The British Dietetic Association (BDA) has released its annual list of fad diets to avoid. The 2017 year’s list features everything from clean, eating, to teatoxing, highlighting the potential dangers of adopting a “quick fix” weight loss plan.
Sian Porter, consultant dietitian and spokesperson for the BDA, said: “It seems that as a nation we are constantly on the search for that magic bullet approach to losing weight, wanting a quick fix, taking things on face value and trusting anyone when it comes to nutrition, food and diet.”
“The truth is, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Ask for evidence and get your advice from someone properly qualified and regulated with nothing to sell or promote.”
Instead she suggests making small, sustainable changes:
“Enjoy a rich variety of foods in appropriate portion sizes – moderation is key as well as being physically active. Losing weight is challenging and keeping it off is too, but it’s not impossible. Don’t make it even harder for yourself by following a fad.”
Here are the BDA’s five celebrity fad diets to avoid in 2017.
What’s it all about? The idea is to avoid all processed foods and eat only ‘clean’ foods, by eliminating refined sugar, cooking from scratch, and choosing foods in their natural state. However, some extreme versions of clean eating will exclude gluten, grains, dairy, and even in some cases encourage a raw-food diet.
BDA Verdict: Leave the cleaning for your kitchen work surface, not your food! Whilst it is beneficial to reduce refined sugar and limit processed food intake, the idea of foods being ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’ is concerning. In some circumstances this way of thinking is a prelude to ‘Orthorexia Nervosa’ – an obsession with foods that the individual considers to be healthy, and elimination of any food that is deemed unhealthy.
In many cases, foods that are actually nutritionally beneficial are deemed as unhealthy such as those containing wholegrains, fruit and dairy, with no basis in scientific evidence. Unless you have a medically diagnosed intolerance or allergy to these foods, there is no need to eliminate them and doing so could lead to deficiencies in your diet.
Moreover, often clean eating substitute products – such as coconut oil, and various syrups to sweeten foods – are as high in calories, no better nutritionally and more expensive too.
What’s it all about? Many of these pills claim to keep fat from being absorbed by your body, or ‘melt’ fat, whilst others claim to suppress appetite or boost metabolism.
BDA Verdict: Warning: danger! Diet pills should never be taken without first consulting your GP, pharmacist or dietitian as even regulated weight loss medicines on prescription can have nasty side effects including diarrhea.
Alarmingly, there has been a rise in the number of diet pills for sale online – these products are often unregulated and can contain substances not licensed for human consumption like pesticides and have proven to be fatal.