Healthy Fad Diets: Help or Hype

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Healthy Fad Diets
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For most people, losing weight is a constant battle. Every day we see different quick fixes and deprivation diets promising to lose weight. A lot of times these health fad diets sounds too good to be true and more often than not, that is all they remain “fad- diets”. These healthy fad diets though, may not be the most healthy or the right way to lose weight.

Raw food, detox, week-long flush, Whole30 or cabbage soup diets and so on are part of the long list of fad diets. Dr Summer Allen from the Mayo Clinic says that any diet that drastically cuts the number of calories consumed to sub -1000 levels is going to cut weight if followed, but she says these severe diets are not realistic in the long term. The doctor has said that for most people upon restricting a certain section or types of food might catalyse even more craving for the same.

This is the reason why people are continually looking for the next fix. A sustainable weight loss programme is only going to be successful when there is a lifestyle change instead of making arbitrary changes in our diet, such changes are not feasible in the long term. It is also noticeable that weight being lost through these fad diets does not always stay off once you return to your usual diet. Whilst some diets seem outright outrageous e.g: extreme fasting, others such as gluten-free diets seem helpful at face value.

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Gluten-free diets whilst are necessary for those suffering from celiac disease (who have an immune reaction to the protein found in grains like barley and wheat) or have gluten-sensitivity,  beyond this there is little evidence that can indicate if a gluten-free diet is actually helpful to those primarily trying to lose weight. Commercially prepared, gluten-free foods generally have higher quantities of refined carbohydrates, sugar, fats and salt. The commercially prepared gluten-free foods might also have lower protein quantities as compared to their gluten counterparts.

Another popular fad-diet is keto. The goal of such a diet is to induce ketosis, for the body to go into a full-fat burning mode that supports weight loss. Cutting carbohydrate intake can also lead to a reduction in water retention capacity of our body that also supports weight loss, however, this method of weight loss is not recommended since it can also cause an increase in blood sugar levels. Something that has also become popular in today’s age, is the eating of exotic super-foods such as hemp seeds, chia seeds or quinoa. Their local equivalents such as dahlia, ragi and barley have similar health benefits and can be cheaper. Apart from that hemp seeds also known as “bhang ke beej” can have psychotropic properties that could potentially alter your mental states or cause mild diarrhoea.

The common denominator with all these healthy fad diets is that they often have temporary effects and are not successful in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Many of these diets also cut out the consumption of vital nutrients, and no matter how well a weight loss trend is marketed, a sib-1000 calorie diet should be considered off the books.