As the weather warms up and we strip down the clothing layers it becomes the season of diets. So tempting with their promises of quick easy weight loss and endless new options to replace last month’s failed diet. But who can blame you when today’s diets are marketed so well, they sound a lot more appealing to today’s society. But I’m going to tell you what I tell people every single day. There is no secret diet, no magic juice cleanse no super food that will help you loose weight fast and keep it off. The not so secret secret is a well balanced diet from each food group in appropriate portions paired with exercise. That’s it, they key to sustainable weight loss. It is slow and not particularly appealing but let me tell you, it works!
Firstly lets look at the word diet and what it means – strictly speaking a diet is simply the food an individual eats on a daily basis. Good or bad, no judgement attached, that’s what diet means. By this definition we are all dieting all the time, every time we eat we are taking part in our daily diet. But in modern times this word has been charged with so much more meaning. We refer to a “diet” as a restriction of our food, as a set of rules or choices, as a formula or requirement to eat a certain way, and the implication that by “dieting” we are somehow restricting or depriving ourselves. And finally there is the Diet with a capital D – the food plan that comes with a name, a trademark, a book, a TV show, a range of supplements and a one true faith to believe in, often with a cult like fervour and a celebrity to endorse it. And in many cases it is sold as the one, the only, way to eat. Diet has become a dirty four letter word and can fill people with fear and dread. Last month it was sugar free, the month before that it was paleo, before that high fat low carb and so on. So bellow I have created a list to help you identify a fad diet.
1. Contains wording in promotional material such as fat blasting, metabolism boosting, cleansing, fat melting.
This wording hooks you in because well wouldn’t it be ideal if we drank a shake and our fat disappeared just like that. Sorry to inform you but that just isn’t how it works.
2. It says a certain food group is bad and should not be eaten.
Carbs usually get placed as the baddie here but dairy, meat and fruit also get targeted these days. Food groups are food groups for a reason, they all provide us with different nutrients we need to live a healthy life so unless you have an allergy or intolerance there is no reason you should cut out a specific food group.
3. It uses lots of impressive before and after weight loss photos
You can fake those … Photoshop is a thing. Have you ever noticed that the person always looks a lot more tanned in the second picture, that’s a giveaway.
4. It is promoted by a dodgy sounding academic and followed by a celebrity
The latest Hollywood celebrity claims they have used this diet to shed kilograms and the person promoting it has a PhD from a non-accredited university (or they are Dr OZ) But there is no evidence anywhere saying that it is endorsed by someone who is an accredited Dietitian.
5. The diet is linked to products such as supplements or recipe books.
For this diet to work you have to buy the whole range of food ingredients, supplements and the 5 cook books because we want you to spend as much money on this at the start before you realise how rubbish it is and quit half way through. Sound familiar?
Sure maybe I sound a little cynical but that is because there is no one size fits all easy quick “Diet” approach to weight loss. There is simply only evidenced based individualised advice. However if you are wanting to drop a few kilograms it’s pretty safe to say that any diet based on whole, nutrient rich, unprocessed food that is close to nature would be good for all of us. Variety and moderation is essential. And I think there is generally universal agreement that we should be eating a diet that is mostly plants, that avoids too much refined grains, refined sugars, trans fats and processed meats.