you the views of nutritionists, health care professionals and trainers and let you make up your mind as to whether one of these five diets is the right option for you.

The sixth and final month will be given over to a balanced diet and lots of exercise and we will compare those results with that achieved by the top five.

Let us know your thoughts on weight loss diets and any advice as I embark on what will be a testing six months is welcomed.

Topics:  diet fitness health lifestyle obesity weight loss

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