This time of year there are lots of pressures for people to go on a ‘diet’. Often after the excesses of the holiday season people feel they ought to try and shape up and lose those extra pounds gained through indulgence. Or maybe it’s the New Year thing. Anyway, it’s a marketer’s dream and there are all manner of new or recycled ‘diets’ which appear at this time of year.
It can be very tempting to be swayed by the thought of a quick fix – a few days or weeks of restriction followed by a return to usual eating habits. However not only do these diets not work they can be positively dangerous for you and here are the reasons why!
The ‘High protein diet’ (as per Atkins style).
Our bodies find it hard to deal with the large amounts of (mainly animal) protein consumed on such a regime. Incomplete processing and breakdown of proteins can lead to acidification of the body. An acid body is the forerunner to many serious diseases such as arthritis, cancer and ME.
Incomplete protein digestion can lead to fermentation and putrefaction in the gut. (this can be very embarrassing socially!)
Excessive production of urea, a by-product from the breakdown of protein can place a strain on the liver and kidneys as they try to deal with the extra load.
A high protein diet will work in terms of getting rid of a few pounds but at the cost of setting you up for future ill health.
Low Fat Diets
Truth is, fats are essential for life and for good health and eating fat does not make you fat.
Some nutrients such as vitamins A, D and E are fat soluble and therefore to obtain and to hang onto these vitamins you need some fat.
We need the ESSENTIAL fats, omega 3, 6 and 9 to help regulate our nervous system, heart function, immune system, and condition our skin.
Cholesterol is essential for the formation of hormones. Many women on low fat diets have hormone imbalance problems.
Too little fat in the diet can also lead to stagnation of the bile function, leading to gallbladder problems and the formation of gallstones.
Your brain contains a lot of fat – a lack of essential fats and cholesterol can lead to behavioural and mental health issues.
We have been led to believe over the years that too much fat is bad for us which has resulted in many low fat products in the shops. However these low fat products are often high in sugar which is highly detrimental to health.
Fasting is not sustainable as a form of losing weight or detoxing. Your body actually needs nutrients to enable it to detoxify and for proper cellular function. If you employ fasting as a weight loss technique then you are likely to end up feeling unwell, since the toxins will be released from fat stores but will be unable to be correctly dealt with or eliminated.
There is a current trend for intermittent fasting (the 5:2 diet for example), which can be useful when used correctly. However it can lead to blood sugar imbalances, nutrient deficiencies and binge eating on the non-fasting days.
The bottom line is that FAD diets are not sustainable. There is no quick fix or magic bullet. To lose and then maintain a healthy weight long-term, requires a change of lifestyle, eating habits and attitude.