There are an increasing amount of fad diet trends that are being forced into the spotlight by celebs, such as the ones mentioned below. The bottom line is these just aren’t sustainable, and instead- a balanced diet is the way forward. Max bridger from LDNMuscle explains why.
The Ketogenic Diet
Keto is short for ketogenesis, a state where your body burns fat as its primary energy source. In theory ketogenesis is a great idea, but it only causes weight loss by creating a calorie deficit. A calorie deficit can be created while eating any and all foods, and a keto diet will NOT cause more weight loss than a diet than contains carbohydrates and sugar in the calorie intakes are the same!
The biggest issue with the keto diet is that it creates a negative association with carbohydrates, unfairly demonising them for causing weight gain. This creates an unhealthy relationship with the food group (an eating disorder known as orthorexia) where it is banned from a diet, leading to cravings, binging and then self-imposed, further restriction for feeling as though you have ‘failed.’ This is a very restrictive and unenjoyable way to eat, and inevitably leads to giving up with your diet.
A more sustainable and enjoyable approach is to maintain a steady calorie deficit, not cutting out or demonising any food groups!
The 5-2 Diet
The 5:2 diet is an offshoot of intermittent fasting. It requires you to have two days per week where you eat under 600 calories, but for the other five you eat normally (i.e. don’t restrict yourself). Out of the four fat loss methods we have discussed, the 5:2 diet is probably the least unsustainable option.
Apart from the fact you are heavily restricting on two days each week, the 5:2 diet allows you to eat relatively normally for the other five. Assuming you can move these fast-days around, this method of dieting can be more flexible and sustainable than the rest, and it may really work for some people long term. However, as soon as you return to normal eating you will regain at least the weight you lost through the 5:2 dieting, as your total weekly calorie intake will increase, whilst your metabolism may have slowed, causing more extra energy to accumulate and be stored as fat.
If you cannot see yourself carrying this method of eating on long term, or it is suiting your lifestyle, then it will set you up for failure. However, your fast days may help you better identify when you are hungry, and when you are just bored, which could help you maintain a healthier weight than before you started the 5:2 diet even when you have reverted back to a normalised eating routine.
Meal Replacement Shakes
As a rule of thumb, if Kim K promotes it, I would stay well away! Shake (and juice) diets are no different, and utterly doomed to fail; burning a bigger hole in your wage packet than your body fat stores.
With shake diets you replace 1-2 meals per day with a (usually) protein-based shake, containing an extremely loosely proven ‘thermogenic (fat loss) blend’, and totalling around 150 calories. If you are replacing two meals per day with shakes, you will likely be cutting 800-1200 calories from your diet. This will work for weight loss certainly, but it is not enjoyable, stimulating, filling, and most importantly not sustainable beyond a few weeks.
With all the exotically named extracts, false-promises and rapid weight loss advertising material, it’s no surprise shake diets prove popular, blow up across social media and then slowly disappear until next January. However, these shakes are like drinking slightly thicker water. They do not give you the same feeling of satisfaction, satiety or nourishment of whole foods, and will facilitate cravings. These cravings will eventually beat you, and when you revert to your normal style of eating, do not be surprised if you put more weight on than you lost. This often happens because your metabolism has adapted to run on fewer calories, becoming more efficient. Add more calories to a slower metabolism, and more will be left over to be stored as fat.
Slimming injections sound (sarcasm alert) extremely healthy, safe and ideal – we can now get slim whilst watching Netflix by simply jabbing ourselves with a slimming solution every so often! Exercise and fad diets are so 2017!
Kerry Katona has reportedly been injecting hormones into her stomach to supress her appetite, whilst following a juice diet (essentially a shake diet with juice) and working out. So, you could attribute her annual weight loss to any of those three things, but only the latter is proven to be safe and sustainable.
There isn’t enough data on these injections for me to deem them utter rubbish, but no proper evidence to prove them safe and effective either. In my opinion I would never recommend anyone to inject themselves unless told to and shown how to by a doctor, and most certainly not with hormones! On the whole these slimming injections have all the characteristics of a fad diet; they’re too good to be true, pushed by a celebrity, and not backed by science. For the meantime at least, most definitely avoid slimming injections!
Why following a more sustainable approach is the safest option?
All the discussed diets, perhaps with the exception of the 5:2 diet, are totally unsustainable and something we would not recommend to anyone looking to lose weight and keep it off. Celebrities are often paid to promote them, so even if you like the person smiling, wearing a waist-squishing corset, whilst cradling juice-based, fat loss, fasting injections, take their ‘honest’ advice and promises with a massive pinch of salt.
For 99.9% of the population it comes down to calories in vs calories out. If you burn more (through exercise and daily activity) than you consume (through food and drink) consistently, then you will lose weight as you are in a calorie deficit. When you are in a calorie deficit, you will use fat stores to make up the energy deficit. The key to being able to develop a genuinely healthy lifestyle, is incorporating aspects you enjoy into both your training and diet, which will allow you to follow both long term; dropping fat and then keeping it off.
Training 3-5 times per week, with a combination of weights, resistance, cardio and or sport is great for your exercise regime. In combination with this a calorie controlled diet that’s based on 80% healthy choices and 20% of what you like, is ideal for creating an effective, flexible and enjoyable diet, without the extra cost, food prep, binging and unhealthy relationship that often comes with ‘clean eating’, juicing, detoxing, shake diets, etc. Little changes will be easier to implement and maintain, than large, lifestyle-changing fads and regimes, so finding your average daily calories and then reducing them by around 200-300 calories for 2-4 weeks is a good place to start.
Max Bridger is a personal trainer and co-founder of LDNM- the leading provider of downloadable fitness guides in the UK. For more health and fitness advice or to download one of the LDNM guides visit www.ldnmuscle.com