This celebrity nutritionist tells us which popular diets not to follow while working towards your holiday body. By Kavita Devgan
Weight loss has to be one of the most searched for terms on Google. The obsession with losing weight is so widespread that people follow weird diets blindly, without even considering how these affect their bodies. Fad diets have never given anyone ‘lasting’ weight loss, and never will. They are designed to feed the get-me-think-quick mindset that is sadly still rampant despite attempts by experts to educate on the adverse effects these have on the body.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT?
Think of it as an equation: fewer calories + an increase in activity = weight loss. If, after this, you successfully lose weight, it only means that you will manage to keep it off in the long run. I don’t believe in putting my clients on diets. Instead, I work with them to help them identify and drop their bad habits, and then help them form new healthier habits, one at a time. I do this because a weight-loss plan is only going to be successful when it is effortless, becomes a part of you, and is almost automated. It has to be a plan that you are convinced about and is practical for your situation, requirements, and circumstances. On the other hand, a diet plan that you can’t follow seamlessly is as good as kaput from the word go. And this defines the fad diets that people are succumbing to at the cost of their health nowadays.
WHY DON’T FAD DIETS WORK?
Fad diets do not and cannot work for the simple reason that all of them restrict you from consuming particular food groups. They deliver weight loss (seemingly) by depriving the body of adequate calories and nutrition for a short period of time. Don’t fall for this because fad diets are notorious for making you gain weight; when the body feels deprived, and the banned foods are reintroduced, it reacts by putting on more weight than it had lost, in fear of another round of starvation or restriction.
Here’s a lowdown on four popular fad diets that will help you make an intelligent choice:
1. The Atkins Diet
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This popular diet works by cutting out carbohydrates (bread, rice, potatoes, etc.) based on the premise that the body will burn fat and protein instead.
Pros: There is a greater variety of food that you can consume while on this diet, so the risk of cheating is low.
Cons: Difficult to follow in the long run; imagine eliminating potatoes, pasta, and sweet from your diet altogether. Also, the extremely high protein intake can lead to a spike in your uric acid and ketone levels, and this can cause kidney problems, gout, and headaches in the short term, and major health issues in the long run.
2. The GI Diet
The Glycemic Index (GI) ranks foods on how fast it raises blood sugar levels, and propagates eating food that has a low glycemic index.
Pros: This helps you lose weight without letting you go hungry, and increases your
Cons: It’s difficult to identify the GI value of a meal. Also, some food with low GI value is also packed with fat or salt, and contains fewer nutrients. So, it’s not a foolproof method.
Besides, most experts now favour glycemic load (GL) values (grams of carbohydrates per
serving multiplied with its GI). This method is more effective since GL tells you how much
sugar is in the food rather than just how high it raises blood sugar levels.
3. The Blood Group Diet
This diet believes that your blood group is the key to how you burn your calories, the food you should eat, and how you benefit from exercise. So, there’s no counting calories or fat grams. However, the food you eat is believed to react chemically with your blood type. For example, those with type O blood are supposed to eat lean meats, vegetables, and fruits, and avoid wheat and dairy. Meanwhile, type A dieters go vegetarian, and those with type B blood are to avoid chicken, corn, wheat, tomatoes, peanuts, and sesame seeds.
Pros: Besides helping you lose weight, it boosts your energy levels and helps heal chronic diseases.
Cons: You can drive your friends nuts with your new food taboos! There’s no scientific
proof that your blood type affects weight loss. And depending on your blood type, the
diet can be extremely restrictive.
4. The HCG Diet
This edge-of-starvation diet limits you to about 500 calories a day and advocates the consumption of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG), touted to be a powerful appetite suppressing hormone. However, there’s no evidence that HCG is anything more than a placebo.
Pros: You’ll lose weight, but only because you’re barely eating.
Cons: It is obvious that if you go on a 500-calorie-a-day diet for eight weeks, you will lose weight. So, HCG has nothing to do with it. Plus, it is very difficult to stick to this diet for such a long period of time. Secondly, such a drastic diet can mess up your metabolism, and make your BMR drop very low. You’ll lose a lot of protein, and your vitamin B and C, iron, and calcium levels will all fall. Electrolytes will go haywire, and there’s a risk of gallstones and fluid retention. Plus, any weight loss will be short-term, and you will be sure to regain weight at a rapid pace.