Beat the bulge the healthy way

Published: Sunday 21st December 2014 by The News Editor

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In the lead-up to Christmas there’s always a worry about the pounds being stacked on and the need to lose those pounds again after the festive season.

But Sian Porter, consultant dietician and spokesperson for the (BDA), says her organisation has received numerous enquiries about different diets this year, ranging from the weird to the dangerous – such as the “Breatharian Diet”, which asks people to live on fresh air and sunlight alone.

“It seems we’re constantly on the search for that magic bullet approach to losing weight, wanting a quick-fix to give us the bodies we so often see on TV, in magazines and adorning billboards,” she says. “Quite often, the fad diets come at a price.”

Permanent, sensible changes are what the experts advise, if you want to lose weight and keep it off, and not quick-fixes or extreme short-term plans.

“An eating pattern for life should be one you can stick to, and include enjoyment, a rich variety of foods in appropriate portion sizes, and moderation. Go for the marathon approach rather than the sprint finish,” she advises.

“Many people will be making New Year resolutions to lose weight. Make the difference this time by losing it in a safe, robust and sustainable way.”

Here are four trendy diets the BDA says people should avoid:

The Paleo Diet

The paleo plan is also known as the Paleolithic, Caveman and Stone Age Diet. Only foods thought to be available to Neanderthals in the prehistoric era are allowed, and all other foods – like dairy products, grains, sugar, legumes, processed oils, salt, and drinks like coffee and alcohol – are excluded.

While eating fewer processed foods and less sugar and salt is a good idea, there’s no need to cut any food group out of your diet entirely, unless advised to do so for medical reasons.

This can be an unbalanced, time-consuming, socially isolating diet.

The Sugar-Free Diet

As well as banishing the white stuff from the menu, sugar-free diets often ban carbohydrates too, as these are turned into glucose in the body.

The fact that this diet demand followers cut out all sugar is extremely limiting and, potentially, unhealthy.

“This is not only almost impossible,” says Porter, “but would mean cutting out foods like vegetables, fruit, dairy products and nuts – not exactly a healthy, balanced diet.”

The VB6 Diet

Beyonce has reportedly tried this diet, so-named because it’s about being vegan before 6pm. But after 6pm, nothing, within reason, is off limits.

The BDA says that while it’s good to eat more plant-based foods like beans, pulses, wholegrains, nuts, fruit and vegetables, being vegan doesn’t automatically translate into eating healthily.

Porter says: “The danger is that post-6pm becomes a window of opportunity to hoover up a myriad of funhealthy foods undoing your earlier healthier choices.

The Clay Cleanse Diet

This diet claims a spoon of clay a day will remove toxins and negative isotopes from the body, helping you cleanse and stay in shape.

To come straight to the point, clay is considered dangerous and detox as the body has its own built-in mechanisms to remove waste and toxins.

Copyright Press Association 2014 (British Dietetic Association)

Published: Sunday 21st December 2014 by The News Editor

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