/ Food & Drink, Health

New year, new fad diet: are you changing what you eat?

Fad diets potatoes

It’s that time of year when we’re encouraged to embrace ‘clean eating’, do a detox and cut things out of our diets. Why can’t we just eat everything in moderation and enjoy mealtimes more?

Since Christmas, I’ve seen a gym chain advertising how much exercise is needed to burn off the typical Christmas dinner, numerous self-appointed nutrition experts extolling the virtues of ‘clean eating’ on social media, and I’ve been sent an email for a juicing cleanse.

Another year, another diet

At this time of year, we’re bombarded with messages about detoxing and using fad diets to lose those extra pounds we might have gained indulging over the Christmas period. Each new year brings the release of several new ‘revolutionary’ diet books claiming that they’re the silver bullet.

But do any of them actually work? And are they healthy on a long-term basis?

Too many restrictive diets

Put simply, diets ‘work’ by limiting what you eat. If you expend more calories than you consume there’s no doubt about it – you will lose weight. However, you can’t sell many books telling people that.

Instead, complex plans are drawn up with a set of rules about what you can and can’t eat. An example in point is the Paleo diet, which cuts out complex carbohydrates, dairy, starchy veg, fruit and legumes, resulting in you naturally consuming less food. It can be effective for weight loss, especially in the short term. However, it can be hard to maintain long term and as you’re restricting so many foods, it can lead to nutritional deficiencies.

Similarly, the ‘clean eating’ brigade often advocates cutting out all dairy, as well as starchy carbohydrates. Cutting out dairy can lead to calcium deficiencies, which can have long-term implications for bone health.

Other ‘experts’ encourage us to stop eating sugar and replace it with honey or syrups such as agave – yet these are all still sugar and treated the same way by our bodies. The only difference is that these replacements are all significantly more expensive.

Let’s enjoy ALL food

I’m fed up with being made to feel guilty for eating certain foods – I believe that food isn’t just about fuelling yourself, but also about enjoyment. As long as you’re not eating biscuits, cakes, chocolate, crisps (or all of them) every day there’s no harm in having them occasionally.

The Mediterranean diet, which is what the government’s Eatwell Guide is based on, is consistently heralded as the most successful for health. Many people say it’s nonsense, as we’re getting bigger and bigger as a nation. However, in my opinion, the problem isn’t the guide but rather that most people don’t follow it properly.

Are you changing your diet for the new year, and if so, what changes are you making? Or do you prefer to stick to my rule of ‘a bit of everything is OK’?

Sophie says:
15 January 2018

I need to give my poor body a rest from over indulgence (and take back control haha), simply, I’m not eating sugar (including fructose and particularly alcohol), cutting out butter and cream completely and being a bit restrained on all fats, including olive oil. Most of all I’m just putting down my fork and eating smaller portions and not snacking or indulging. I’ve never eaten much potato or rice, simply because they are boring to cook and boring to eat. I’m also upping my exercise a bit (not a huge amount, but a bit) to my dog’s delight. So far I’ve lost 10lb since the beginning of the month, which I’m happy about. I feel fresher and have more energy, my skin has improved but boy do I ache from the detox!

I put on weight when I retired because I was at home more and I managed to eat at regular intervals, something that I did not always manage when I was working and more active. Throughout my adult life I have eaten a low fat diet for health reasons, but I decided to eat more fat and less carbohydrate for a year because it has been suggested that eating more fat suppresses appetite. That was a failure, so I will return to a low fat diet.

At least I cook my meals and don’t rely on ready meals.

Low fat diets aren’t healthy Wavechange, that is why healthy fats are called “essential”. Plenty of Omega 3’s and a balance of the other omega fats.
To be free from disease best to avoid processed foods and eat wholefoods that act as a prophylactic against disease because they contain phytonutrients

You are right, Christopher. I realise the importance of polyunsaturated fatty acids and regularly eat oily fish, usually twice a week. I still have a fairly low fat diet because I avoid fried food and my chip pan has only been used to make soup. What I wrote certainly did not make that clear.

Because I had a stomach bug just before Christmas and lost about 5lbs in weight I am only just back to my normal weight so no need to diet.

However, I have decided to go on a gluten free trial as I have for some time been experiencing all the symptoms of gluten sensitivity. Scientists have discovered a definite link between Hashimotos autoimmune thyroiditis and celiac disease, both of which are of autoimmune origin.

Basically the thyroid secretes the enzyme glutaminase which the autoimmune system then mistakes for gluten due to their similarity and will attack the thyroid gland as well as the small intestine. It is possible to have gluten sensitivity without developing full blown celiac disease and many people have this without knowing and think it is IBS as the symptoms are very similar. If you have an inherited autoimmune gene it is not unusual to have more than one allergic response, for example hay fever and rheumatoid arthritis.

So far my symptoms have improved considerably but it is early days and it will take about 6 months gluten free for my immune system to
settle if it is going to. Meantime, I would advise anyone who suffers from IBS to be checked for gluten sensitivity.

Hubby and I started to follow the https://thefastdiet.co.uk/ before Christmas because it isn’t a diet and it isn’t just about weight (neither of us need to lose any). Worth checking out.

“New Year’s Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions.
Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.”
– Mark Twain

Take more exercise then “most ” would not need to think about what diet to use or what food to eat Junk food for kids Let them eat it but make sure they have more exercise make Ban the Xbox etc , make them walk everywhere do not drive them anywhere at all walk with them it will do you good too That’s the main cause of obesity lack of exercise not junk food or too much of sugar etc.

I don’t agree. You would need to exercise moderately for an hour or so to use up the calories in a mars bar. Watch diet = weight control. Exercise = fitness.