Lisa Salmon skewers four eating regimes linked to high-profile people that may hinder rather than help you to lose weight
TEMPTED to lose a few pounds after the excesses of Christmas?
You’re definitely not alone — year after year, ’losing weight’ tops New Year resolution lists, and it’s also one of the pledges we’re highly likely to fail.
That’s usually not because we’re incapable of losing weight, but because of our approach. Although we know that slow and steady wins the weight-loss race, and the ‘everything in moderation’ rule, along with regular exercise, is the sensible way to go about it, time and time again we’re just too tempted by celeb-endorsed fads and the promise of a quick-fix.
But dietitians point out this could mean denting your health along the way, not to mention your bank balance.
In fact, with so many blogs, diet books and celebrity-endorsed fitness DVDs on the market, it’s important to weigh up the possibility that all we’re going to lose is our hard-earned cash.
Consultant dietitian Sian Porter gives her top five ‘celeb diets’ to avoid in 2016...
Celebrity link: Tom Hanks and Alec Baldwin have reportedly followed this diet.
What’s it all about? The Sugar-Free Diet is when you exclude all types of sugar (and often carbohydrates) from your diet.
Verdict: Cutting down on free sugars, reducing the amount of sugar you add, and consuming fewer products already containing added sugar in addition to being label aware is a positive step. However, Porter warns: “Some versions of the No Sugar Diet promote cutting out all sugar from your diet, which is not only almost impossible, but would mean eliminating foods like vegetables, fruit, dairy products and nuts — leading to a less than healthy diet.”
It’s also important to be aware that some substitutes these diet plans recommend, such as agave, palm sugar, maple syrup or honey, are actually just free sugars in another form. “It’s not about a single food or nutrient; dietitians advocate a whole diet approach,” explains Porter.
Celebrity link: Jake Gyllenhaal reportedly followed this diet to shed weight for a film role.
What’s it all about? All you can eat is kale salad and chewing gum.
Verdict: Pointing out that an actor would be carefully supervised to shed weight for a role, Porter says: “Many people get drawn in by so-called superfoods, but no one food can provide all the nutrients you need.
“These foods are not a magic bullet. Nor does balanced nutrition work by a ’good’ food cancelling out other poor dietary and lifestyle choices. Nothing is wrong with kale, but if that’s all you consume all day, every day, then problems will arise. It’s all about balance, a healthy relationship with food, and variety.”
Celebrity link: Harry Styles and Shailene Woodley have reportedly followed this diet.
What’s it all about? This quirky diet includes a daily ’bulletproof coffee’, which is essentially a black coffee with two tablespoons of butter and one tablespoon of MCT oil added, totting up to around 400 calories per cup.
Foods are classified as ‘bulletproof’, ‘suspect’ or ‘kryptonite’, with rules on timings of meals.
Verdict: While the idea of minimising alcohol and processed food is positive, the classification of foods is at odds with health recommendations and lacks evidence.
“Consuming 400-plus calories from one beverage provides a lot of energy but few nutrients, rather than individuals choosing food and drink with more nutritional content for the same calorie value,” says Porter.
Celebrity link: Elle Macpherson is the co-founder.
What’s it all about? ‘The Super Elixir’ is a food supplement aiming to change body tissue from an acidic to an alkaline state. It’s a green powder containing just over 45 ingredients, including a number of powdered fruits and vegetables, sweeteners, several Chinese herbs and some digestive enzymes. The recommended dose is two teaspoons (10g) per day, meaning a month’s supply could cost you about €80.
Verdict: The benefits this costly powder claim to provide can easily be obtained from fruit and vegetables and a balanced diet, without the hefty price tag.
“Our bodies are naturally capable of regulating acidity levels,” explains Porter. “Why not save over €1,000 per year, spend it on some delicious fruit and vegetables and a splurge on a holiday instead?”
Porter says there is no wonder diet, just as there are no superfoods. The best results come from taking a steady approach. “Think of it as a marathon approach to achieving your goals, as opposed to a sprint,” she says.
“Aim to make permanent changes to your diet and lifestyle that are sustainable for you in the long term, not through someone else’s lifestyle, that will be abandoned by the end of January.”
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