Rachel Jennings

By Rachel Jennings

Dietary Advice, Expert Advice, Health Advice, Heart Health, View All Health Advice

Are Fad Diets Safe?

So much is said about losing weight that sometimes it can be hard to sort fact from fiction. There is no shortage of novelty diet programmes promising speedy weight loss. However fad diets can cause physical discomfort and damage our health. They can also be monotonous making them difficult to stick to. Most diets, no matter how wacky, that provide a set of rules and encourage people to eat fewer calories than they need, will result in weight loss. But are fad diets healthy, can they be maintained and do they help people keep the weight off?

Low-Carbohydrate Diets Can Be High In Fat

Some diets, such as the Atkins diet, are very low in starchy carbohydrates (pasta, bread, potatoes and rice) which are an essential source of energy. While you may lose weight on these types of diets, they are often high in protein and fat. This can cause side effects such as bad breath, headaches and constipation. Many low-carbohydrate diets allow you to eat foods high in saturated fat, such as butter, cheese and meat. Too much saturated fat can raise your cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Detox Diets Are Not Effective

Detox diets are generally restrictive and difficult to stick to. This is because they usually involve the avoidance of foods or food groups including wheat, dairy and alcohol as well as all processed foods. These diets are characteristically low in calories which can lead to side effects such as feeling tired, headaches, light-headedness and nausea. While weight loss experienced on a detox diet may be very rapid, it is frequently regained soon after returning to normal eating patterns. Moreover, they can be dangerous if followed for a long period as they can be lacking in essential nutrients. Healthy eating is about choosing a variety of foods from all the different food groups!

Fad diets Are Often Far-Fetched

Some fad diets are based on eating a single type of food, such as cabbage soup or raw foods. While others make far-fetched claims that you should cut out certain foods based on your blood type. Often, there is little or no evidence to back these claims up. These diets can be difficult to keep to in the long term and if followed over long periods, they can be very unbalanced and bad for your health. You may lose weight in the short term, but it’s much more advisable to lose weight gradually and to be healthy.

Croí have developed a dietitian-led weight management course (https://www.croi.ie/news/croi-mybalance ), which takes a holistic approach to managing you weight, and is based on best practice in dietary advice. It provides participants with expert guidance on all aspects of healthy eating, exploring issues such as your relationship with food; understanding food labels and controlling portion sizes.