The fad diets of 2019 you must avoid
IT'S a new year and that means many of us have health and wellness goals forefront of mind. And for the majority, this means a plan for our battle with the bulge. But before you embark on your journey, you may want to check think twice before starting that fad diet you heard about from your family, colleagues or friends.
Every year a team of leading and qualified health experts - the U.S. News & World Report - get together and apply a scoring matrix to over 40 different diets to rate the latest diets with respect to their nutritional balance, health benefits, ease of following, safety, and weight loss.
But, much to many people's denial, the most searched and talked about diets are not the best - their success purely contributed to social media endorsements by big-name celebrities.
In fact, the same diets that appeared in the bottom 10 of 2018 have again appeared in the bottom 10 of 2019, with much of their appeal also due to the quick results or funky spin that they offer to traditional dieting.
5 diets that appear in the bottom 10
This high-fat, low-carb diet is designed to make your body enter a state where it's relying on fat for energy. Kim Kardashian and Gwyneth Paltrow have certainly been a contributing factor to the popularity of the keto diet.
There is no doubt that it's a quick effective weight loss strategy but the evidence shows that people don't keep the pounds off for the long haul.
It's not nutritionally balanced and it's also difficult to stick to with a large reliance on eating meat and fatty foods - 70% of the dieter's daily intake is from fat.
It's also not safe as we know that giving up fruits and wholegrain carbohydrates is the opposite of what we should be doing to prevent lifestyle disease such as cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The restrictive carb allowance equates to just one piece of fruit a day - radically below the recommended dietary intake.
Take-home message - The short-term weight loss fix is not worth the increased risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease from following such eating practices.
The Fast Diet
Otherwise known as the 5:2 diet - you eat normally for five days of the week and cut your calories to an extremely low 25% of normal intake on two non-consecutive days of the week. This equates to just 600 calories for males on the two fast days and 500 calories for females - the same number of calories as two donuts.
The lack of nutritional guidance on what to eat on the 5 days when you aren't fasting and what constitutes a healthy eating pattern raises many red flags.
Take-home message - It's an alternative way to cut calories in your diet if you follow it strictly but the science doesn't prove it is any better than reduced calorie intake through conventional dieting.
Much like of the other diets, this one promises all sorts of miracle benefits such as eliminating cravings, rebalancing hormones, curing digestive issues, and boosting energy and immune function - in fact, it's designed to "change your life".
You are required to cut out sugar, alcohol, wholegrain carbohydrates, legumes and dairy products for 30 days. By day 31, you'll be free from your food fog and can reintroduce food groups based on how your body reacts to each food.
Take-home message - There is no evidence to back up this diet claims and it's completely absurd.
This diet is based on the notion that you eat to regulate your hormones. Catchy isn't it! It starts with a two-week detox which of course will equate to a decrease in the number on the scales but this detox-oriented premise lakes scientific merit.
Components of the diet plan and the supplements it promotes are not backed by evidence.
Take-home message - You are unlikely to stick to it long-term and sustain the rapid weight loss you will experience from the initial detox phase.
Advocates of the paleo diet say we should be eating a diet based on the foods that were available during the Palaeolithic period of more than 10,000 years ago. It requires you to cut out entire food groups like dairy and grains, not only making it an unrealistic diet to sustain but also dangerous and unhealthy due to the key nutrients you are missing.
You will experience short-term and rapid weight loss due to a decrease in body water - just like with any diet that is low in carbohydrate. But there is no research to show it can deliver sustainable weight loss.
Take-home message - This is not a nutritionally balanced diet and those advocating we stay away from grains are simply wrong.
Surprise, surprise! The winning spots went to diets, such as the Mediterranean diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, wholegrain carbohydrates, healthy fats, and lean protein sources like fish; diets that are nutritionally balanced; and diets with science and evidence to back up their claims.
Dr Nick Fuller is a leading obesity expert at the University of Sydney and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, and the founder of Interval Weight Loss.
'Interval Weight Loss For Life' is a scientifically proven way of redefining the weight your body wants to be, to prevent that ever so common weight regain after following a weight loss program.
For more information, refer to Interval Weight Loss For Life: https://www.penguin.com.au/books/interval-weight-loss-for-life-9780143791072